Electronics giant Lenovo has plenty of innovation up its sleeve and the company is showing off at least some of it at Lenovo Tech World, its first-ever global technology event in Beijing. Lenovo revealed concept devices, like a smart watch (pictured), smartphone virtual keyboards and more at the show.
Also on hand were the CEOs of Intel, Microsoft and Baidu, who are partnering with Lenovo on some of its forward-thinking projects. In his keynote address, Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, outlined five developing themes in the tech sector Lenovo is exploring.
Those themes are: creating more natural ways to connect people with devices; building reliable, seamless and ubiquitous network connections; making devices interconnected for rich interactions; giving customers the power of big data and their own personal clouds; and leveraging smart connectivity to let customers pick the services they want and create their own unique experiences.
“We will deliver innovation like we showed here today to solve problems and address customer pain points,” Yuanqing said. “We will bring together hardware software and services to transform the user experience.”
Your Shoes Could Get Smarter
Lenovo is tackling a known challenge in the smart watch business: small displays that make it difficult to do more than get updates. Lenovo’s Magic View smart watch concept has two screens.
The second screen is essentially a virtual interactive display that overcomes the limitations of the primary screen by using optical reflection to offer an image 20 times larger than the watch face display. Practically speaking, that means you can follow a map, see photos or even watch a video.
Lenovo is also working to make smartphones more like PCs with its Smart Cast concept product. Smart Cast builds into the phone a laser projector, infrared motion detector and algorithms. That makes it possible to project a large virtual touchscreen onto a table to type with a virtual keyboard and take notes, use a calculator, draw or even edit Microsoft PowerPoint files. You could also watch videos, play games and make presentations.
Finally, the Smart Shoes concept turns heads with its Internet of Things play that ties the cloud to the hardware, software and apps. These special shoes display your mood on a small screen, and track and analyze fitness data such as heart beats and calories. These smart shoes even offer maps and directions.
Innovation for Innovation’s Sake?
We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his thoughts on Lenovo’s futuristic innovations. He told us he doesn’t understand why consumers wouldn’t just use their smartphones and he’s wondering how the Smart Shoe can really tell his mood.
“This makes no sense. We go small to go large? You still need to be attached to the regular smartphone to use the smart watch so why not just use the smartphone? Sometimes it seems like companies introduce innovation for innovation’s sake, regardless of purpose,” Entner said. “These are solutions that are looking for a problem.”
Lenovo is working with Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant on REACHit to extend Cortana’s capabilities to include non-Microsoft services. The company is working with Lenovo on WRITEit to tie together speech and writing technology to improve the Yoga Tablet experience. Lenovo has also partnered with Intel to offer RealSense Cameras as an optional feature on its devices, including laptops and all-in-ones. With Baidu, Lenovo is exploring the world of artificial intelligence with a translator tool.