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.
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.
Lenovo's brand new "Lenovo Tech World" event kicked off in Beijing today with some good news for would-be Moto makers in China - Moto Maker, Motorola's customization tool for the Moto X is opening up shop.
Customers in China will have access to all the same options current Moto Maker users enjoy - front and back color, accents, materials, and optional laser etching.
For now, Moto Maker is limited to the Moto X, but Lenovorola is offering promotional prices until June 2nd on the X, G, and the Nexus 6's cousin the Moto X Pro.
The Moto X will be available for RMB2,699 (with customized versions starting at RMB2,799), the Moto G from RMB999, and the X Pro from RMB3,999.
Motorola's President and COO, Rick Osterloh, hosted a Twitter chat yesterday under the hashtag #AskRickO in which he answered a few questions regarding the company's expansion, release plans, device updates, and showed his current phone and watch setups.
The most interesting bit of information came in reply to Sumer Broota, who asked him whether Motorola had any plans to release a tablet this year. Rick said no and pointed toward Lenovo's line of Yoga tablets as an alternative.
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.
Lenovo has used this year's Mobile World Congress as a chance to unveil two new affordable Android tablets that expand upon the immensely cheap TAB 2 A series introduced in January. These slates don't aim for a lower price point ($99 is hard to beat, after all). Instead, both come with LTE.
Left: TAB 2 A10-70, Right: TAB 2 A8
The TAB 2 A10-70 (not to be confused with the A7-10) has a 10 inch FHD screen, is only 8.9 millimeters thin, and weighs around 500 grams. It will run Android 4.4 (Lollipop expected in June) powered by a MediaTek 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 7,000mAh battery.
Ah, February: the time when mobile hardware leaks spring out of the ground like daisies. It looks like Thai gadget site MXPhone has gotten its hands on portions of the Mobile World Congress phone lineup from Lenovo weeks ahead of the event, giving us a tantalizing look at the company's hardware plans for the next several months. Of course, it's possible that at least some of the Vibe phones on display below will never leave China, and the chance of any of them coming to the US market is basically zero.
Lenovo Vibe Shot
The most interesting of the new models is probably the Vibe Shot, a camera-focused competitor to devices like HTC's One EYE.
Motorola is now completely under the Lenovo umbrella, so it's the perfect time for it to head back to China after pulling back some years ago. Motorola will be launching three devices in China—there's the Moto G, Moto X, and something called the Moto X Pro. Judging from the description and photo, it's a Nexus 6 without the Nexus.
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.
Both the TAB 2A7-10 and the A7-30 are essentially identical, but the latter and more expensive one features a 3G radio and calling support, essentially making it a giant phone.