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.
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.
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.
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.
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.