While at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, I was able to get some video of the Lenovo IdeaPad YOGA. The YOGA is a convertible Ultrabook which has four modes of operation:
- Regular laptop mode: In its simplest form, the YOGA is a nice Ultrabook. It conforms to the Ultrabook specifications with the thickness (16.9mm), weight (3.1lbs) and startup/resume times (not specified since it is not final yet).
- Tablet/slate mode: With its patented dual hinge, the YOGA can flip back completely and become a tablet/slate. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is not going to compare to a regular slate in terms of weight or thickness. Instead, think of it as a way to use your laptop more comfortably for say browsing the web or consuming other content.
- Stand mode: The hinges are strong and the body is sturdy, and as a result you can flip back the screen and leave the computer on a table instead of carrying a dock around with you. The IPS panel (1600×900 resolution) does provide great viewing angles which helps this mode’s usage.
- Tent mode: This mode, I am not too sure about, but for sake of completeness, let me describe it. You can fold the laptop so it becomes an inverted “V” and then use it as a photo frame.
I like it a lot because it is thin, it is light and it is not just another laptop. The skeptics may say that we have seen these before and they didn’t work then, so there is no reason they should work now – tablet users want a tablet, and PC users want a PC. Well, I was one of them! The difference between then and now is that this laptop is built for Windows 8. Lenovo didn’t even pretend that it is a Windows 7 PC upgradeable to Windows 8. Windows 8 is a touch-first operating system compared to Windows XP or even Windows 7 which is what powers the “legacy” convertibles.
The operating system being touch-first is one big difference, but also, the form factor. The convertibles of old were thick and bulky, almost like a tablet stacked on top of a regular laptop. The YOGA is sleek, and at 3lbs, it is lighter than most PCs in the market today. The person who was providing me the demo said that they are going to be able to shave another 100 grams before the machine becomes final!
There are many other Ultrabooks worth drooling over, at CES, but this is my best because finally there is a design which is different from the MacBook Air, and not just for the sake of being different (I am looking at you, HP with the Gorilla Glass-covered Ultrabook).
See below for a quick eyes-on, with a demonstration of all four modes in action.
Viewsonic is making a play at the budget Android tablet segment, which seems to be under siege by almost every Android tablet manufacturer at CES 2012. After Asus, it’s now Viewsonic’s turn to launch an ultra-cheap Android tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Viewsonic ViewPad E70 comes with the latest version of Android – Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will be priced at just $169, which makes it one of the cheapest Android ICS tablets around.
Viewsonic ViewPad E70 Specifications
However, the specifications match the price. It comes with a 7 inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, which is arguably too low for a tablet. It is powered by a 1 GHz processor and will presumably come with 512 MB of RAM. It also offers 4 GB of internal storage with support for microSD cards, and supports 1080p HDMI output and a front facing camera for video calling. It will come with the Amazon Appstore, but won’t support the official Google Android Market.
The specifications seem to be too low, even for $170, especially if you consider that the Asus EEE Pad MeMo ME370T is priced at just $250, and offers much better specifications. The Viewsonic ViewPad E70 will start shipping in Q1 2012.
Check out our complete CES 2012 coverage: Techie-Buzz @ CES 2012
Viewsonic has launched two new tablets at CES 2012 – the ViewPad 10pi and the ViewPad 10e. While the ViewPad 10e is a standard Android tablet, the ViewPad 10pi is a dual booting tablet which runs both Android and Windows.
Viewsonic ViewPad 10pi Specifications
The Viewsonic ViewPad 10pi comes with an Intel Oak Trail z670 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and 2 GB of RAM. It also offers a 64 GB SSD and sports a 10.1 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It also comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and optional 3G connectivity support.
It also offers a microSD card slot, and 2 USB ports. It has a primary 3 MP camera, as well as a secondary 1.3 MP camera. It is powered by a 3200 mAh battery, and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread as well as Windows 7 Professional in a dual booting setup.
