It's an era of throwing things up against the wall to see if they stick. The imminent release of Windows 8 has inspired the notebook industry to experiment with hybrid designs that fall between notebook and tablet. Four new devices from Lenovo show three of these new approaches.
The IdeaPad Yoga 11 model looks at first like a conventional notebook and operates as one, but the 11.6-inch HD 1366-pixel-by-768-pixel touchscreen folds 360 degrees around, at which point the keyboard turns off and the screen operates as a touch-only tablet. Lenovo will have two versions: The 2.8-pound Yoga 11, and the 3.4-pound Yoga 13, both aimed at consumers. The $799 Yoga 11 uses an ARM processor and runs Windows RT. Lenovo claims 13 hours of battery life for the Yoga 11.
The IdeaPad Yoga 13 has the same 360-degree folding design and a 13.3-inch HD+ 1600-pixel-by-900-pixel touchscreen, but otherwise is a familiar ultrabook. It runs Intel-based Windows 8 on a Core i5 or i7 processor and offers up to 8GB DDR3 memory and up to 256GB SSD storage. Because it uses a conventional notebook chipset, Lenovo claims just seven hours of battery life.
The IdeaPad Lynx takes a different approach: the tablet fits into an optional dock to provide a notebook-like arrangement. The base also acts as a battery extender, doubling the battery life of the tablet from eight hours on its own to 16 hours. The Lynx uses the Intel Atom processor and Z2760 System on Chip and has the same 11.6-inch HD 1366-pixel-by-768-pixel touchscreen as the Yoga 11. Because it uses an Intel processor, it runs standard Windows 8 and, therefore, standard Windows software. The tablet comes with 32GB of flash storage and can be expanded via Micro-SD. Price is $599 for the tablet and $149 for the base.
Finally, the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist has a display mounted to the keyboard base, but on a swiveling connection. This lets it rotate up to 180 degrees and then fold back on the base to use as a touch-only tablet. Like the Yoga 13 it is, deep down, an ultrabook running a notebook chip and Windows 8 Pro. Lenovo claims only seven hours of battery life, but 30 days of standby life and a two-second resume. A range of hard disks and an SSD are available.
Expect to see design innovation like this from many vendors over the next few weeks.