Lenovo’s Yoga provides flexibility with tablet options


Lenovo has expanded its Yoga family of tablets and has added some interesting features that seek to differentiate them from others in this rapidly growing market with a trio of modes that they can be used in ways that the company believes fit customer usage needs.

The latest editions are 8-inch and 10-inch models and one of the key features is the three modes: hold, tilt and stand. The hold mode is for use when being held and includes a cylindrical handle that allows a user to use just one hand to hold the tablet, rather than the two that most 10-inch and large tablets require.

To engage the stand mode simply turn the handle 90 degrees and the stand will deploy, and can be adjusted from 110 degrees to 135 degrees. The tilt mode is for when the tablet is lying flat or in a user’s lap. The tablet has software that brings up the most commonly used apps in each mode.

There are other additions that make the tablets interesting. They have an 18-hour battery life, far exceeding most others that are in the 10-hour range. The new Lenovo tablets get the longer life by using laptop batteries cleverly stored in the handle. They also have the ability to charge other smartphones and USB devices via a USB on-the-go feature.

The two Android tablets feature displays that have 1280 x 800 resolution, a 5MP autofocus rear camera and a 1.6MP front facing camera. They are powered by a 1.2GHz MT8125 quad core processor and have 16GB of storage that can be expanded to 64GB via an optional microSD card. Other features include a pair of front-facing speakers with Dolby Digital Plus DS1. The tablets are expected to be available by week’s end and the 8-inch model will have a $249 MSRP and the 10-inch will have a $299 MSRP.

While none of the additions to the tablets on their own are earth-shattering the combination makes a very nice offering that helps the company create separation between its products and many of its rivals, who often seem to just deliver me-too products.

Friday Grab Bag: NBA STATS, Pac-12 & U-verse

The NBA has expanded a limited partnership with STATS to full time and will be installing motion tracking cameras in every arena this season. This will enable teams to amass a huge amount of data that can be used for in-game decisions as well as for other uses.

First used in 2009 for the NBA Finals, and now used by 15 teams, it allows for the analysis of player movement and a team can see how well or poorly its players fare in head to head matchups, among other uses.

Lenovo Enters the Phablet Phase
Lenovo has taken the wraps off of its 5-inch Vibe X Phablet. The smartphone features a 5-inch display that has 1920 x 1080 resolution and is powered by a 1,5GHz quad core processor. It has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. However it is not clear how wide of a distribution the device will have.

Panasonic teases with 20-inch tablet presentation
It looks like Panasonic is preparing a 20-inch tablet that could be for the mainstream market that is being touted as the thinnest and lightest. The company showed it a in a presentation at a pre-IFA event last week in Berlin.

The Panasonic 4K tablet is expected to have 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and was shown as a concept offering, but the company has shown in the past that it is building a 20-inch device. Slash Gear reported that it could simply be a scaled down version of a previously shown model.

Pac-12 Networks inks deal with AT&T U-Verse
The Pac-12 now has an official wireless provider for all of its athletic venues in the form of AT&T and its U-Verse service. The deal, signed last week has already resulted in the broadcast of five football games last Saturday.

Going forward AT&T will deliver web and app access to the games but the timing for those was not announced. It will rebroadcast a number of Pac-12 Network broadcasts for the time being in both HD and SD.

NFL Teams with Sporting News for video
If you are always looking for NFL videos and highlights during the offseason then there is good news for you as the NFL has signed a deal with Sporting News Media to just that by bringing the 2013 NFL regular and postseason to the SN ePlayer platform.

Sporting News will have video on demand highlights from the NFL games as well as additional content and will make it available to fans year round so that they can relieve the highlights or lowlghts of the season over and over again.

Microsoft has big event Sept. 23
Press invites are making their way to the appropriate people inviting them to a major event that Microsoft will be hosting on Sept. 23 that will be held in New York City. The event, listed as a Surface event, is expected to bring the company’s second generation tablets to the public.

Intel to develop low cost chip for tablets
The annual Intel Developers Conference was in full swing last week with a huge outpouring of press releases and talking points, and one that is of particular interest is its pledge for a new processor targeted directly at Android tablet makers.

Intel said that it is making an as yet unnamed processor in the Atom family that will enable Android developers to offer tablets at sub-$100 rates. Of course since Apple makes its own processors don’t expect an iPad in this space anytime soon.

Lenovo’s 7-inch A1000 Here-Can it Challenge the Nexus 7?


Being King of the Hill means that everybody is always trying to knock you off and the latest to challenge the Nexus 7, one of the most popular 7-inch tablets is Lenovo with its A1000, a 7-inch tablet that it originally introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

In many ways this has been a very slow rollout and in others a very swift one. The company quietly made the tablet available for sale this week, without the fanfare that often accompanies a major release, particularly one that is going up against well established rivals.

On the other hand it was first shown almost a half year ago, many of its details were released as it went through the FCC approval process a few months back and preorders began a month ago, so any observer knew that the day when it would be available was rapidly closing in.

