One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to tablets. Knowing this, Lenovo debuted its first multimode Yoga Tablet in 8 inch and 10 inch sizes at a livestreamed device launch recently in Los Angeles (I was at the press preview in New York). On hand at the launch was actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher, who happens to now be Lenovo’s newest product engineer.
Known for pioneering multimode devices such as the Yoga convertible laptop, Lenovo is proud to claim that their new Yoga Tablet offers a better way for people to get the most out of their tablet UX. Its three modes are “hold,” “tilt,” and “stand.” These modes were the answers to what Lenovo identified as three challenges tablet users face: fatigue when holding and using the tablet; no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface; and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. This final design was engineered to let the tablet adapt to normal ways people use tablets, instead of forcing users to adapt.
3 “modes” erase 3 problems
With its exclusive cylindrical handle, hold mode is designed to fit an individual’s hand, making the Yoga Tablet is easier to hold with just one hand instead of two. Hold mode makes reading, checking social media and browsing the web easy. It was inspired by how people hold magazines when reading.
To convert the Yoga Tablet into stand mode, simply rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. Stand mode makes it easy for users to comfortably watch movies, place video calls and interact with the ten-finger touchscreen without having to rely on add-on accessories.
Users can lay the Yoga Tablet down in tilt mode to type directly on the tablet, play games and just surf the Internet with a better viewing angle. Even better, Lenovo lets users enable smart software on the Yoga Tablet, which will automatically bring up “frequently used apps” in hold and stand modes.
Both the 8-inch and 10-inch model have 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot (allowing up to 64 GB of total storage), and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for rich audio. Lenovo offers an optional Bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover. It even wakes up the Yoga Tablet when it’s removed and puts it to sleep when it’s attached. Another very nice fact is that the Yoga Tablet has up to 18 impressive hours of battery. The secret is in its cylindrical handle which packs in powerful, dual batteries. Unlike most tablets, it uses batteries typically found in laptops. That to me is genius. This Yoga Tablet video says it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzK_qP-rK80
Both models are pretty light: 1.35 lbs for the 10-in model and 0.88 lbs for the 8-in model. The Yoga Tablet can even charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB on-the-go. The 10 inch and 8 inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity. The OS is Android 4.2. Users can also opt for a WD100 dongle in select countries to stream video content from the tablet wirelessly to a TV.
More on Ashton Kutcher’s role at Lenovo
Liu Jun of Lenovo says “Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content. As consumers continue to demand innovative multimode designs, we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience.” Kutcher said “This partnership with Lenovo brings together my love of technology and design that makes your life better. I can’t wait to dig in and help Lenovo develop future mobile computing products, starting with the Yoga Tablet. Lenovo is all about innovation and strong leadership. Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn’t ask for a better fit.” Kutcher will work with Lenovo’s global engineering teams to develop and market the Yoga line of tablets by providing input into design, specs, software and usage scenarios. Over the past several years, multiple tech companies have benefitted from Kutcher’s involvement, including Airbnb, Flipboard, Foursquare, Path, Quora, Shazam, SoundCloud, Spotify, The Fancy, and Uber. As a philanthropist, Kutcher co-created Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children (www.wearethorn.org). Thorn invests in, builds and deploys the latest technology as part of the ongoing fight to end child sexual exploitation. In 2010, Kutcher’s company, Katalyst, was named one of the year’s Top 50 Most Inspiring Innovators by Ad Age and one of Fast Company Magazine’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies. To hear Ashton speaking about Lenovo, go to LenovoVision.
Pricing and Availability
MSRP is $249 and $299, for the 8-in and 10-in, respectively. The 8-in model will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores and lenovo.com while the 10-in model will be available via major retailers including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Fry’s, Newegg.com and through Lenovo. The Lenovo Yoga 10 Bluetooth Keyboard Cover is $69 and will be available through major retailers and lenovo.com.
You can see the most recent tweets about the Yoga Tablet by using hashtag #betterway