Lenovo debuts 'hybrid' PC


IdeaPad U1Claiming that it’s an industry first, Lenovo has just taken the wraps off a new PC called the IdeaPad U1. The company is referring to smooth and sleek-looking device as a “Hybrid” PC. The difference between a hybrid and convertible or tablet PC, apparently, is that the Hybrid actually contains two CPUs instead of one.

The result is a 3.4 lb laptop, running Windows 7, which can then morph on-the-fly into a completely independent slate PC which runs a custom Lenovo OS dubbed “Skylight”.

The company’s press release says that:

“Leveraging the benefits of both CPU, the two devices can synchronize to work as one with the ability to share battery power, 3G wireless, data and documents. In this way, the base laptop system can serve as a hub and docking station and the slate tablet as a mobile device. The two PCs have been engineered to work together and independently through Lenovo’s Hybrid Switch technology that enables seamless toggling between the two processors. For instance, users can surf the Web in laptop mode and then continue from the same point without interruption if they detach to tablet mode.”

When in tablet mode, the 11.6″ HD LED screen (which is multitouch capable) displays either a six or four-part user interface…

“[the] six-section screen display is designed to enhance the mobile internet experience by letting users easily multitouch access multiple Web-based applications at once such as email, calendars, RSS readers and social networking Web sites. The four-section screen display option is perfect as a media center on the PC such as photos, music, videos and to view/edit documents.”

Connectivity is pretty standard, except for the Wi-Fi module which only does a/b/g – no draft N. It will also come equipped with an embedded 3G module which will provide connectivity for both tablet and laptop modes.

This announcement comes at a time when the entire industry is holding its collective breath waiting to see what Apple’s much-rumoured ‘iTablet’ device will turn out to be when the company holds their next major event on January 27th. All we have to go on is a blog post from a former Apple and Google exec who claims the price point will be in the $1,000 range. Interestingly, that is exactly the target that Lenovo has put on the U1: the expected street price is $999 USD when it eventually goes on sale in June of this year.

I have to say,  that while Apple’s as yet unconfirmed device sounds like it will be an appealing package, if it lacks a physical keyboard option, or is underpowered in the CPU or battery-life departments (something that has been a problem in almost all battery-powered Apple devices), the Lenovo ‘Hybrid’ formula may turn out to be a winner. By combining the strengths of a laptop and a tablet into a single device, they sidestep the biggest question about the iTablet: is the market ready to embrace this platform?

 

More Photos of the U1:

IdeaPad U1_2IdeaPad U1_4

And the full specs:

 

Processor Upcoming Intel proccesor & Qualcomm ARM Snapdragon processors
Operating System 

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium and & Slate Mode Lenovocustomized UI with Skylight Interface
Display/Resolution 

High-Resolution 11.6″ LED backlight display, 16:9 widescreenMultitouchPanel for both notebook mode and slate mode– two finger touch
Video Graphics 

Intel® Core2 Duo SU processors
Memory 

Up to 4GB DDR3 DRAM 1066MHz & Slate 512MB DDR1
Storage 

2.5″ SATA SSD up to 128GB & for Slate NAND Flash 16GB, Boot loader 512MB
Optical Drive 

Sound 

Stereo Speakers on Slate, Integrated MIC
Integrated Comms 

Ethernet 10, 100, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth, WWAN
Ports and Slots 

Two USB 2.0 and one eSATA/USB combo port, external monitor (VGA DB-15, HDMI), Ethernet (RJ-45), 4-in-1 reader (Multi-Media Card, Memory Stick®, Memory Stick PRO™, Secure Digital Card
Camera 

1.3M integrated web camera
Weight 

Notebook is 1.7kg (3.7 lbs.) and Slate is 750g (1.6 lbs.)
Dimensions 

292x205x 28.35mm, & Slate is 292X205X12.65mm (WxHxD)
Battery Life 

10 hrs , & Slate mode 8 hrs, 3G standby 60 hrs
Included Software 

Software options include: OneKey Rescue 7.0/ Lenovo Energy Management Software 4.0/ Adobe Reader 9.0/ McAfee Virus Scan Plus 2009/ Windows Live essential/ VeriFace 3.6/ Office professional 2007(for WW except CN/Japan)/ Office personal (Only for Japan)/ LPS(Lenovo Passport Service)3.0 (Only for CN/ Auto collage(only install in Win7 Home Premium)/ Lenovo ReadyComm5.1/ APS(Active Protection System) 1.0* Software may vary by region
Pricing 

Starts at $999.00 US

*Pricing may vary by region
 
 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Lester

    I believe this is one of the latest innovations that will place another notch on the technology wave. This system/combination is the smartest concept to come out of Lenovo in years. I don’t believe this can necessarily be compared to Apple’s tablet due to the fact that Apple’s innovations are designed to fill tiny voids between their product lines. We all know Apple leads their own parade. The tablet use will be quite a movement since portability of a netbook, laptop, and cell phone has been placed in a portable unit. Uses? Here are a few I came up with…
    – sitting on the couch viewing your television and controlling the show on a tablet.
    – quick calendar or notes viewing
    – students can carry the tablet on an excursion to see additional information through geo tagging
    – while on a conference, access information remotely real quickly
    – DJs would be scratching and mixing on a tablet screen instead of a record (you listening Serato? I want royalties)
    – and many more.

    Love it!

    Like

    • Chester Field

      I concur with your views. This is actually an idea that’s been around for some time. I’m very surprised we haven’t had one before now. This could be the ultimate student computer. Future proofed, it would be very hard to say no to one of these. I’m an old tech with a ‘tethered’ setup. One of these would send me out of doors to “greener pastures” ! All it truly needs is a VOIP like the old Acer Ferrari model had (I think it was the 4005 or 5005 model). Suggested price might be on the high side however, Unless the base model is really quite sufficient and only a few luxuries would mean the difference. Love the shiny “Candie apple red” would go nice with a new HEMI retro Charger V8 or maybe the new VOLT Camero from GM??? Here’s to a new tech year and wishful thinking!

      Like