The A1000, which starts at $151 from the Lenovo web site is powered by a MTK 8317 dual core Coretex-A9 processor and runs the 4.2 Android operating system. It has a 7-inch display that has 1024 x 600 resolution and includes 1GB of RAM, a 16GB hard drive and supports an additional 32GB microSD storage card.

The company touts its multimedia features and notes that it is optimized for music with dual stereo speakers, Dolby Digital Plus audio enhancement among its features. The company said that the tablets will be available within the week.

It seems that the Android developers all have Google’s Nexus 7 as the target of choice. HP’s Slate 7 is also touted as a strong rival; with most articles talking about HP’s offering all mention Google. Still it is better to be at the top fighting off competition rather than trying to fight your way there. It will be interesting to see what levels Google tries to being its next generation offering.

New Tablets from Lenovo and Vizio Hit Market


Last week Lenovo released Miix, its hybrid 10-inch tablet that can also serve as a laptop while Vizio has started shipping its 11.8-inch tablet that it first showed at the beginning of the year at the CES show in Las Vegas.
It seemed just a year ago that tablet releases were something that could be planned easily on a calendar, one company would announce a product release date and one of the few other major players would then announce products the day before.

The Lenovo Miix features a 10.1-inch display that has 1366 x 768 resolution, runs Microsoft Windows 8 operating system and is powered by a dual core Intel Atom processor. It will feature 64GB of storage on board with an additional expansion capability of 32GB via a microSD card.

The key feature for the device is what the company calls a “quick-flip” detachable folio case with an integrated AccuType keyboard that enables users to switch between PC mode and tablet mode as their needs require.

It also includes integrated Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and/or optional3G-GPS connectivity and up to 10 hours of battery life. The tablet is expected to ship later this summer and will have an estimated entry price of $550.

The Vizio 11.6” Windows 8 Tablet PC has an 11.6-inch 1080p display, runs Windows 8 and is powered by an Advanced Micro Device Z-60 processor with 2GB of RAM. It also features 64GB of storage, a five hour battery life and has a price tag of $600.

Now tablets are announced at major shows such as World Mobile Congress, CES and E3 as well as just when they are ready to ship, a sign that the market is maturing, and that is good news for users and future buyers.

As an increasing number of tablets are released, and all across the pricing spectrum, it seems pretty obvious that not only will they become ubiquitous in peoples’ lives, but that many users will have multiple devices.

This represents a huge opportunity for developers as apps that are focused specifically for tablets will become increasingly important. I can foresee when I have a tablet dedicated for work and one by the television that I use for sports and other purposes that are more entertainment based.

Low Cost Lenovo 7-inch Tablet Almost Here


If you are ever wondering how news services and even blogs get advanced information about upcoming products it is often because the devices have to go through approval at the FCC, which has to make the records of approvals public. The forthcoming Lenovo A1000 is no exception.

The A1000 is no secret, the company talked about it and two additional tablets last month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but the fact that it is now getting approval to be shipped into the U.S. shows how close the device is to reaching the market.

The low-cost 7-inch tablet is an entry level device that the company is targeting at two different groups, first time buyers and music enthusiasts. When Apple hit the market with its iPad the market quickly responded with a list of me-too offerings, few of which gained any sales. The entry level was particularly weak as everybody compared the devices to the iPad.

Now the market has started to mature and people have a much better idea of what they want a tablet for and are starting to understand the differences that different price points represent in terms of display size, processor capabilities, storage and other features.

One of the key differentiators on the A1000 is its audio, which features Dolby Digital Plus and the large front facing speakers as part of its attempt to appeal to music fans. The tablet runs the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system and is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. It will ship with 8GB or 16GB of storage that is expandable to 32GB with a micro-SD slot.

There are a few features that the company has not yet released such as screen resolution. Pricing has also not yet been released and that will be key as the 7-inch space has been heating up and is expected to quickly catch up to the 10-inch display space. The other two tablets that were discussed last month, the 10.1-inch S6000 and the 7-inch A3000 appear to be further out but both are expected in the second quarter.

Microsoft Surface Pro Sells Out — More this Weekend


After the lackluster news about the holiday sales of its first generation tablet, the Surface RT, and then more bad news about its Pro version just prior to shipping Microsoft has some good news to report. It’s sold out!
It was reported that just a day into its widespread availability Microsoft was out of its 128GB version of its Surface Pro tablet, although its 64GB version remained on the shelves for prospective customers.

Well that might not be so great since it could mean loss of sales but it looks to be a short term issue as the company has a new round of tablets on the way and they are expected to hit store shelves as well as Microsoft’s own online store by this weekend.

Some have questioned if the tablets actually sold out, or if it was an artificial shortage designed to get solid publicity for the company by showing demand for the tablet. PCWorld posed that question and has provided similar comments from others.

Still it is hard to say for sure since it is doubtful that Microsoft is going to provide its roadmap and strategic plans for use to look at. The question I have is if the demand for the highest capacity tablets was driven by the news of how little space was actually available for users?

I guess we will see the true popularity of the tablets, both from Microsoft and others when IDC releases its next quarterly tablet report. Other Windows tablets have received popular acclaim, such as the most recent offering from Lenovo. This should help break open the market even more, providing Samsung, Apple, Google and Amazon with a new generation of competition.