Viewsonic ViewPad 10e Specifications
The Viewsonic ViewPad 10e is a standard Android 2.3 Gingerbread tablet, which comes with a 9.7 inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. It is powered by a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor and 512 MB of RAM. It offer 4 GB of internal storage, and microSD card support. It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth 3.0. It sports a 1.3 MP camera on the front face, and comes with a 5400 mAh battery.
The pricing for either tablet hasn’t been announced yet.
Check out our complete CES 2012 coverage: Techie-Buzz @ CES 2012
There’s still almost a week to go before CES 2012 starts, but companies are falling over themselves to reveal details about what they will be unveiling at CES to get that extra bit of early coverage before the floodgates open. Asus revealed some details about its tablet lineup for 2012 at a press event in Taipei.
Windows 8 ARM Tablet
Asus has confirmed that it will be launching a Windows 8 tablet, powered by ARM processors, making them one of the many device manufacturers who have committed to a Windows 8 tablet. It will be launched in Q4 2012, well after the launch of Windows 8.
3G Transformer Prime Tablet
Asus also announced a 3G version of the popular Transformer Prime Android tablet, which will be launched in March 2012. It will come equipped with an improved GPS module.
New Android Tablets
Asus is also expected to launch a new 10 inch Android tablet at CES. It will presumably be powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will also launch two more 10 inch Android tablets in the second half of 2012. It will also launch a 7 inch budget Android tablet.
Besides these tablets, we expect Asus to launch a couple of ultrabooks too at CES. Asus was the first company to launch netbooks which were a huge hit a couple of years ago.
The OLPC XO tablet has been in the works for years now, but we haven’t seen anything concrete about it until now. Apparently, Nicholas Negroponte’s baby is finally ready to come into this world. OLPC will be officially launching the OLPC XO 3.0 tablet at the CES next week.
Like the OLPC XO laptop, it will also have a rugged case and can be charged using a hand crank or a solar panel. It can get around 10 minutes of runtime from one minute of cranking. The OLPC XO 3.0 will be powered by the Marvell Armada PXA 618 processor, which minimizes power consumption to extend battery life.
It will come with an 8-inch PixelQi display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Its processor is clocked at 1 GHz, and it also comes with 512 MB of RAM. The OLPC XO 3.0 will offer both Android and Sugar, OLPC’s own Linux based OS.
Thanks to the Android support, it may have a fighting chance against other cheap Android tablets that are flooding the market.
Coming to the most important part, the OLPC XO 3.0 will be priced starting at $100, and can be upgraded with better hardware for a higher price. Even the basic version seems capable enough of running Android 2.3.x Gingerbread.
It will be unveiled at CES. Stay tuned for official images and the complete specifications.
Digitimes has learned from its sources that Acer and Lenovo are preparing to launch Windows 8 tablets in the third quarter of 2012. Windows 8 will hit public beta in February, and is widely expected to reach RTM stage by May. With Windows 8, Microsoft is hoping to finally have a platform capable of taking on iOS in the tablet segment. Windows 8 merges the classical Windows desktop with a full-screen, touch optimized Metro UI, and will power everything from tablets and laptops to traditional desktop PCs.
Although Windows 8 is capable of running on the ARM platform, Acer and Lenovo plan on using Intel’s next generation Clover Trail platform for their tablets. As of now, Intel is getting clobbered in the mobile computing segment by ARM, which offers superior performance and power saving. Intel is expected to mount its first serious challenge with Medfield and Clover Trail, which will probably be out by Q3 of 2011. Intel will be demoing smartphones and tablets powered by its new mobile processors at CES 2012.
While the combination of Intel and Windows 8 is expected to offer previously unseen levels of performance and flexibility, the real test for Intel will be power efficiency. Even as mobile computing technology has continued to improve in leaps and bounds, the battery technology has remained practically stagnant. As a result, most mobile devices struggle to cope up with the demands of high speed 3G and 4G data networks and dual-core CPUs.
It looks like we will be seeing some Retina Display tablets in 2012 with quad-core processors and powerful GPUs. Acer’s upcoming A700 tablet made a surprise appearance in Russia.
