Nestled in Lenovo's latest earnings report were disappointing figures for both their own brand of smartphones and Motorola, which was acquired late last year. The Chinese company's response is to do some fairly large-scale restructuring, handing over basically all aspects of Lenovo smartphones to Motorola with the possible exception of marketing. Motorola will continue to develop, make, and market their own line that most Westerners are familiar with.
In light of the earnings figures, it might be surprising that Motorola is the part of the larger company that is rewarded with more responsibility.
Lenovo already has cell phone legend Motorola under its umbrella, but the company has also started a new Chinese brand called ZUK. This firm is intended to compete with the budget offerings of Xiaomi, Huawei, and others. Its first phone looks like a good start too. The Z1 has a massive battery and a USB 3.0 Type-C port.
If today has taught us anything, it's that Lenovo doesn't like keeping its feet on the ground. The company's crazy concepts and ideas department, which is obviously not getting along on a shoestring, hasn't been dragging its feet in the last year. It has just unveiled a new Smart Cast phone concept, a Magic View smartwatch prototype, and now it's time for the other shoe to drop — literally.
See, usually humans use their face to convey their mood and expressions to the world, but if most people are goody two-shoes who walk with their head tilted down to avoid looking at others in the eyes, you have to find another way to get their attention.
Lenovo's Tech World conference seems to be a never-ending parade of real products and crazy concepts, and this Magic View smartwatch joins the ranks of the latter while still having some grounds in reality. "But Rita, what is Magic View?" I hear you ask. It's a smartwatch with two screens. Yesssss. Let that sink in for a moment.
The second screen, dubbed a "Virtual Interactive Display," is physically smaller than the main round display (which is reminiscent of the Moto 360, flat-tire and all), but can project an image up to 20 times its size. That is when you hold it close to your eye.
A couple of years ago, I couldn't talk to anyone about smartphones for two minutes without them shouting in ecstatic delirium, "Have you seen the new iPhone 5?" Of course, they were talking about this concept video, which everyone in their right mind knew was a "concept" for no less obvious reason than the fact that it was titled as such and created by an animation studio. Except hundreds of people around me still believed it was the real deal. Before I digress any further into the naiveté of common mortals when it comes to technology, I'll remind you of the one feature in that video everyone thought was super cool and that has made it onto countless other concept videos for various companies and products: the projected keyboard.
Lenovo has taken the opportunity at its Tech World 2015 conference to announce the Lenovo Cast, a new accessory that aims to mirror your Android device's screen to the TV. The device is puck-shaped and connects through a cable to the HDMI port on your television.
Unlike the Chromecast, which uses Google's proprietary casting technology, Lenovo Cast is built on Miracast and DLNA, the standards that are available in most modern Android devices (sometimes under the Miracast option and other times under Wireless Display).
It's that time again, everyone: time for a trip down Terrible Smartphone Advertising Lane. Sometimes it's about the weird ads, or the cringe-y ones, or the ones that straight up suck. Let me give you some hints as to which direction we're heading today with Lenovo's new P90 smartphone ads, which feature:
A human in a bear suit, acting like a human. But he is a bear.
Two of the most horrifically pun-laden first-person narrative reads ever to be uploaded to YouTube. And yes, they are bear puns.
You knew it was coming. With the Moto 360 being easily the most exciting Android Wear device from the initial video almost exactly a year ago, and then being something of a disappointment upon release thanks to its ancient chipset and not-really-360-degree "round" screen, a follow-up was inevitable. It looks like an executive from Lenovo (the new owners of Motorola Mobility) may have let the cat out of the bag on the company's next Android Wear smartwatch.
Lenovo has crammed just about everything it can think of into the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro to make it interesting, with the exception of a stylus and a can opener. And it is interesting, from a purely technical point of view - it has a huge 13" screen, 2.1 JLB speakers, integrated kickstand, and oh yeah, a built-in pico projector. This machine epitomizes one of the best things about Android hardware: a diversity of manufacturers can yield an amazing variety of features.
Unfortunately, Lenovo's design is more ambitious than its execution. With a build quality that's only average, some questionable hardware decisions, and a software experience that's poor at best, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro simply won't be worth a look for most people.
The photo-focused smartphone is becoming a definite niche, and at Mobile World Congress, Lenovo is hoping to break in with a new model. The Vibe Shot (which sounds a lot like something you'd order at a questionable cocktail bar) is a Lollipop-equipped phone with a 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8MP front-facing shooter. Other photo-focused features include optical image stabilization, infrared autofocus, and a tri-color LED flash. Lenovo hopes to launch the Vibe Shot in June starting at $349.
We actually got a look at the Vibe Shot back in February when Lenovo's MWC lineup was leaked. What we didn't learn at the time about the phone is its price, which is particularly attractive considering its high-midrange specs.