It's not hard to find an Android tablet for less than a hundred bucks - head down to your nearest drugstore and there's a decent chance you'll see one. The trick is finding one that's worth using at that price. While most of these ultra-cheap tablets are no-name Chinese models, Lenovo just announced a pair of new 7-inchers in the A Series starting at only a single Benjamin. I guess that would make them name brand Chinese tablets, but hey, Lenovo beats whatever company is using the Polaroid license this year.
Lenovo might own Motorola now, but the company is still doing its own thing when it comes to mobile devices. There are a pair of new Android phones today, as well as a wearable and a completely self-indulgent accessory—a selfie flash. Your life is complete now, right?
When gigantic multinational corporations buy one another, the process is a bit more complicated than grabbing a new couch off of Craigslist. Lenovo announced its intention to buy American phone manufacturer Motorola off of Google back in January of this year, less than two years after Google itself acquired the then-independent Motorola Mobility. Today the sale is final and approved by all necessary regulatory agencies, with a combined price of $2.91 billion in cash, credit, and stock.
Lenovo's kickstand-packing Yoga tablets are already unconventional, but the new Tablet 2 Pro is downright odd. In addition to a relatively huge 13.3" screen and a built-in subwoofer, this beast of a device packs a pint-sized Pico projector into the curve of its kickstand hinge. Lenovo claims that the Tablet 2 Pro was developed with "product engineer" Ashton Kutcher, in case it wasn't already weird enough. The redesigned kickstand also includes a cutout that pulls double duty as a hole for the camera and a handy hanging point.
It's amazing that more than a decade after the rise of "gadget blogs," gigantic international corporations still don't tick the little "confidential" mark when submitting their gadgets for certification by the Federal Communications Commission. Keep it up, folks, it gives us peeks at upcoming hardware like the Lenovo SW-B100 Smartband. This wearable was previously spotted going through the Bluetooth SIG's series of tests, and rumored for an IFA debut, which didn't happen.
Lenovo's initial Yoga tablets were novel thanks to their curved chassis with plus-sized batteries and integrated kickstands, but the lackluster specs (headlined by MediaTek processors) turned a lot of hardware fans off. The refreshed version of the 10-inch Yoga fixed that with a slightly better Snapdragon 400, 2GB of RAM, and a 1920x1200 screen. You can pick up a Yoga 10 Tablet HD+ for $100 off from Amazon, bringing the price down to a more reasonable $249.99.
Lenovo is an up-and-coming player in the Android world, having taken the Chinese smartphone market by storm in the last couple of years. Now that it owns Motorola, we'll likely be hearing the Lenovo name even more often over here in the US as the company seeks to expand the presence of its Android portfolio across the world.
This is probably especially true of tablets, which Lenovo has consistently been creating for a number of years now, and an area where Motorola has generally fallen flat.
Some companies like to make a show of their appearances at big tech conferences like IFA. Some of them just like to announce everything all at once, and Lenovo is squarely in the latter category. The company's only Android addition in Berlin is the Tab S8, but thanks to an interesting collection of specs and price tag, it's worth your attention. The 8-inch tablet is a decent mid-range device on paper, but the interesting part is that Lenovo has set the suggested retail price at $199.
If you've ever wanted cloud storage that you don't have to pay for each month, well, you have had no shortage of options for years. But here's another one. Lenovo has launched an Android app that taps into its new Beacon storage device. This way it can serve files to your Android phone or tablet alongside your TV and other electronics.
Android devices actually get a better deal than TVs, which must be physically tethered to the Beacon using an HDMI cable.
Lenovo, despite being the relatively new owners of Motorola Mobility, didn't need this acquisition to produce attractive new hardware - at least for markets other than the US. The Vibe Z, which never made it to our corner of the world, looks poised to get a sequel that ups its game in every area that matters. Shots of a phone dubbed the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro have surfaced, showing a 6-inch phone with a quad HD display, a 4000mAh battery, a 16MP OIS camera with dual LED flash, and a Snapdragon 801 processor. The Vibe Z's plastic body has been replaced by an impressive metal one.