Lenovo has introduced an all-in-one computer with a difference at CES this year. Rather than just sitting on your desk and doing what desktop PCs do, this one can lie flat and become an interactive table-top or a very large 27-inch tablet!
All-in-one computer cum tablet
How many 27-inch tablets have you seen? And yet the idea isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds when you consider social browsing and game play on a flat surface. At such a size the Lenovo Horizon 27 can also operate as an all-in-one desktop machine.
The Horizon is based on Microsoft’s Windows 8 Operating system but Lenovo have added their own multi-user interface called Aura. But Aura isn’t just an interface layer that floats on top of the Windows OS. It is deeply rooted in the operation of the machine. While the device is upright in desktop mode Windows 8 appears normally but drop it down to table-top level and Aura takes over presenting its ‘control wheel’ that acts as an application launcher (although I couldn’t help comparing it with a revolving food platter available in certain restaurants!).
The applications available via Aura include:
All designed or re-designed with multiple users in mind.
Unsurprisingly, Lenovo say they are going to offer an App. store and a number of software houses have committed to producing titles for Aura including EA Sports and Ubisoft. The software development kit is a free download so Lenovo seems determined to eliminate all excuses not to develop for the technology.
But it’s not just software that make this machine look like a serious attempt to drive a wedge in the consumer computer arena. The Horizon package includes the following hardware:
- Touch-capacitive sliding air hockey paddles,
- Touch-capacitive joysticks,
- Large six-sided die
The joysticks are connected via suction cups to spots on the screen and the die transmits its number to the machine via wifi.
Lenovo has embraced the concept of the coffee-table computer and has proposed a table design which accommodates the Horizon near its centre. When the machine is not in use flaps at the corners of the table slide over and conceal the Horizon so that the table looks more like traditional furniture. These flaps are motorised, as is another surface that lifts the Horizon into its upright orientation so that it can operate like a conventional desktop machine.
Its easy to imaging social gaming and education around this computer concept. The dedicated coffee table looks like an extravagant hardware upgrade that not many will have space for. But as a gaming machine resting on a conventional table this looks like a goer. At a price point of $999 (≈ $999) Lenovo have been careful not to price the Horizon out of the consumer space and remember, its still a fairly capable desktop machine.
By this Summer Lenovo will probably not be alone in offering this format of Desktop/Laptop machine all with similar configurations so the distinguishing criterium will be the software. Whoever attracts those killer multi-user apps wins.
The specs for the Horizon are:
Screen size: 27 inches
Thickness: 1.1 inches
Weight: 17.8 lb