October 30, 2013
Lenovo Hires Ashton Kutcher, Unveils New Tablet With A Handle
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Ashton Kutcher, the famed actor who most recently played Apple’s iconic founder in the biopic “Jobs,” has just taken a position with Lenovo as a product engineer. He began his career with Lenovo yesterday by introducing the company's updated line of Yoga Android tablets.Kutcher is a common player in the tech sphere and has invested in startup companies such as Airbnb, Path and Uber, so his involvement with a hardware manufacturer doesn’t seem so far off.
The Yoga tablet Kutcher showed off is available in eight- and 10-inch models at $249 and $299, respectively; but perhaps the most notable feature is the tablet’s handle. The Yoga Tablet features a cylindrical end that acts as a grip when reading on the tablet, and a stand which pops out of the cylinder can prop up the device either on a slight incline or nearly vertically. It’s likely the bulge is making the bulk of headlines because the tablet’s internals are mostly mediocre.
The Android 4.2 device runs on a 1.2 GHz MT8389 processor with 1GB RAM installed. It can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or optional 3G and also features low powered Bluetooth 4.0. Like the Microsoft Surface and others, the new Yoga Tablet features a micro-USB slot that can be used to charge other devices or attach external drives. In order to charge a second device, however, the Yoga requires a special cable, which does not come included. An SD card expansion slot allows the unit to carry up to a total of 64 GB of storage, but both models start with an included 16 GB. Both devices are available today at Best Buy stores and Lenovo.com.
It’s also likely the Tablet’s bulge made so many headlines because Kutcher and Lenovo made this a main talking point in the presentation and press releases.
Calling it “not another ‘Me Too’ tablet,” Kutcher said the Yoga meets consumer’s needs by understanding how consumers want to use the device. He also took a few slight jabs at Apple and its iPad by praising Lenovo for choosing Android’s operating system rather than its own proprietary platform.
“Lenovo isn’t sitting here going ‘the software that we create is the software that needs to be the software that everybody uses because that’s the software that’s going to be the best software’ because that’s not how great software gets created,” said Kutcher, almost certainly talking about Apple’s popular iOS mobile OS.
By comparison, the 10-inch Yoga Tablet weighs more than Apple’s latest iPad, the Air; 1.33 pounds to the iPad Air's one pound. Additionally, the Yoga’s screen only displays at an industry low 1280 x 800 resolution. The iPad Air’s Retina Display projects images with a 2048 x 1536 resolution and a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, specs which are nearly standard in today’s tablets. Both tablets feature a five megapixel camera on the back, however.
As noted by Mashable, the handle on the Lenovo tablet is a close knock-off of a design Sony once trotted out and abandoned. The Sony Xperia Tablet S also shipped with a back bulge before abandoning this design for the sleeker design every other tablet manufacturer has chosen. Mashable’s Pete Pachal went hands-on with the unit, but didn’t have many great things to say about it, even with the new revolutionary grip.
“I can almost forgive the performance, despite it being pretty lousy,” wrote Pachal. “For what Lenovo's asking — $249 and $299 for the 8-inch and 10-inch, respectively — you can do much, much better.”