A Leg to Stand On

Thomas Jefferson was obsessed with inventing unique stands for reading

In the world of hardware design, tablets have traditionally been seen as a race for thin. You can’t begin to imagine how many meetings I’ve attended over the last year debating tablet thickness. It must be one of the hottest topics in the entire industry, not just Lenovo. Every effort goes into squeezing the air out of tablets in order to gain a scant fraction of a millimeter advantage in thickness. Beyond actual thickness, we also seek to taper the design toward the edges to further enhance the impression of thin. Sadly, those pesky connectors and buttons seem to always get in the way of making the sleekest form . Do we really need them? I tend to prefer wireless solutions that provide freedom and simplify my world.

The Yoga tablet integrates high and low stand functionality thanks to a unique profile

With all the recent publicity surrounding the design of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet , and the integration of a flip out leg for viewing and typing modes, it makes me wonder if this isn’t the wave of the future.  At Lenovo we call these positions high and low angle modes. High is typically used for viewing content such as a movie and low primarily for typing. For the Yoga tablet, these modes were uniquely enabled by the use of a row of cylindrical batteries forming an asymmetrical profile. It could be done without using that form, but it would be at the expense of thickness. My favorite topic rears its head once again. I thought it would be useful to exercise the high and low angled stand debate on this blog and hear the voice of the customer.  The choices are pretty clear. Either we integrate stand functionality as part of the base product or we keep this feature enabled through an accessory such as a case, or screen cover/stand. Just remember, integration drives either greater thickness or a unique profile. Think Yoga tablet profile or something similar. The asymmetrical profile of Yoga also forms a handle for gripping the tablet. There must be a zillion accessory cases and covers that solve this inclination problem in unique ways, but they also ultimately increase overall thickness once attached. In the world of smartphones, nobody seems to care if their phone gets a bit thicker when a protective case is added. Is the same true for tablets?

I’ve enabled a quick poll to gather your feedback on this topic of interest. I’m looking forward to seeing the results and driving for the right solution in the future. Thanks in advance for your participation.

David Hill


  • Integrate high and low angle function in the tablet, I can live with a bit thicker product
  • Keep high and low angle function in the accessory where it belongs
  • I don’t use a stand for either high or low angle, thin wins
  • Why don't you ask Ashton Kutcher?