Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 10:00 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: windows 10, reachit, microsoft, Lenovo, cortana
Yesterday during briefings at Lenovo’s North Campus just outside of Beijing, the Contextual Computing group took the opportunity to discuss their unique integration of a technology called REACHit with Cortana on Windows 10.
REACHit is an indexing program that Lenovo has developed which is aimed at helping users find their documents among many different services and contexts. Once you authenticate REACHit with your accounts such as Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive, or your local computers, Lenovo makes an index of the files which you keep there to help you more easily locate what you are looking for.
The most unique feature of REACHit comes in how you issue a search query. Lenovo has developed multiple contexts which they think will be useful in locating files, such as File Type, File Actions, Location, Calendar Events, and time frames. They are indexing the files you give them access to for these specific prompts, and hoping to present them in a more useful fashion.
One of the examples we were walked through involved the prompt, “Where is the presentation I was working on at Starbucks last week?”. In this case, Lenovo is looking at the file types (PPT), whether or not a file was Saved/Opened, the geolocation which this occurred at, and the time frame at which these operations took place.
We didn’t see a live demo of these searches working, and haven’t had hands-on time with the software yet so it’s hard to say if Lenovo has succeeded at their goal, but the technology seems like an interesting solution to a common problem.
There are also security concerns about giving Lenovo access to all of your files, and letting them build an index your metadata. We have been told there is encryption being handled on Lenovo’s server side, but they couldn’t get into any further details about this.
REACHit at this point is purely integrated with Microsoft’s Cortana in Windows 10, and there is no other option for running a search or external API access. Lenovo expects REACHit to be available at the Windows 10 launch for Lenovo machines only, and is currently opening sign-ups for the private beta at Cortanareachit.com
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 12:27 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: z51, z41, tech world, r9 m375, r9 m360, Lenovo, ideapad 100, amd
Today at their Tech World event in Beijing, Lenovo is taking the opportunity to announce some new mainstream notebook options.
First off, we have simply the Lenovo Z41 and Z51. The 14-inch Z41 and 15.6-inch Z51 aim to refresh the previous Z40 and Z50 with Broadwell CPUs as well as new AMD discrete GPU options.
Lenovo is using the Broadwell-U class of CPUs here as you would find in ultra books, so don't expect a CPU powerhouse, but for productivity style tasks these machines should hit the sweet spot of Price vs Performance with a starting price of $549 for the base Z51.
Paired with the new AMD R9-M360 (Z41) or M375 (Z51) these notebooks should also be able to play mainstream titles on the integrated 1080p display while coming in just over $800.
Lenovo also announced a low-cost entry into the ideapad line utilizing Intel's BayTrail-M processors. The ideapad 100 is available in both 14-inch and 15-inch variants and seems to be aimed at the low-cost Chromebook market.
Starting at $249, the ideapad 100 seems like it will be a good option for users looking for a secondary option for basic web browsing and office tasks.
Stay tuned for more from Lenovo's Tech World Event this week!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 22, 2015 - 03:34 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ultrabook, Lenovo, lavie-z, Intel, i7-5500U, Broadwell
After seeing it at CES this January, one our most anticipated products became the Lenovo Lavie-Z laptop. Born out of a partnership between NEC and Lenovo, the Lavie-Z promises to be the world's lightest laptop.
Our old-school postage scale doesn't have the accuracy to reach the 1.87lb that Lenovo clocks the Lavie-Z in at
Even after using the machine breiefly at CES, it is difficult to put into words what picking up a sub-2lb laptop is really like. Even after using the machine off and on today, it still feels like it's not a real machine. Lenovo and NEC have been able to accomplish this weight shedding through the use of a Lithium-Magnisum composite for the external housing of the machine, which seems durable, yet is incredibly light.
This may be a lightweight machine, but the specifications aren't compromised over other ultrabooks. The Lavie-Z is only listed in one configuration on Lenovo's site currently, but it's a high end one. A Broadwell Intel i7-5500U dual core processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2560x1440 IGZO display, 256GB SATA M.2 Samsung SSD, and Intel 802.11AC wireless make up this machine. At $1500 for this configuration, there doesn't seem to be much of a markup over other i7-equipped ultrabooks.
