Lenovo's new Yoga Tablet 2 could kill the stylus and make pens and pencils trendy again.
The company is introducing a new 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2 that has a unique technology with which a normal pen or pencil could be used to take notes. The technology could render the stylus irrelevant.
The new tablet was among one of many Yoga products announced by Lenovo ahead of International CES, officially starting Jan. 6 in Las Vegas. The Yoga Tablet 2, Yoga 3 and Yoga ThinkPad hybrids have a slim profile, full high-definition screens and longer battery life and more horsepower than earlier models. Lenovo is also introducing a 3D RealSense camera in the ThinkPad Yoga line.
Using a pen or pencil is a more natural way of taking notes, and the Anypen technology in the Yoga Tablet 2 enables that, said Andrew Barrow, director of worldwide product marketing of Lenovo's consumer group.
"Anypen allows any pen or pencil to become a handwriting tool," Barrow said. "That means no searching for lost or misplaced styluses."
The tablet has the Windows operating system, weighs 426 grams and offers 15 hours of battery life. It has 32GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel rear camera, a 1.6-megapixel front camera and two front speakers.
The pen or pencil has to be at least 1 millimeter thick and needs conductive material such as metal or graphite to take notes on the screen. Pens have metal and pencils have graphite, which are both conductive.
"If it's a wooden chopstick, it doesn't convert the current," Barrow said.
The pen or pencil are designed to work well with Windows, Barrow said. It's possible to scratch the screen if the pen or pencil is pressed aggressively. The screen has some level of protection, but care needs to be taken when pressing a pencil or pen on the display.
"It's not designed to be overly abused," Barrow said.
The tablet is priced starting at US$299, and will ship this month in the U.S.
The other Yoga products being announced at CES look like laptops, but can turn into tablets with screens that rotate 360 degrees.
Lenovo is introducing new ThinkPad Yoga models with 14-inch and 15-inch screens to complement the 12-inch model, which was introduced last year. The hybrids run on Intel's new fifth-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, which are based on the Broadwell microarchitecture.
The hybrids are around 19 millimeters thick and weigh less than 1.6 kilograms, depending on screen size. They have solid-state drive storage with capacities up to 512GB.
A 3D Intel RealSense camera can be selected with the 15-inch model. The depth-sensing camera can measure the distance between objects, and identify items through image recognition technology. The camera can be used to capture a 3D image for 3D printing.
The RealSense camera can remove background images during a Web chat, or superimpose a scene or company logo to make a chat more interesting. That's a good feature when chatting from a cafe or other locations, said Steve Gilbert , director of worldwide product marketing of commercial group.
The 12-inch ThinkPad Yoga will start at $999, and the 15-inch model will start at $1,199. Both will become available next month. The 14-inch model will start at $1,199 and ship in May. Nvidia graphics will be optional in the 14-inch and 15-inch models.
Lenovo is also putting a gaggle of new features in its Yoga 3 hybrids, which are slimmer and faster than the Yoga 2 models. Lenovo has put a 14-inch display in what was previously the 13.3-inch frame of the Yoga 2, and added a new 11-inch model.
The 11-inch Yoga 3 is 15.8-millimeters thick, weighs 1.2 kilograms, and has the Core M processor. The 14-inch model is 18.3-millimeters thick, weighs 1.6 kilograms, and has Intel fifth-generation Core i processors.
The new processor and components have helped reduce the thickness of the Yoga by around 8 percent, Barrow said.
Both Yoga 3 models offer up to seven hours of battery life. Storage options include 256GB SSD or a 500GB solid-state and hard-drive combination. The hybrids come standard with full high-definition screen and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The Yoga 3 11-inch model will be priced starting at $799, while the 14-inch starts at $979. They will ship in March.