Leonovo's press conference at CES '10 was an odd mashup of Far East engineering and Near West infomercial-style presentation. A fellow blogger who shall remain nameless just referred to Lenovo's presenter as, "The Shamwow Guy." Yup - it's that cheesy.
The products Lenovo launched today look better than the event itself did, though I'm scratching by head a little over the name of the company's new smartphone: "LePhone." Yeah, it's pronounced just like you'd think, "Le Phone." Yikes.
LePhone is being targeted at the budding Chinese market, but it also represents a step towards Lenovo entering the global market as well. It also, frankly, looks like an odd mash-up/ripoff of both Android and iPhone OS. Check out this slide from the presentation - if this doesn't scream "iTunes App Store," I don't know what does.
The phone itself is a touchscreen candybar device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Lephone runs a proprietary build of Google's Android OS that seems possibly derived from the Android-based oPhone. Lenovo also indicated that they seem willing to tweak and tailor the OS and user experience to the needs of various carriers as they pick the device up. What I saw of the UI is based around social networking, threaded conversations, people-centric views of data, widgets, and cloud services.
Despite a name that's either bad or maybe just translates poorly to English, Lephone itself is slick. I got to play with one for a few moments, and the UI is colorful, fun, and very responsive. The hardware is kind of like a rounded off iPhone with a larger display and colored plastic accents to go with all of that black and chrome.
Lenovo also launched the Skylight "Smartbook" and the IdeaPad U1 "Hybrid Netbook." Both are 3G-capable mobile computers, the former notable for it's ultra small, curvy design and the latter for its dual-purpose form factor. The U1 functions both as a Windows 7-powered netbook and, after you snap the display out of the clamshell body, a Linux-based tablet with a multitouch display.