We'll of course put the Lavie-Z through our normal paces including performance and battery life, and we certainly hope they live up to the striking first impressions of this laptop.
Stay tuned for our full review in the coming weeks!
Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2015 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rumours, msi, Lenovo
When you think of Lenovo laptops you tend to think of suits and office suites, not Cheetos and Red Bull but DigiTimes has heard tell that this could possibly change. With Acer, Asustek's ROG and Dell's Alienware lineups all seeing decent profits from the niche market of high end gaming laptops the rumour is that Lenovo would like in on some of that filthy lucre. DigiTimes' source posits that MSI's gaming laptop subdivision would be the obvious target for Lenovo. It is possible that this is all hot air but Lenovo is a huge company and could easily afford to buy a division of a competitor, if they were willing to sell.
"Micro-Star International (MSI) has been successful in selling gaming notebooks and Lenovo is interested in acquiring MSI's gaming notebook business unit, according to sources from supply chain makers. However, MSI has denied the reports."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Elementary OS Freya: Is This The Next Big Linux Distro? @ Linux.com
- The Internet of Things: a jumbled mess or a jumbled mess? @ The Register
- Candy Crush Saga preloaded on Windows 10 is the key to enterprise sales @ The Inquirer
- Hackaday Prize Entry: A $100 CT Scanner @ Hack a Day
- You cannot be cirrus: 51 percent of Americans think storms bork cloud computing @ The Inquirer
Subject: Systems | May 6, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Okay, so some people are drawing parallels between this and Lenovo's Superfish scandal that happened late last year and carried on for the first few months of 2015. I am not a fan of that comparison. In the case of Superfish, Lenovo added third-party software that tampered with security for the purpose of advertising on the user's machine. In this case, a first-party application has a remote code execution vulnerability that was dealt with responsibly.
This happens to pretty much everyone, regularly.
But, so our readers know, they should update their Lenovo System Update. The current version, which seems to be 126.96.36.199 as far as I can tell, has been available since April and is not affected. This bug only concerns 188.8.131.52 and earlier. The issues were discovered in February by IOActive and disclosed to the PC manufacturer, who updated them before the security company published the issue. Unless I'm missing something, this is how it is supposed to be done.
Introduction and Design
Although the target market and design emphasis may be different, there is one thing consumer and business-grade laptops have in common: a drift away from processing power and toward portability and efficiency. At the risk of repeating our introduction for the massive MSI GT72 gaming notebook we reviewed last month, it seems that battery life, temperature, and power consumption get all the attention these days. And arguably, it makes sense for most people: it’s true that CPU performance gains have in years past greatly outstripped the improvements in battery life, and that likewise performance gains could be realized far more easily by upgrading storage device speed (such as by replacing conventional hard drives with solid-state drives) than by continuing to focus on raw CPU power and clock rates. As a result, we’ve seen many mobile CPU speeds plateauing or even dropping in exchange for a reduction in power consumption, while simultaneously cases have slimmed and battery life has jumped appreciably across the board.
But what if you’re one of the minority who actually appreciates and needs raw computing power? Fortunately, Lenovo’s ThinkPad W series still has you covered. This $1,500 workstation is the business equivalent of the consumer-grade gaming notebook. It’s one of the few designs where portability takes a backseat to raw power and ridiculous spec. Users shopping for a ThinkPad workstation aren’t looking to go unplugged all day long on an airplane tray table. They’re looking for power, reliability, and premium design, with function over form as a rule. And that’s precisely what they’ll get.
