Lenovo Bundles Start Menu... Which Bundles an App Store?

Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 22, 2013 - 11:45 PM |
Tagged: SweetLabs., Pokki, Lenovo

Hate the "Modern" Windows UI? There's an app... store... for that...?

Several solutions exist to reintroduce the classic Windows interface into Windows 8. Not surprisingly, OEMs consider developing or including some option with their devices as a selling point. Perhaps even less surprising, this solution is considered bloatware by some and tries to suggest apps for you.

Oh Lenovo...

sweetlabspokki.jpg

As Ars Technica reports, at least the software tries to be helpful, almost spiting its nature as a pre-installed third party app store. Pokki, the software developed by SweetLabs, includes shortcuts to the Windows Control Panel and other functions expected of a Start Menu.

It also, from its promotional image, above, feels like it will confuse novice users. The recommendations are prominent and docked against what should be system functionality. The layout is not particularly dishonest but, in my opinion, is too opaque about its intent to sell you applications.

SweetLabs previously struck a deal with Acer to include Pokki and Zynga titles on their laptops.

Lenovo intends to include this software in a variety of products. IdeaPad laptops, IdeaCentre desktops, and ThinkPad laptops were all announced.

pocky.jpg

... no relation to the sweet snack, Pocky... I think?

Maybe a little inspiration?

Of course many users might prefer this software to the default Windows experience. Even on Windows 7, I found myself purchasing and installing DisplayFusion to customize taskbar functionality. I also use BlueStacks, for example, which has its own marketplace and recommended applications.

This software could be good for users.

Mostly I hope consumers, from the out-of-box experience with their new devices, have control and understanding over the situation. Typical bundleware gives that a bad name. I am looking at you, antivirus trials.

Source: Ars Technica
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer:

Introduction and Design

P7192827.jpg

It seems like only yesterday (okay, last month) that we were testing the IdeaPad Yoga 11, which was certainly an interesting device. That’s primarily because of what it represents: namely, the slow merging of the tablet and notebook markets. You’ve probably heard people proclaiming the death of the PC as we know it. Not so fast—while it’s true that tablets have eaten into the sales of what were previously low-powered notebooks and now-extinct netbooks, there is still no way to replace the utility of a physical keyboard and the sensibility of a mouse cursor. Touch-centric devices are hard to beat when entertainment and education are the focus of a purchase, but as long as productivity matters, we aren’t likely to see traditional means of input and a range of connectivity options disappear anytime soon.

The IdeaPad Yoga 11 leaned so heavily in the direction of tablet design that it arguably was more tablet than notebook. That is, it featured a tablet-grade SOC (the nVidia Tegra 3) as opposed to a standard Intel or AMD CPU, an 11” display, and a phenomenal battery life that can only be compared to the likes of other ARM-based tablets. But, of course, with those allegiances come necessary concessions, not least of which is the inability to run x86 applications and the consequential half-baked experiment that is Windows RT.

P7192796.jpg

Fortunately, there’s always room for compromise, and for those of us searching for something closer to a notebook than the original Yoga 11, we’re now afforded the option of the 11S. Apart from being nearly identical in terms of form factor, the $999 (as configured) Yoga 11S adopts a standard x86 chipset with Intel ULV CPUs, which allows it to run full-blown Windows 8. That positions it squarely in-between the larger x86 Yoga 13 and the ARM-based Yoga 11, which makes it an ideal candidate for someone hoping for the best of both worlds. But can it survive the transition, or do its compromises outstrip its gains?

Our Yoga 11S came equipped with a fairly standard configuration:

specs.png

Unless you’re comparing to the Yoga 11’s specs, not much about this stands out. The Core i5-3339Y is the first thing that jumps out at you; in exchange for the nVidia Tegra 3 ARM-based SOC of the original Yoga 11, it’s a much more powerful chip with a 13W TDP and (thanks to its x86 architecture) the ability to run Windows 8 and standard Windows applications. Next on the list is the included 8 GB of DDR3 RAM—versus just 2 GB on the Yoga 11. Finally, there’s USB 3.0 and a much larger SSD (256 GB vs. 64 GB)—all valuable additions. One thing that hasn’t changed, meanwhile, is the battery size. Surely you’re wondering how this will affect the longevity of the notebook under typical usage. Patience; we’ll get to that in a bit! First, let’s talk about the general design of the notebook.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Convertible Notebook!