The A700 is a next-generation Honeycomb tablet, which will be powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia. However, the most interesting part of the tablet is its 10.1-inch screen. Apparently, it has a whopping resolution of 1920×1200, higher than any other tablet in the Market currently, including the iPad 2.
Other features of the A700 include a micro-SIM card slot, micro-HDMI port, microUSB port, a hardware rotation lock switch, and a 5MP camera aided by an LED flash. The tablet is mainly made out of plastic, and weighs in only 1.45lbs. Acer states that the tablet should last you 10 hours on a single charge.
It will be interesting to see how the Tegra 3 inside the A700 handles games at such a high resolution. The iPad 3 is also expected to come with a Retina Display with a similar resolution. The iPad 2 currently boasts the best hardware found inside a tablet.
Amazon’s decision to launch the $200 Kindle Fire tablet may have opened the floodgates for cheap Android tablets. Many other device manufacturers are now launch cheap tablets around the same price range, well below the price of the Apple iPad, the king of tablets worldwide. Barnes & Noble recently unveiled the Nook Tablet priced $249, and even Archos announced the new Archos 70b, a $199 Android Honeycomb tablet. We have even seen the launch of the very cheap Aakash and UbiSlate 7 tablets in India.
Now, a Chinese manufacturer has announced a $120 tablet – the Ainol Novo7 Paladin. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and is probably the cheapest ICS tablet around. It is available on some seemingly legit online shopping portals like PandaWill and Merimobiles.
The Ainol Novo7 tablet is powered by a 1 GHz JZ4770 Xburst MIPS processor and a Vivante GC860 graphics processor, which can manage 1080p HD video playback. It comes with 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It has a 7 inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. While the hardware isn’t spectacular, it is capable enough of running Ice Cream Sandwich. It will likely come with Android Market support as well. It’s definitely a great deal for just $120.
You can buy it online at PandaWill or Merimobiles.
While Apple continues to dominate the tablet market with the iPad, the success of the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet have proved that there is a huge market for inexpensive tablets. Since most Android device manufacturers cannot yet compete with the iPad at the same price point, most of them will probably launch inexpensive Android tablets targeted at budget conscious customers.
Apparently, Archos has bitten the bullet, and has announced a cheap new Android tablet already – the Archos 70b Internet Tablet.
Today, it announced the Archos 70b, which runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and comes with some good hardware specs. It is powered by a 1.2 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and offers 8 GB of internal storage. It sports a 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, and is priced at just $199. It also offers full support for Android Market. It’s unlikely to receive an upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich given Archos’ history, but it seems like a great deal for $199.
However, we should see many new budget Android tablets launching at CES 2012, so if you can wait, you probably should.
Check out the official press release here: Archos 70b Internet Tablet
In November, the head of Nokia France implied in an interview that Nokia was working with Microsoft on a Windows 8 tablet, which would be launched in 2012. However, in an interview today, Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop specifically said that Nokia doesn’t have an exact plan for entering the tablet market yet.
“Nokia does not have an exact plan, but we are studying the markets carefully. Perhaps we will come [to market] one day,” said Stephen Elop.
Nokia embraced Microsoft’s Windows Phone last year, and dumped Symbian. Nokia’s new Lumia phones have been getting rave reviews, and are expected to have good sales.
Microsoft will be launching Windows 8 in mid-2012, and most hardware manufacturers like Dell, HP and Samsung are already working on Windows 8 tablets.
Nokia is also expected to launch Windows 8 tablets eventually, but going by Stephen Elop’s statement today, don’t expect a Nokia Windows tablet anytime soon. It’s probably already late to the tablet party, which is now dominated by iOS and Android. Let’s just hope it makes up its mind, and launches a Windows 8 tablet soon after the Windows 8 launch.
Elop also confirmed that Nokia’s headquarters will stay in Espoo, Finland, amid speculation that Nokia would relocate its head offices to the U.S or the U.K.
“There’s no doubt about that. As long as I’m chief executive, the main office is in Espoo. Nokia has so much talent here in Finland. Also the key product development units and leaders are here.”