Lenovo launched on Thursday a bunch of new hardware, including a smartwatch and a phone with unique features. The OEM from China held its first Tech World Conference in Beijing and debuted a smartwatch that features a secondary screen, as well as a smartphone with a virtual keyboard and a laser projector.
Lenovo’s new watch is “Magic View,” which looks like any round watch, except its most eye-catching feature of a solar-cell looking secondary screen under its face. In addition to the wearable’s standard screen that is easily viewable, it sports a second “private” screen which is visible if held close.
According to Android Central, this screen is a Virtual Interactive Display. It looks opaque from afar, but a closer look would reveal a full-sized image. Another oddity is that it runs a hybrid Android software, which is neither Android nor Android Wear.
Ubergizmo tried Magic View and confirmed that the seemingly 24-30” monitor works. It can be viewed at a really close distance, like eyelashes touching the watch and experience immersive viewing, just like looking at a monitor via a tiny hole. Aside from immersive viewing, Magic Watch has a motion sensor to allow 360 degree viewing, or viewing it at all axles, such as turning in any direction will have its content following. The second screen shows more details of the images than the regular screen.
Tech pundits expect Lenovo Magic View will face the challenge of battery life as most Android Watches had. While Android wearables barely stay alive for 24 hours, a second screen could be heavier on battery. Magic View users will perhaps need to have a battery pack everywhere they go. Another thing is, it needs some developers to become truly exciting.
Lenovo not only launched a smartwatch, but also a phone with unique features. The Chinese electronics titan likewise unveiled “Smart Cast,” a phone that sports a 34x26x5mm laser projector which can be used as its display and show a virtual keyboard. Aside from projecting photos and videos onto walls, the interactive display replicates the touch screen, computer keyboard as well as piano keys.
Smart Cast was demoed during the conference and it showed how it turned from a standard wall projector to “surface mode” to beam display on a table top, by twisting the lens’ mounting. While the virtual keyboard is used, the handset can stand with a kickstand mounted on its back.
Lenovo showed how to use Smart Cast projector in many ways, such as to play games. Lang Lang, Chinese concert pianist used the virtual keyboard to play “The Entertainer” during the Tech Conference.
Smart Cast does not pioneer phones with built-in projectors. Samsung introduced Galaxy Beam and Galaxy Beam 2 in 2012 and 2014, respectively, which did not deliver much impact on the tech market. However, Lenovo Smart Cast that is capable of beaming a virtual keyboard and a touchscreen onto a desk, plus a “surface mode” aside from the standard projector mode, are distinct features. It means, the beaming screen can be either Fruit Ninja or piano keys.
Pocket-lint gadget website reviews editor Mike Lowe tried Smart Cast smartphone and said the delay in using the virtual keyboard is far less than on other devices with the same input system. Nevertheless, he said the new smartphone has not convinced him that it will be a hit. Although it is “fun, but ultimately a gimmick,” he said. Lowe added that though Smart Cast grabs headlines, it is impractical, because it is not something anyone will really need.
Lenovo launches a smartwatch and a phone with unique features but for now, everything about Magic View and Smart Cast are now concepts, and they are still in the works by Lenovo. If both the smartwatch and smartphone with these unique features will come out to the market to be commercialized, it remains to be seen if they will be making a buzz in sales.
By Judith Aparri
Gizmodo: Lenovo’s Mulling a Bizarre Smartwatch With a Second Screen
BBC: Lenovo phone features virtual keyboard
Engadget: Lenovo’s projector phone beams a touchscreen onto any surface
Ubergizmo: We Tried The Lenovo Magic View (Two-Screens Smartwatch)
Photo courtesy of keso s’ Flicker Page – Creative Commons License