When you think monitors, do you think Lenovo?

Subject: Displays | July 30, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, thinkvision, ips display, LT3053p

The Lenovo ThinkVision LT3053p is an 30" IPS LED backlit display with a 2560×1600 resolution and a hefty price tag of around $1500.  For that price you do get some interesting input choices including a mobile high definition link port, which looks like an HDMI input except for the MHL label as well as both DisplayPort 1.2 in and an DP 1.2 out to allow you to daisy chain another monitor to the Lenovo.  As well a single USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports were installed, including a dedicated charging port like is seen on many laptops now on the market.  For professionals this monitor is able to display 30bit colour and 99% Adobe RGB gamut.  Benchmark Reviews also demonstrated how the monitor can be split and accept sources from two different computers and have a mouse and keyboard hooked up directly so that it can act as a sort of KVM switch.  The features are interesting but it is hard to get over the sticker shock.

BR_lenovo_LT3053p_front.jpg

"In the past year or so flat panel monitor prices have entered free-fall, with massive 27″ displays widely available for under $300. Given that, why would anyone even consider spending over $1,500 on a somewhat larger 30″ display? Lenovo has lent Benchmark Reviews one of their ThinkVision LT3053p units to review, so let’s see what all that extra money buys you."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Intel Announces Q2 Results: Below Expectations, but Still Good

Subject: Editorial | July 17, 2013 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: silvermont, quarterly results, money, Lenovo, k900, Intel, atom, 22 nm tri-gate, 14 nm

Intel announced their Q2 results for this year, and it did not quite meet expectations.  When I say expectations, I usually mean “make absolutely obscene amounts of money”.  It seems that Intel was just shy of estimates and margins were only slightly lower than expected.  That being said, Intel reported revenue of $12.8 billion US and a net income of $2 billion US.  Not… too… shabby.

Analysts were of course expecting higher, but it seems as though the PC slowdown is in fact having a material effect on the market.  Intel earlier this quarter cut estimates, so this was not exactly a surprise.  Margins came in around 58.3%, but these are expected to recover going into Q3.  Intel is certainly still in a strong position as millions of PCs are being shipped every quarter and they are the dominant CPU maker in its market.

Intel-Swimming-in-Money.jpg

Intel has been trying to get into the mobile market as it still exhibits strong growth not only now, but over the next several years as things become more and more connected.  Intel had ignored this market for some time, much to their dismay.  Their Atom based chips were slow to improve and typically used a last generation process node for cost savings.  In the face of a strong ARM based portfolio of products from companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, and Rockchip, the Intel Atom was simply not an effective solution until the latest batch of chips were available from Intel.  Products like the Atom Z2580, which powers the Lenovo K900 phone, were late to market as compared to other 28 nm products such as the Snapdragon series from Qualcomm.

Intel expects the next generation of Atom being built on its 22 nm Tri-Gate process, Silvermont, to be much more competitive with the latest generation offerings from its ARM based competitors.  Unfortunately for Intel, we do not expect to see Silvermont based products until later in Q3 with availability in late Q4 or Q1 2014.  Intel needs to move chips, but this will be a very different market than what they are used to.  These SOCs have decent margins, but they are nowhere near what Intel can do with their traditional notebook, desktop, and server CPUs.

To help cut costs going forward, it seems as though Intel will be pulling back on its plans for 14 nm production.  Expenditures and floor space/equipment for 14 nm will be cut back as compared to what previous plans had held.  Intel still is hoping to start 14 nm production at the end of this year with the first commercial products to hit at the end of 2014.  There are questions as to how viable 14 nm is as a fully ramped process in 2014.  Eventually 14 nm will work as advertised, but it appears as though the kinks were much more complex than anticipated given how quickly Intel ramped 22 nm.

