Lenovo Tech World Keynote Shows Strong Mobile Strategy From Lenovo

At the keynote for Lenovo's Tech World event, the company demonstrated several new products in development, including three conceptualized mobile technologies for smartwatches, smartphones, and IoT.

Lenovo's smartwatch will use what Lenovo calls the "Magic View" smartwatch concept, with a real display on the watch face and a virtual display that is more than 20 times larger. The size of the display on smartwatches is one of the primary challenges that smartwatch makers have been trying to overcome. Those tiny screens are difficult to use for many tasks, and a display too large is bulky and troublesome.

By using a virtual display, Lenovo overcomes both problems. The watch does not project the display on a wall, and it's only visible to those looking into the display keeping content private. The actual virtual display is on the side of the watch, slightly on the band. It looks like a black rectangle in the picture featured above. A user places the smartwatch close to their eye or glasses, and then looks into this rectangle. When looking into the watch correctly, the virtual display looks to appear at the end of a tunnel.

Though it certainly doesn't appear to be a full 20-inch plus display, it does look like a display roughly the size you would expect on a tablet (i.e., around 8 inches in size). To make this smartwatch work, Lenovo is developing its own customized silicon chip to achieve the smallest components possible without losing any performance.

In addition to the smartwatch, Lenovo also introduced the Smart Cast concept for smartphones. This design concept is to implant laser projectors, infrared motion detectors, and high-performance algorithms into smartphones. These devices will allow the smartphone to be used for a large virtual touch screen interface. This tech enables smartphones to be used for greater productivity as well as entertainment. Similar to Lenovo's Yoga Tablet, the projector can project movies and videos or games on any wall or flat surface.

Lenovo demonstrated the infrared motion detector interface during the event by having a pianist, Lang Lang, come on stage to use the virtual keyboard broadcast by the phone on a table to play some music. Next, Lang Lang played a rendition of The Entertainer, with the sheet music displayed by the smartphone's projector, and using the virtual interface to turn pages of the sheet music without needing to touch the smartphone.

Lenovo also introduced new technologies called REACHit and SHAREit, which will span all Lenovo products, and WRITEit, which is limited to touch screen devices. REACHit keeps track of all of your user content across multiple third party services, and SHAREit is a new service allowing you to share content with other users. WRITEit is different, using handwriting recognition technology to input the writing as an image or text.

Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich appeared onstage to discuss the Intel RealSense technologies. A tablet was used to capture a 3D model and scanned Lenovo's Chairman and CEO, Yang Yuanqing (also known as YY). A quad-copter drone was then navigated on auto-pilot with RealSense to bring a glass with YY's 3D model etched on it.

Krzanich said that in Windows 10 there will be an application called Windows Hello that will take advantage of RealSense's facial recognition software to lock and unlock the system. Lenovo plans to take advantage of the RealSense technologies and is working to build RealSense cameras into all of its laptops, 2-in-ones, All-in-ones, and convertible products. Currently, Lenovo is the number one integrator of Real Sense technologies.

Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, also made an appearance to discuss the Microsoft Hololens, Windows 10, and Cortana. The REACHit techology that Lenovo invented to track content can be utilized with Cortana to create an advanced search feature.

The last concept technology Lenovo is working on is the Smart Shoes concept. Smart Shoes have a display built into the side that can be used for displaying various images or information. The Smart Shoes connect to Lenovo's open IoT cloud service. Smart Shoes can display a person's mood, track and analyze fitness data, and support additional apps that can be created using an SDK. The shoes can detect the speed a person is walking, when a person turns, and it offers GPS features.

Lenovo plans to begin ramping up its development of IoT technologies and products, not only with services Lenovo offers itself, but in the development of highly customized systems that can support the IoT services of client companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.

Lenovo currently is the number one PC seller in the world, and although today there was not much PC news from Lenovo, this keynote demonstrated Lenovo's dedication towards growing in the mobile space. Lenovo currently does not sell phones in North America, but it has a strong position in Asia and have been growing in Europe.

Last year, Lenovo purchased Motorola, which has been a prominent cell phone and smartphone maker since the market for these devices began. Adding all of these new products and technologies shows that the company is strongly committed to growing its mobile market share and expanding its mobile products and services.

Follow Michael Justin Allen Sexton @LordLao74. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • Pimpin Lincoln
    I've been watching Lenovo recently, and they seem like they really want to change things up in the game, from the new laptops just released recently to all this future tech that their working on, I'm interested in seeing how things play out with the products like pricing and how they actually work. If I find some reviews of their i5 and i7 laptops I may pick one up. They are priced perfectly for a student that wants an i7.
  • tommychan
    When I just first read "smart shoes", what come up in my mind immediately was a pair of realSense camera attached to each shoe. pervert.