Today has been a big day for Lenovo as it announced a new line of Android tablets as well as its decision to bring actor Ashton Kutcher on board, supposedly as a product engineer, but more understandably as a product pitchman. The new tablets will build upon the Lenovo Yoga, which was one of the first Windows 8 convertible laptops on the market.
Unlike the original Yoga, the new Yoga Tablets will work in three different positions and, of course, running on Android is quite a bit different than the original Yoga 11 and 13 that ran Windows. While it is unlikely that Lenovo hired Kutcher to actually engineer products, he will definitely bring some attention to the company. The gig began today, as he helped unveil the Yoga tablet.
Two versions of the Yoga tablet were announced, an 8-inch and an 11-inch, both of which come in under $300, which is very competitive considering how much the average Android tablet costs. Although the tablets are not particularly thin, Lenovo says that they can last up to 18 hours on a single charge, making the larger space worth it. Unlike the original Yoga devices that were criticized for only functioning well as laptops, the new Yoga devices clearly belong in the tablet category.
When the tablets were still in the rumor phase, reports suggested that a small kickstand would be included on the back of both the 8-inch and 11-inch versions. While most industry watchers thought the stand would not end up being part of the final design, it turned out that Lenovo did indeed follow through with it. Some still think the small kickstand is an odd choice from a design perspective since it may make the tablet more prone to tipping over.
PCs are incredibly important to Lenovo and make up the vast majority of its sales, so venturing into the tablet market while still keeping with a convertible design makes a lot of sense. Lenovo has been stepping up its innovative efforts for the past few years and it appears to have paid off, with Lenovo becoming a market leader in the convertible PC and tablet markets.
Why a technology company would announce hiring a movie star as a product engineer is up for debate, but that is what Lenovo has decided to do. That being said, Kutcher does have a background in the tech industry (mainly in the form of investments), and has carried that interest over into his main career by playing the role of Apple's legendary founder in the Steve Jobs movie.
"Lenovo makes really, really, really good hardware," stated Kutcher during a phone interview. "I hope to make their products as consumer friendly as possible."
Lenovo signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Kutcher but the financial details of that agreement were not disclosed. Based upon the information released by Lenovo today, Kutcher will act as an ambassador for the company, meeting with various engineering partners around the world.