Intel has plenty of money, a dominant position in the x86 world, and a world class process technology on which to base future products on.  I would say that they are still in very, very good shape.  The market is ever changing and Intel is still fairly nimble given their size.  They also recognize (albeit sometimes a bit later than expected) shifts in the marketplace and they invariably craft a plan of attack which addresses their shortcomings.  While Intel revenue seems to have peaked last year, they are addressing new markets aggressively as well as holding onto their dominant position in notebooks, desktops, and server markets.  Intel is expecting Q3 to be up, but overall sales throughout 2013 to be flat as compared to 2012.  Have I mentioned they still cleared $2 billion in a down quarter?

Source: Intel

Lenovo Outperforms Market Forecasts, Grabs Global PC Market Share Lead From HP

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2013 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, IDC, hp, desktop market share

Earlier this week Gartner reported that global PC shipments in the second quarter of this year had fallen 10.9% YoY. In line with Gartner’s statistics, market research firm IDC (International Data Corp) has also released Q2 2013 results on global PC shipments. The interesting takeaway from the IDC report is the market share numbers, however. The IDC report shows that Lenovo has overtaken HP as the number one PC OEM with the highest market share.

According to IDC, global PC shipments fell 11.4% to 75.632 million units versus the same time last year. Despite taking first place, Lenovo still managed to shrink 1.4% YoY due to a 10% decrease in shipments to the Asia/Pacific market (excluding Japan) which makes up about 50% of Lenovo’s market. It still managed to outperform market forecasts by only seeing a slight decrease from 12,802,000 PC shipments in Q2 2012 to 12,619,000 in Q3 2013.

Lenovo Logo.jpg

Because Lenovo’s shipments only decreased 1.4%, it managed to snag 1st place from HP which shrank 7.7% YoY. Lenovo now holds 16.7% of global PC market share versus 15% market share at the same time last year. Comparatively, HP went from 15.7% in Q2 2012 to 16.4% in Q2 2013.  ASUS and Acer actually lost market share and saw decreased global PC shipments of 21.1% and 32.6% respectively.

IDC PC Tracker Lenovo Number One.jpg

In short, Lenovo lost the least amount of shipments in an overall declining market, so it managed to edge out HP and the other major OEMs for top spot. Although it still had a net loss (in number of shipments / growth), it performed quite well this quarter.

More information can be found here.

What do you think about Lenovo earning the most market share for global PC shipments?

Source: EE Times
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Lenovo

A 27-in Table PC

While foraging through the land that is Las Vegas during the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show, we ran into Lenovo and they showed us a unique PC design they were calling the "Table PC".  The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon is a 27-in All-in-One design that is finally available in the market and brings some very interesting design decisions and use cases.

IMG_9738.JPG

At its heart, the IdeaCentre Horizon is a 27-in 1920x1080 display with an AIO PC design that includes some pretty standard Intel-based Ultrabook-style hardware.  That includes an Intel Core i5-3337U dual-core processor, a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX GT620M graphics processor, a 1TB 5400 RPM HDD and 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory. 

But this computer is much more important than simply the hardware it is built around.  Built to switch between a standard AIO configuration but allows for a fold-down, multi-user interface with custom software for interaction, the Horizon attempts to bring life to low-cost computers built for more than one user at a time. 

From a physical perspective, the IdeaCentre Horizon has the normal and expected design cues.  There is an HD webcam up top for Skype calls, touch-based buttons for volume and brightness, indicator lights for drive usage, power states, etc. 

The 1920x1080 10-point touch screen on the Horizon was nice, but not great.  For a 27-in display that you are going to be interfacing with very closely, the pixel density is definitely lower than our 1080p 21-in touch screen AIO floating around the office.  There were some minor glare issues as well, even with the Lenovo "anti-glare coating" while using the Horizon in the fully laid down, flat position.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27-in All-in-One Table PC!!

