LIVE FROM IFA 2015: As part of a wide-ranging product refresh, Lenovo announced a new “phablet” – which proudly wears the label – as well as an updated Moto 360 smartwatch and a raft of smartphone and tablet releases.
Moto 360 racks up the options
With Samsung and Huawei out early to bolster their smartwatch credentials this week, Lenovo was quick to point out it was early to the game with the Moto 360 (originally a Motorola product, of course).
Noting that it was the first with a round watch face – subsequently adopted by Samsung and Huawei, among others – the company has now broadened the range to offer “more styles, more features and more battery”.
The company has segmented the line, with products targeting men, women, and “fitness enthusiasts”. Products can also be customised via the Moto Maker online design tool.
The Moto 360 Sport features built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor, and has a “strong silicon construction with special UV coating [which] wicks away moisture and resists fading or straining, while side ventilation channels help you stay cool”.
Availability details for the Moto 360 Sport will follow “soon”.
Lenovo takes “phablet” to consumers
Lenovo is certainly not the first vendor to offer a large-screen smartphone, reflecting the fact that for an increasing amount of time devices are being used for purposes other than phone calls. But it is the first to embrace the word Phablet – a portmanteau of phone and tablet – in its consumer proposition.
“Phablet is an industry term that has been used for several years, but it has never been translated into consumer terminology. We want to articulate the two-in-one nature of the product, and what better way than to take the direct combination,” Jeff Meredith, GM of the tablet business unit at Lenovo, said.
Targeting “today’s millennials”, the Phab Plus has a 6.8-inch screen. And at the launch event, Lenovo said that it features the best of the phone – such as its metal unibody design, LTE connectivity and 13MP/5MP cameras – with the full-HD display, Dolby Atmos audio and large (3,500mAh) battery of a tablet.
It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
Available in grey, silver and gold, it will cost $299.
In a statement, Lenovo also said that it will offer an “introductory” Phab model, with 7-inch screen, 4,250mAh battery, and 1GB of RAM.
This device will be available in black, white, blue and red.
Following the recent update of Motorola’s product line, Lenovo has also announced a set of new devices under its own brand.
Vibe S1 is differentiated by the inclusion of dual front-facing cameras, which offer “a number of possibilities that can give selfies a creative twist”. A 8MP camera is augmented by a 2MP secondary unit, which enables the capture of depth-of-field information, with a number of editing tools available for image manipulation.
Vibe S1 has a 5-inch full-HD screen and 13MP main camera. It is powered by an octacore MediaTek processor, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (with microSD expansion slot). Available in blue or white, pricing is from $299.
Also unveiled were Vibe P1 and Vibe P1m, where the emphasis was on battery life. Vibe P1, the higher–spec of the two, has a 5000mAh battery and physical power-saver switch. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octacore processor.
Vibe P1m has a 4000mAh battery with quick-charge function. It is powered by a MediaTek quadcore processor.
Pricing starts at $279 for Vibe P1 and $159 for Vibe P1m.
Lenovo also updated its Yoga tablet line, with Yoga Tab 3 Pro and Yoga Tab 3.
Yoga Tab 3 Pro is the flagship device, and has been optimised for video. “When you investigate the behaviour of tablet users, you find that the most passionate activity they do as well as the most frequent, is watch videos,” Meredith said.
The 10.1-inch quad-HD screen device features a built-in 70-inch projector, and has four front-facing speakers. It comes preloaded with a Netflix app.
The new 8-inch and 10-inch Yoga Tab 3 models are also said to be “great for entertainment”, and feature a new rotating camera with gesture control.
Screens are full-HD resolution, and also on the spec-sheet is forward-facing dual speakers.
Yoga Tab 3 in 8-inch form cost $199 (Wi-Fi) or $249 (LTE); Yoga Tab 3 10-inch costs $299 or $349, with Yoga Tab 3 Pro at $549 or $599.