Lenovo launches new Yoga tablet
Updated: 2013-10-30 10:35
By Amy He in New York (China Daily USA)
Jay Parker, president of Lenovo's North American operations, talking about the company's "multimode" devices at a preview launch event where the company's new Yoga tablet made its debut. Amy He / China Daily
It's called the Yoga tablet and Chinese personal computer giant Lenovo says its new product is "game changing" because the device allows multiple ways to use it.
The Yoga tablet debuted Tuesday in New York and Los Angeles after Lenovo's new ad campaign teased potential customers with the product last week. The company used a series of short Vine ads - six-second videos that are shareable through social media - demonstrating how computer tablets should be changed for better comfort of use and hinting at Lenovo's innovations.
The new product has three different "modes" for customer use: hold, tilt and stand. Each is assisted by an internal mechanism called a kickstand, which pops out to help tilt the tablet or to stand it up. With the modes, Lenovo said that the tablet "adapts to the way people use it instead of forcing people to adapt to the technology."
"Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current 'sea of sameness' designs," said Liu Jun, senior vice-president and president of Lenovo Business Group, in a statement.
Lenovo said that designers came up with the three modes when they realized that tablet users often faced three challenges when using their products: fatigue when holding the product, no mechanism to support the product when it lies on a flat surface and an inadequate viewing angle when the tablet is set on a table.
Jay Parker, president of Lenovo's North American operations, said that the Yoga's unique modes break away from what users have come to expect from tablets. "Tablets came into the market a few years ago with much fanfare. They have changed the way we use technology in many ways, but if you think about it, they haven't really changed very much," he said at the New York preview of the product.
"The design is roughly the same, the specs are roughly the same, and there's not much differentiation save a couple of different [operating system] choices," said Parker. "We believe that changes tonight with the advent of the Yoga tablet."
The new tablets will be available starting on Wednesday. The 8-inch device can be purchased for $249 at Best Buy stores and Lenovo's website, while the 10-inch device - $299 - will be available at major retailers like Amazon.com, Fry's and others.
Yoga's main launch was live-streamed Tuesday from Youtube Space LA and was led by actor Ashton Kutcher, who most recently portrayed Apple's Steve Jobs in a movie. The company also announced that Kutcher will be its newest "product engineer", working with Lenovo's engineering teams to "develop and market the Yoga line of tablets by providing input and decision-making into design, specifications, software and usage scenarios," Lenovo said in a statement.
"As consumers continue to demand innovative multimode designers we're thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience," Liu said.
Earlier this year, Lenovo was ranked the No 1 personal computer (PC) vendor in the world, beating competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, according to figures from market intelligence firm IDC. In the second quarter this year, it had 16.7 percent of the global PC market share, up from 15 percent in the same period last year, IDC reported.
In their first fiscal quarter results released in August, Lenovo reported revenue of $8.8 billion, a 10 percent increase over the same period last year. The company shipped 12.6 million PC units in the first fiscal quarter, "the 17th quarter in a row that Lenovo outperformed the industry as a whole," the company said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Lenovo was considering acquiring smartphone maker BlackBerry, and that the company had signed a non-disclosure agreement to look at BlackBerry's books.