New Ultrathin ThinkPad T440S Appears On Lenovo Website

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | July 9, 2013 - 03:40 AM |
Tagged: laptop, Lenovo, Thinkpad, haswell, Intel, windows 8

A new ultrathin laptop for business users has appeared on Lenovo’s website. Called the Lenovo ThinkPad T440S, it is an Intel 4th Generation Core "Haswell"-powered machine running Windows 8.

The ThinkPad T440S features a magnesium and carbon fiber chassis that is 21mm thick. It has a full size, spill resistant, keyboard with multimedia function keys, a TrackPoint, and a multi-touch trackpad. The T440S has a 14” display with optional multi-touch and a resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Lenovo ThinkPad T440S.jpg

This laptop will start at 3.5 pounds. It can be configured with two 3-cell batteries with one internal and one removable battery. In this configuration, users can swap out the removable battery for a spare without powering down the system (a technology Lenovo calls Power Bridge). Other features include a 720p webcam with dual noise canceling mics.

IO includes three USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort and one VGA video output, and a SD card reader. The T440S also comes equipped with an NFC radio.

Unfortunately, additional specifications and pricing data is not yet listed on the Lenovo site. If you are a business user in need of a thin and light laptop, keep a lookout on this product page for more information as the laptop gets closer to release.

Source: Lenovo
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

P6052455_0.jpg

As headlines mount championing the supposed shift toward tablets for the average consumer, PC manufacturers continue to devise clever hybrid solutions to try and lure those who are on the fence toward more traditional machines.  Along with last year’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 and ThinkPad Twist, Lenovo shortly thereafter launched the smallest of the bunch, an 11.6” convertible tablet PC with a 5-point touch 720p IPS display.

Unlike its newer, more powerful counterpart, the Yoga 11S, it runs Windows RT and features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-Core system on a chip (SoC).  There are pros and cons to this configuration in contrast to the 11S.  For starters, the lower-voltage, fanless design of the 11 guarantees superior battery life (something which we’ll cover in detail in just a bit).  It’s also consequently (slightly) smaller and lighter than the 11S, which gains a hair on height and weighs around a quarter pound more.  But, as you’re probably aware, Windows RT also doesn’t qualify as a fully-functional version of Windows—and, in fact, the Yoga 11’s versatility is constrained by the relatively meager selection of apps available on the Windows Store.  The other obvious difference is architecture and chipset, where the Yoga 11’s phone- and tablet-grade ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra 3 is replaced on the 11S by Intel Core Ivy Bridge ULV processors.

But let’s forget about that for a moment.  What it all boils down to is that these two machines, while similar in terms of design, are different enough (both in terms of specs and price) to warrant a choice between them based on your intended use.  The IdeaPad Yoga 11 configuration we reviewed can currently be found for around $570 at retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.  In terms of its innards:

specs_0.png

If it looks an awful lot like the specs of your latest smartphone, that’s probably because it is.  The Yoga 11 banks on the fact that such ARM-based SoCs have become powerful enough to run a modern personal computer comfortably—and by combining the strengths of an efficient, low-power chipset with the body of a notebook, it reaps benefits from both categories.  Of course, there are trade-offs involved, starting with the 2 GB memory ceiling of the chipset and extending to the aforementioned limitations of Windows RT.  So the ultimate question is, once those trade-offs are considered, is the Yoga 11 still worth the investment?

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Tegra 3 notebook!!

Lenovo Launches New Haswell-Powered Windows 8 Devices

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2013 - 09:08 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, u430 touch, u330 touch, sshd, Lenovo, haswell

Lenovo recently unveiled a n umber of new laptops and tablets running Microsoft's latest touch-friendly operating system. New devices include the Lenovo Mix convertible tablet, three new S-series laptops, and two new U-series ultrabooks.

