A phone you can spike like a football. A projector atop a pyramid-shaped PC. A laptop display so rich it makes reality look dull by comparison. A first-of-its-kind device that blurs the line between the physical and the virtual. This is Lenovo in 2016.
1. We’re building a freaky reality-blurring smartphone
Google’s Project Tango combines 3D motion tracking with depth sensing to give mobile devices the ability to know where they are and how they move through space. (Pause as mind explodes) Lenovo is building the first Project Tango-enabled device, which will go on sale later this year.
With Project Tango, developers can create apps that explore physical space around the user, including precise navigation without GPS, windows into virtual 3D worlds, measurements of spaces, and games that know where they are in the room and what’s around them.
2. The appallingly beautiful screen on our new ThinkPad X1 Yoga
Make no mistake: the IPS displays on our older ThinkPad laptops are terrific. But a gasp swept the room at CES when we saw the new Samsung OLED screens side by side with IPS. Specs and bulleted lists of features have got nothing on that moment when you see the future right in front of you. The brightness, deep black and astonishing richness of color on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga display stopped people in their tracks.
3. Lenovo engineers getting little things right
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. There’s evidence across our 2016 product line that Lenovo engineers are paying attention to all the right details (based on your feedback). One great example: the anti-glare display on the new ThinkCentre X1 All-In-One, a long-overdue acknowledgement that we don’t all work in caves and we need to be able to see our screen in a bright room. Another case of refining something that matters: dramatically reducing the size of our ThinkPad adapters. The new 65W adapter is 58% smaller and 50% lighter than the old one. Your shoulder bag says thanks. Check out this comparison (with overripe banana used for scale.)
4. Projectors for everyone!
Remember how we disrupted the tablet market by integrating a glorious projector into our Yoga Tablet? Well, we couldn’t help but notice how many people loved having the option of projecting a work presentation, watching “Zoolander” on their ceiling or rehearsing their a cappella group in a whole new way.
No surprise then that CES saw the appearance of three new Lenovo products with projectors. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet, one of the hits of the show, is expandable through the use of a series of clip-on modules. Among them: a 15-hour battery clip-on, a 3D imaging function and—yup—a magnificently useful pico projector with HDMI port.
The ThinkPad Stack Mobile Projector is a compact standalone projector with an integrated speaker. And the ideacentre 610s is a tiny pyramid PC that comes with a projector. (One article dubbed it a “home-theater PC on steroids.”) The two pieces communicate wirelessly—set the projector nearby or sit it right on top and it can cast a 100-inch 720p image. Cool, right?
5. Phones you can dunk and slam on the ground
Our friends at Motorola continue to crank out quietly excellent phones. (Does that remind anyone of a certain black laptop with a red-nubbed keyboard?) I am in month #3 of using the shatter-proof Droid Turbo 2 and I spend each day resisting the urge to spike it like a football on every hard surface I see. These guys went even farther.
The Moto G has its own hero story: water-resistance that makes it perfect for people who live in rainforests or routinely forget their phone on the back porch.
6. Two words for gamers: Razer Edition
“Lenovo is killing it with partnerships,” Lenovo INsider Arthur Walker told me at CES. “All things being finite, you can’t be excellent at everything. For big things, you need allies.”
Well, we recently gained a new ally—and made a huge statement about our gaming intentions—by partnering with gaming gods Razer on some special-edition Lenovo Y Series PCs and a spectacular 27” curved monitor. The resulting products are as powerful as they are slickly designed. (And those cool Chroma lighting effects don’t hurt either.)
7. YOGA laptops not standing still
The 2012 introduction of our convertible YOGA line shook up the staid PC industry and the beat goes on today. The new YOGA 900S was a media darling at this year’s CES, with most articles rightly focusing on its status as the world’s thinnest convertible laptop. (It’s about as thin as an iPhone.)
While its tiny profile and light 2.2-pound frame are welcome news for the sore shoulders of travelers everywhere, we were just as excited about some more subtle improvements. First, our engineers managed to improve the battery life so you can now watch 10.5 hours of video on one charge. (YouTube addicts know what a big deal that is—Vegas to London on one charge.) Secondly, we added an option for active pen input so artists and note-takers can have an extra option besides touch and keyboard.
8. Putting you first
Customer-centrism is the new religion at Lenovo HQ and that’s good news for anyone who buys our stuff. Thanks to the magic of social media, we have more ways than ever to listen to literally millions of smart, astute customers.
It’s simple: you provide us with a daily dose of what you love and loathe, we fold your feedback into our design process and (hopefully) make wild improvements to every generation of our gear. Keep those opinions coming—they are the rocket fuel for our ideas.
Thanks for reading. If you get a moment, leave a comment below with your take on Lenovo/tech prospects for 2016.
Gavin O’Hara is Lenovo’s Brand Newsroom Lead.