To welcome in the soon-to-launch new Windows, Lenovo is doing Yoga. On Tuesday, the computer maker unveiled several new Yoga tablet/laptop convertibles for Windows RT and 8, as well as a Windows 8 tablet.
The company's IdeaPad Yoga line gets its body-twisting name from its ability to move the screen 360 degrees, converting the machine from an Ultrabook to a tablet in one motion.
Peter Hortensius, senior vice president at Lenovo and president of its Product Group, said in a statement that the company's family of Ultrabook convertibles "addresses the unique needs of consumers, businesses and everyone in between by creating high-performance laptop-tablet combinations," and that their "multi-modes give people even more ways to use their PC."
The Windows 8-based Yoga 13, with a starting price of $1,099, features Dolby Home Theater, a 13.3 HD IPS screen, and a Motion Control technology for flipping through photos and other content. The Yoga 11, which Lenovo described as "the world's slimmest multi-mode PC," has an 11.6-inch screen, a 13-hour battery life, and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor , which the company said is the only quad-core so far for Windows RT. The 11 starts at $799.
Both models can be converted into a standing tablet by flipping the keyboard behind the screen to watch movies or view other content without holding the device.
One of the first Windows 8-based tablets is Lenovo's IdeaTab Lynx, with a dual-core Intel Atom processor. The 11.6-inch tablet, with a 16-hour battery life, can become what the company described as a "full-function PC experience" when connected to a keyboard. The Lynx starts at $599, with the keyboard running $149.
The ThinkPad Twist is a full-on Ultrabook laptop that also converts into a tablet. It is powered by a third generation Intel Core i7, Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, and offers storage of a 500-GB hard drive or 128-GB solid-state drive. Pricing begins at $849.
We asked Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, if Lenovo's convertible models were meeting perceived needs, or simply the result of the company trying to find out what buyers might want in a new Windows machine.
He said that the convertibles, particularly the RT-based Yoga 11, are "a lot like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks."
Greengart noted that "no one knows if anyone is ready to embrace RT," especially given no one knows how many RT-ready applications will be available when Windows RT ships. One figure of 2,000 apps has been mentioned, but Greengart said that, while there will probably be more than that at launch, it's not evident how many more. By contrast, Apple's iPad features over 250,000 tablet-specific applications, and both Apple and Windows 8 laptops have zillions of apps for their use. RT laptops are a new breed.
He pointed out that, while Apple created a successful tablet by "scaling up a mobile OS," Microsoft is going the other way -- scaling down a desktop OS.
But Greengart noted that Windows 8 convertibles and tablets, such as the Twist or the Yoga 13, could "more easily" be justified by an IT manager for use by a mobile worker. "Microsoft has been pretty clear," he said. "If you're a consumer, there's RT or Windows 8, but if you're a business, it's 8."