Lenovo Mix

The Lenovo Mix is the company's latest convertible. Primarily a tablet, the 10.1" device comes with a detachable AccuType keyboard case. It weighs 1.2 pounds and is a mere 0.4" thick.
Boasting a 10 hour battery life, the Lenovo Mix features a dual core Intel Atom processor, 64GB internal flash storage, microSD card support, and Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and (optional) 3G+GPS radios. The main attraction is a 10.1" IPS display with a resolution of 1366x768.

lenovo-logo.jpg

The Lenovo Mix will be available later this summer with a starting price of $500.

Lenovo S210, S400, and S500

In addition to the convertible tablet, Lenovo is also releasing three new S-series laptops. These new Windows 8 machines start at 3 pounds and 0.8" thick. They all feature a "tactile metallic finish," Dolby Advanced Audio v2 certification, and pre-installed Lenovo software such as Lenovo Companion, Lenovo Support, Lenovo Cloud.

Lenovo S210 Laptop (2).jpg

The Lenovo S210 is a 11.6" laptop that supports Intel's Ivy Bridge Core i3 processors. Moving up from there, the Lenovo S400 is a 14" laptop and the S500 is a 15.6" laptop. Both the S400 and S500 support Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
All three Lenovo S-series laptops will be available for purchase later this summer. The laptops have a starting price of $429 for the S210, $499 for the S400, and $579 for the S500.

Lenovo U330 Touch and U430 Touch

Lenovo is also releasing two new ultrabook-class ultra-portable laptops. The Lenovo U330 is a 13.3" machine and the Lenovo U430 is a 14" thin-and-light. The laptops use a metal chassis, start at 3.7 pounds and 0.74" thick. Users will be able to interact with the ultrabook using voice or motion controls as well as the multi-touch touchpad and 10-point capacitive multi-touch display.

The Lenovo U330 is a 13.3" ultrabook that measures 12.7" x 8.8" x 0.74" and weighs 3.7 pounds. Display options include 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080 displays. Lenovo is providing the option of a 10-point multi-touch add-on for the display. Hardware specifications include an Intel Core i3-4010U or a Core i5-4200U CPU, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 42 Whr battery. Storage options include a 500GB or 1TB hard drive paired with 16GB of flash storage as cache, or a single 256GB SSD.

The Lenovo U330 Touch will be available in orange or gray later this summer with a starting MSRP of $799.

Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Touch.jpg

Meanwhile, the Lenovo U430 Touch is a larger machine that measures 13.2" x 9.2" x 0.81" and weighs 4.2 pounds. This machine comes with a 14" 1600 x 900 or 1920 x 1080p display with 10-point multi-touch panel option. The ultrabook is powered by Intel's Fourth Generation Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, optional NVIDIA discrete graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 52 Whr battery. Storage options include a 1TB or 500GB SSHD with 16GB cache or a single 256GB SSD.
IO options on the laptop include HDMI video outputs, USB 3.0 ports, and a SD card reader. 

The U430 Touch will be available later this summer with a starting price of $899.

All this new hardware is a lot to take in, but overall the specifications look good.

Source: Lilputing

Computex 2013: Intel Demos Baytrail Tablet, Haswell Ultrabook, Ivy Bridge Passive Tablet

Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2013 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2013, Intel, haswell, Ivy Bridge, k900, Lenovo, baytrail, silvermont, ultrabook, acer, aspire s7

Intel had a host of new technologies to show off at Computex this year, starting of course with the Haswell processor launch.  Hopefully you have read our review of the Core i7-4770K LGA1150 CPU already but thanks to some video sent our way, we have other interesting bits to share.

Sequence-01.jpg

Below you will see Intel demonstrating four new products.  First is the Acer Aspire S7 using a Haswell dual-core platform playing back 4K content.  Next up is an Ivy Bridge tablet that is running completely fanless (passive) thus generating no noise at all while still offering impressive CPU and graphics performance.  Intel then pulls a Lenovo K900 Android smartphone out of its pocket powered by the Clovertrail+ enabled Atom Z2580 SoC.  Finally, we get a sneak peak at the next-generation of SoC designs with a look at a Silvermont-based Baytrail tablet running at 2560x1440.