Home Home Tech Lenovo casts new Thinkpad, Storage and reaches into Cortana
Lenovo casts new Thinkpad, Storage and reaches into Cortana Featured

At its first major global conference, Tech World in Beijing, Lenovo has launched an impressive new Thinkpad, new consumer notebooks, a new collaboration with Microsoft and more!

Lenovo’s global Tech World conference is underway in China’s capital Beijing, with the keynote speech to be presented by some of the world’s most influential tech titans: CEOs of Lenovo (Yang Yuanqing), Microsoft (Satya Nadella), Intel (Brian Krzanich) and Chinese search behemoth, Baidu (Robin Le).

iTWire will have a separate article with video detailing what these gentlemen said and announced, for this article is about Lenovo’s technological announcements which were given to the media under embargo the evening before.

Cortana and REACHit

Let’s start with a major Lenovo and Microsoft collaboration - the augmentation of Cortana’s powers with Lenovo’s REACHit software.

Seemingly only available as an exclusive benefit to Lenovo’s users and customers, rather than the wider Microsoft user base, which clearly presents a unique selling point for Lenovo, the collaboration gives Cortana ‘a much larger inventory of information to search, opening up an entirely new level of contextual search’.

It is design to give ‘users the most comprehensive, seamless and natural way to find their personal digital content.’

As we know, Cortana is Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, which will be available across all Windows 10 devices - PCs, tablets and phones.

The integration of Lenovo’s REACHit reaches across the user’s personal cloud services and their connected Lenovo Windows 10 PCs and tablets to find the content.
Lenovo gives an example: ‘a user wants to find a photo hat she edited on her Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop last week. Now she can access it while she’s away from her laptop at the coffee shop by using her Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet. She no longer needs to go home and work on the laptop.’

And by using Cortana and REACHit, the explanation continues, ‘she doesn’t even have to remember the name of the photo file – just the location where she edited it, or the date or another piece of relevant information.’

For example, she could search by saying: “Cortana, find the picture I edited last week on my ThinkPad X1 Carbon.” Or “Cortana, find the picture I worked on at Starbucks last week.” 

Cortana and REACHit search her personal cloud accounts including services beyond Microsoft and Windows like Google Drive, DropBox and Box. Without REACHit, users can only look for files on their device they are currently using and OneDrive. REACHit makes Cortana even smarter. 

Microsoft’s VP of Worldwide OEM Marketing said: “It’s great to see Lenovo building on the Windows and Cortana platform to create a unique and valuable solution that will help our joint customers be more productive across their devices and services. Microsoft and Lenovo teams held creative design sessions, advanced hardware discussions, even late night coding marathons to deliver Cortana and REACHit.”

The service will start as a beta in the US and China before presumably moving elsewhere around the world, with customers in those countries able to visit the Cortana Reachit. site to register for beta access www.cortanareachit.com. The enhanced Cortana experience will be available to download in the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumn/Fall timeframe.

Lenovo’s new ThinkPad 10 tablet/ultrabook

Next is Lenovo’s new ThinkPad 10 tablet, which has both a slim snap-on keyboard that appears to be similar to that of the Microsoft Surface, as well as an ultrabook style keyboard, allowing users to enjoy tablet and ultrabook form factors as desired.

A new ’ThinkPad Pen Pro’ and WRITEit software promise a ‘richer and more accurate pen experience’.

Powered by an Intel Atom quad-core processor, rather than a Core M processor, it promises nearly 10 hours of battery life, has a Full HD 1920 x 1080 10-inch display, a 5 megapixel camera, has 3G/4G/LTE connectivity, optional fingerprint reader, and more.

It is clearly Lenovo’s answer to the Surface 3 and Pro 3 devices, as well as models from competitors, and the only real question for me is how powerful the Atom quad-core processor will be, although for everyday business tasks, the processor should theoretically be more than powerful enough.

That said, benchmarks and real world users and uses will give us all a definitive answer to this question in the not-too-distant future when this device is launched.

The ThinkPad 10 will start at US $549, a figure that will naturally be higher in Australia, and will have a wide range of accessories, docks, keyboard covers, adapters, 3M privacy screen protectors and more.

Lenovo’s new consumer range of laptops

Then we get to Lenovo’s new consumer laptops - the Z41, Z51 and Ideapad 100.

Both the Z41 and Z51 will have the option of Intel’s RealSense 3D camera, which delivers gesture motion control similar to the way the Kinect camera works on the Xbox games console.

The Lenovo Z41 is a 14-inch laptop while the Z51 is a 15-inch mode. They have Full HD displays, have the option of discrete AMD graphics and Dolby DS 1.0 Home Theatre surrsound sound. They both come with 802.11AC WI-Fi, come in up to Core i7 configurations with up to 1TB of storage.

Both models start at US $499, and with the optional Intel Realsense 3D camera will start at US $599 with Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM.

In Australia, there is no confirmed launch date or pricing for the Z41, but the Z51 starts from $699 RRP - which presumably means more for a RealSense enabled model locally. 

Then there’s the Ideapad 100 offering a Baytrail-M (Atom) N3450 processor, up to 500GB storage, integrated Intel graphics, 4 hours of battery life in 14-inch and 15-inch models. starting at US $249. In Australia this will be $399 RRP avaialble in during Q3 2015. 

Lenovo Cast - first media casting device

All of the above is also joined by the new Lenovo Cast device, letting you stream content and mirror the display of personal devices to big screen TVs via the HDMI port, with the DLNA and Miracast standards.

Billed as extremely easy to use and set up, its dual-frequency Wi-Fi ensured content can be streamed from up to 20 metres away. It will sell for US $49.

Lenovo SAN storage devices for SMBs

Lenovo announced two new SAN devices - the S2200 and S3200 storage arrays.

Each model is billed as giving businesses ‘simplified data management for a variety of applications, ranging from general purpose web serving and data management/analytics that require high IOPs, to video surveillance and streaming workloads that need high throughput.

These storage arrays offer dual and single controllers in 2U-12 and 24 drive configurations. The S2200 supports up to 96 drives and the S3200 supports up to 192 drives to easily support storage growth.

The S2200 and S3200 make connectivity simple. The S2200 and S3200 support Fibre Channel, iSCSI and SAS, with the S3200 supporting multi-protocol connectivity that can work with Fibre Channel and iSCSI at the same time. This combination of flexibility and scalability makes integration into nearly any environment easy.

Jay Parker, Senior VP of Lenovo’s Enterprise Business Group said: “Today we are introducing a new Standard for SAN. The new Lenovo S2200 and S3200 storage offerings highlight our extreme focus on affordable innovation. This further extends Lenovo’s ability to be your one-stop-shop from PCs to DCs.”

Both models will be available from June 2015 with at prices yet to be announced.

Moto Maker’s China Launch

Finally, Lenovo is debuting its customised Moto Maker service in China from today. Already on offer in the US, it allows customers to personalise their Moto X smartphones by colour, back colour, materials, accent colours, memory size and wallpapers.

The service is not yet available in Australia but those in China can visit Motorola China’s site for details

iTWire will have more on Lenovo’s Tech World Conference later today. More details will be available at Lenovo's website.

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is attending Lenovo Tech World in Beijing as a guest of Lenovo.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

 

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