Beyond the fairly-typical (and very powerful) Intel Core i7-4800MQ CPU—often found in gaming PCs and workstations—and just 8 GB of DDR3-1600 MHz RAM (single-channel) is a 256 GB SSD and a unique feature to go along with the WQHD+ display panel: built-in X-Rite Pantone color sensor which can be used to calibrate the panel simply by closing the lid when prompted. How well this functions is another topic entirely, but at the very least, it’s a novel idea.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: superfish, Lenovo, bloatware, adware
Obviously, this does not forget the controversy that Lenovo got themselves into, but it is certainly the correct response (if they act how they imply). Adware and bloatware is common to find on consumer PCs, which makes the slowest of devices even more sluggish as demos and sometimes straight-up advertisements claim their share of your resources. This does not even begin to discuss the security issues that some of these hitchhikers drag in. Again, I refer you to the aforementioned controversy.
In response, albeit a delayed one, Lenovo has announced that, by the launch of Windows 10, they will only pre-install the OS and “related software”. Lenovo classifies this related software as drivers, security software, Lenovo applications, and applications for “unique hardware” (ex: software for an embedded 3D camera).
It looks to be a great step, but I need to call out “security software”. Windows 10 should ship with Microsoft's security applications in many regions, which really questions why a laptop provider would include an alternative. If the problem is that people expect McAfee or Symantec, then advertise pre-loaded Microsoft anti-malware and keep it clean. Otherwise, it feels like keeping a single finger in the adware take-a-penny dish.
At least it is not as bad as trying to install McAfee every time you update Flash Player. I consider Adobe's tactic the greater of two evils on that one. I mean, unless Adobe just thinks that Flash Player is so insecure that you would be crazy to install it without a metaphorical guard watching over your shoulder.
And then of course we reach the divide between “saying” and “doing”. We will need to see Lenovo's actual Windows 10 devices to find out if they kept their word, and followed its implications to a tee.
Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2015 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: superfish, Malware, Lenovo
Since 2014 Lenovo has been selling consumer laptops installed with an innocuously named program, Superfish. For those not in the habit of wiping their laptop and installing the OS fresh to avoid the bloatware generally present on consumer products, you have been sharing the exact same SSL certificate as every other Lenovo owner and the icing on the cake is that it is self signed by Superfish, not a certificate authority. This means any and all transmissions done on a browser (apparently other than Firefox) could have easily been unencrypted by anyone who captured your wireless transmissions since the SSL key you were using is well known seeing as it is present on every recent Lenovo machine.
Lenovo is downplaying the security issue and emphasizing that Superfish was just intended inject ads into your browser based on history and that it could be disabled manually or by not agreeing to the terms and conditions when you turn on your laptop for the first time. As the commentors on Slashdot rightly point out, that argument is disingenuous and exposing your customers to a man in the middle attack just so you can serve them up some targeted advertising is a gross oversight. Samsung has not seen much success with the argument that their monitoring software could be manually disabled either. The program is no longer bundled on Lenovo laptops, as of this year.
"... doesn't mention the SSL aspect, but this Lenovo Forum Post, with screen caps, is indicating it may be a man-in-the-middle attack to hijack an SSL connection too. It's too early to tell if this is a hoax or not, but there are multiple forum posts about the Superfish bug being installed on new systems. Another good reason to have your own fresh install disk, and to just drop the drivers onto a USB stick."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft opens Office storage back end for iOS love @ The Register
- Qualcomm outs ARM Cortex A72-based Snapdragon 620 and 618 chips @ The Inquirer
- How to Zip, Stick, and Screw Stuff Together @ Hack a Day
- BlackBerry's money-making QNX unit touts virty dual-OS devices @ The Register
- Getting Data Out of the Cloud Before Disaster @ Benchmark Reviews
- New Android Trojan Fakes Device Shut Down, Spies On Users @ Slashdot
- Adobe Photoshop turns 25 @ The Inquirer
- 10 Highlights of Jon Corbet's Linux Kernel Report @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultraportable, tablet, notebook, nec, Lenovo, lavie, ces 2015
Lenovo, in a joint venture with NEC, is bringing the world's lightest notebook and the world's lightest convertible to market. And as the first products from the joint venture to be released outside of Japan, the new LaVie Z HZ550 notebook and LaVie Z HZ750 convertible are impressive.
