LIVE FROM IFA2017, BERLIN: Lenovo announced a slew of products including a new smartphone and mixed reality headset, which David Roman, the company’s CMO, described as “some of our most exciting, most transformative products yet”.
“Our philosophy that different is better is not just for bragging rights, it’s not for claiming industry firsts. Difference for us is that relentless focus on innovation to create something truly special,” he said.
The company emphasised the photographic capabilities of Moto X4, the latest in its X line, which joins the ranks of dual camera smartphones. The device marries a 12MP main lens with an 8MP wide angle secondary lens with 120 degree field of view.
A number of features were demonstrated, including Landmark Detection, which asks users if they want more information when pointing the camera at a known site; and a “beta” feature enabling users to select a single colour to be shown in an otherwise black-and-white image.
It also offers a 16MP front camera with an adaptive low-light mode, and panoramic selfie feature to capture group shots.
Moto X4 joins the ranks of smartphones integrating Amazon’s Alexa, with the ability to work even when the device is locked.
Available in black or blue, the device has an anodised aluminium frame, Gorilla Glass protecting the front and rear from scratches, and is IP68 water and dust resistant.
Powered by an octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, Motorola is listing versions with 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. It features a 5.2-inch full HD display and 3000mAh battery with turbo charge feature.
At launch it runs Android 7.1 Nougat – no mention of an Android 8.0 Oreo update was made.
Moto X4 will be available in Europe this month, priced from €399. Other markets, including the US, will follow later in the year.
It was also announced Motorola’s recently announced Moto Z2 Force is set to come to a worldwide audience, with the 360 Camera Moto Mod also debuting in EMEA.
Lenovo was keen to stress the importance of its PC business, even as it ramps its activities in other markets.
“We are proud of our ability to continuously push boundaries, reinvent and reimagine the traditional category of PCs to give our consumers a better way to work, as well as play. The Lenovo consumer team will continue to focus on PCs, but we are also expanding beyond that. One of our principle objectives this year is to continue making our PCs great, industry leading, but also to give our consumers some of the very best experiences within all consumer technology,” Jeff Meredith, GM of Lenovo’s consumer and smart device unit, said.
The star of the computing show was Yoga 920, a two-in-one convertible which is also the first in the Yoga line to offer (optional) pen input. While Motorola is using Alexa in X4, Lenovo is (unsurprisingly) supporting Cortana in the Windows 10-powered computer, stating it features far-field technology which enables commands to be recognised from four metres away.
“It has all that you expect from a flagship product: near edgeless 4K display, 360-degree surround sound provided by Dolby Atmos, and up to 15.5 hours of battery life,” Meredith said.
Available from September, Yoga 920 pricing starts at €1,599.
Mixed reality headset
Headsets have been the order of the day for the key computing companies here at IFA: “We see a huge potential in both AR and VR, and our goal is to become a market leader in this space,” Meredith said.
“One of the key questions as an industry that we must ask ourselves is what would trigger an average person, a mainstream user, to put a headset on, keep it on for an extended period of time for computing? We think the key to this is to marry killer content with exceptional hardware,” he continued.
Lenovo touted its Explorer headset, which it said is “designed as a natural extension of your PC”, enabling users to view immersive entertainment content, play games, “and even get things done with Microsoft Office suite”.
As with the Asus device shown here earlier this week, Explorer features inside-out tracking, meaning there is no need for external sensors, and it can be set up “in minutes”. It is also compatible with “many affordable PCs”, which the vendor said makes it “the quintessential mixed reality offering for everyone”.
Pricing of the device with optional Bluetooth motion controllers starts at $449, with headset alone costing $349. Availability is slated for October, ahead of the Christmas holiday sales period.
Voice docking station
For its Tab 4 series, Lenovo is also introducing a Home Assistant Pack, which transforms the tablet into “a voice-activated smart assistant with a screen”.
Working with Amazon Alexa, the docking station adds two speakers and two built-in microphones with far-field detection. Attaching the tablet automatically switches it to the home assistant interface.
Pricing starts at $79.99, with availability from October.