Deservedly, there’s been a good bit of media surrounding Lenovo’s announcement of the Yoga Book, a product that has been 3 years in the making according to Jeff Meredith. He just so happens to be the GM & VP of Lenovo’s Android Chrome Computing Business Group. A crazy-long title, sure, but one that holds some clout in a very interesting way. This guy is clearly in a leadership position of the group responsible for the Yoga Book and can speak clearly to where this line of notebooks is going.
It seems that multiple devices touting the Yoga Book brand will follow this initial release, and the touch input panel will also go into an upcoming Chromebook.
You’ll probably see products in both the Android and Windows systems. Most likely you’ll see a product in the Chrome ecosystem.
— Jeff Meredith
Just as there are many devices that hold the Yoga or Thinkpad name, it seems that Lenovo is ready to release multiple devices that utilize the unique touch input panel, 360-degree hinge, convertible form-factor.
For those who are wondering what exactly this new device is, I’ll keep it short. The Lenovo Yoga Book is a 10.1″ tablet/convertible that eschews a traditional keyboard in favor of a Wacom touch panel. On this panel, with the touch of a button, a keyboard layout is illuminated. With another touch, it is transformed simply into a Wacom drawing surface. The stylus has a real ink attachment as well that can be used to write on any paper on top of the touch panel. While writing on the paper over the panel, it can pick up every small movement and transcribe your scribbles in real time.
With the flat surface, the tablet mode is much more comfortable, too. No keys or trackpad on the back when you want the display fully open.
There’s a Windows 10 and Android version right now, but as mentioned above, it seems more forms of this type of device are coming.
It’s sort of brilliant, honestly. Here’s a great video from The Verge explaining what’s all going on here.
Could ‘Kevin’ Be a Yoga Book?
There have been some comments that the Chrome OS version of the Yoga Book could be the mysterious Chromebook ‘Kevin.’ We really don’t know, but there are some interesting similarities. The Wacom Stylus support, 4GB of RAM and 360-degree hinge are the clear links to ‘Kevin,’ but there are some issues with this theory, too.
First, both Yoga Books are Full HD, 16:10, 10.1″ screens. Kevin is clearly going to be a 12.3″ screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio at 2400×1600 resolution. The display, as we’ve noted before, is a very, very high quality panel with great contrast, brightness, and pixel density.
For Lenovo to release a Chromebook with a screen as good as what ‘Kevin’ is slated to have alongside a Windows 10 device with a far inferior screen would be the opposite of what OEM’s have always done with Chromebooks. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, just unlikely. Most time OEMs save their premium stuff for Windows, unfortunately. Again, Lenove could buck the system here, but I’m not holding my breath.
Second is the internals. The Yoga Book contains Intel Atom processors. Kevin is going to have the new Rockchip RK3399. Intel vs. ARM. Not as big of a deal, but ‘Kevin’ would require a different board entirely than these existing Yoga Books, and that means some real work internally. We are moving past the days of Chromebooks simply being recycled Windows devices, but apart from the Pixel and HP Chromebook 13, there aren’t too many examples of OEMs going out of their way to do something special for a Chromebook.
Third is the clear reference to ‘Kevin’ having a switch for stowing the stylus. This is yet another significant change to the existing Yogo Book layout and would require another specialized engineering move to make this happen on a Chromebook.
Lastly, the physical size and layout of ‘Kevin’ is extremely different from the current Yoga Book. Different screen aspect ratio. Different screen size. Much different overall device size. Again, it’s not impossible, but if there isn’t a similar Windows model with a 12.3″, QHD, 3:2 screen, I can’t imagine Lenovo making something completely unique for Chrome OS.
I could be wrong, and I don’t like being cynical, but I for one am not holding on to this upcoming device being ‘Kevin.’ I’d love for this to get us closer to solving the ‘Kevin’ mystery, but I’m not sold yet.
Either way, whatever Lenovo comes out with, even if it is this exact device running Chrome OS, I’m pretty excited to see it in the flesh! Exciting times, folks!