It had to happen sooner or later; a remote control with an inbuilt television screen for the truly lazy. At CES 2010, Samsung delivered on what is basically one such device. Designed to work with Samsung's 9000-series flatscreen TVs, the remote is essentially a mini pad computer, with a design not too dissimilar from an iPhone.
It has standard buttons for volume and changing the channel, but the rest of the remote is occupied by a touchscreen interface, and good old fashioned WIMP - Windows, icons, menus and pointers - graphical interface.
The device is designed to interface with multiple products - all of which are made by Samsung of course - and its selling point is the ability to take a copy of whatever the main device is showing on its screen, and then walk away carrying the remote, so you can go to the bathroom or answer the door without interrupting your TV viewing.
As if that was not bad enough, at the Expo, a Samsung spokesperson boasted that one expected use is to watch two sports games at the same time - one on the remote, and one on the larger TV.
Considering that passive entertainment use such as the TV, is actually a declining pastime, such a move to try and gimmick up the pastime is understandable.
However, it does have another use. As the spokesperson was happy to relay, it also functions as a Wi-Fi enabled mini-PC, able to fetch files off the network. These include video files, and images. Combine that function with its ability to take streaming media from the TV, and it might just be possible to use it to keep an eye on what is going on in an active virtual world whilst on the go.
Sadly for the latter use, its range is of course limited. No further out than the Wi-Fi router can reach. After that, the signal simply winks out.
So, it is gimmicky, and of marginal use. Not a good start.