Both 13.3-inch devices are constructed of a magnesium-lithium body with custom Mg-Li reinforcements to create a sleek looking and lightweight PC that does not compromise strength versus other magnesium alloy products. The HZ550 and HZ750 measure 16.9mm thick and weigh 1.72 pounds and 2.04 pounds respectively.
The notebooks feature a 13.3" WQHD display, YAMAHA audio, stereo mic and 720p webcam. There are two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI video output, SD card reader, and headphone jack along the edges (and the notebook is just big enough for those full size USB ports). Other features include a dual hinge design reminiscent of other Lenovo (Yoga) products, a chiclet style keyboard, and a wide touchpad sans physical buttons. The dark frame has an angular design. The HZ750 adds a lightweight film touchscreen (no cover glass) and a 360-degree hinge to allow tablet mode.
The Lenovo NEC LaVie Z PCs are powered by Intel's latest Broadwell-U Core i5 processors, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The HZ750 can further be upgraded to a Core i7 and 8GB of RAM. Both PCs feature 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The HZ550 notebook is fitted with a 29.6 Whr battery while the HZ750 has a 44 Whr battery.
The LaVie Z HZ550 and HZ750 will be available in May starting at $1,299 and $1,499 respectively. They are slick looking notebooks and the magnesium-lithium frame is interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how they stack up and what else Lenovo NEC has in store (the joint venture agreement was recently extended to 2026).
What do you think about the new PCs?
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 5, 2015 - 03:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: CES, thinkpad yoga, Thinkpad, tablet, Lenovo, ces 2015, broadwell-u
Yesterday, Lenovo rolled out updates to its entire line of ThinkPad laptops, and today Lenovo is unveiling an update to its business-focused ThinkPad Yoga tablet. The update brings a hardware refresh to the 14-inch ThinkPad Yoga while also adding new 12-inch and 15-inch convertibles.
The new ThinkPad Yoga builds upon last year's model, maintaining the look and feel but updating the internal hardware. It now spans from a 12-inch 3.3 pound tablet to a 15-inch 5.07 pound convertible with enough space for a numerical pad. All models are less than an inch thick, with the 12" being the thinnest at 0.7".
ThinkPad Yoga 12
Display resolution options are capped at 1920 x 1080 across all models, but they are IPS panels with touchscreens.
The multi-mode devices feature a backlit ThinkPad keyboard (1.8mm travel) with track point, a trackpad with physical buttons, a 720p webcam (optional 3D camera on the 15-inch model), stereo speakers (2x 1.5W JBL on 15-inch tablet), and digitizer or Active Pen support.
Port options include two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one HDMI, and a card reader. A Mini HDMI port is used on the smallest ThinkPad Yoga.
ThinkPad Yoga 14
Lenovo has chosen Broadwell-U to power its business tablets, and you will be able to get up to a Core i7 processor. All models have access to the Intel HD Graphics, and the 14-inch and 15-inch tablets can be configured with dedicated graphics from NVIDIA. The 12-inch and 14-inch ThinkPad Yogas can be equipped with up to 8GB DDR3L while the Yoga 15 can accommodate 12GB and 16GB configurations. Storage options include mechanical, SSHD, and SSDs with storage topping out at 1TB for spinning platter and 512GB for solid state drives (not available on the Yoga 12). Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi (depending on the Wi-Fi+BT combo card), and a 1x NGFF slot.
The ThinkPad Yoga tablets will ship with Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro with an optional Windows 7 Pro downgrade available.
ThinkPad Yoga 15
The new ThinkPad Yoga will be available in February with starting prices at $999 for the Yoga 12, $1,199 for the Yoga 14 and Yoga 15.
The new Yoga 14 has a slight $50 premium over the starting price of last year's ThinkPad Yoga 14, but the new Yoga 12 comes in much cheaper and the larger Yoga 15 can be had for the same price as the new 14-inch model. Many of the popular features are staying the same, including the Lift 'n Lock keyboard, but you are also getting the latest CPU and GPU technology so in all it is likely worth it. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on these machines as we get closer to the launch date.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!