Lenovo has dumped its hard keyboard in favour of a versatile touch panel that turns into a smartphone-like virtual keyboard, a draw pad, or a digital notepad.
The new touch input panel has a back-lit virtual keyboard. Apparently this is Lenovo's ambitious attempt to break a decades old habit of using one-dimensional hard keyboards.
Its price will start at $499, and come with Windows or Android. Lenovo hasn't provided a shipment date for the device. However, more devices under the Yoga Book brand will follow, and the touch input panel will also go into an upcoming Chromebook.
The Yoga Book has a full HD 10.1-inch touchscreen and can be used as a laptop or tablet and the new input panel should not hurt Yoga Book's estimated 13 hours of battery life, either.The new input panel took two years to develop and test and will appeal to a young, mobile-first crowd used to virtual keyboards on mobile devices.
You can even place paper on the input panel to take notes, which will be entered into the device. Lenovo will include an ink pen that also serves as a stylus. This is expected to appeal to students who will want to write notes and draw with a stylus.
Lenovo has included some mobile typing features in Yoga Book. It will include autocorrect and predictive text, which speeds up typing with suggestions. Algorithms help the device pick up user typing trends. Of course this will not work for those who have to type a lot. Lenovo said that those imputing shedloads of data will not be able to use such a keyboard.
The Yoga Book will have 4GB memory, 64GB storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, and a microSD slot for expandable storage. It runs on an Intel Atom Cherry Trail processor.