Imagine a smartphone that can beam a keyboard or allow you to take your gaming experience from your 5-inch screen to your entire dining table. Smart Cast is still in ‘prototype’ stage but this device was one of the show stealers at Lenovo’s ‘Innovation Never Stands Still’ event in Delhi. Lenovo’s Chairman and Global CEO Yang Yuanqing was among a long list of global heads from the Lenovo and Moto teams that descended upon India reflecting the country’s growing influence in the global smartphone sweepstakes.
A virtual keyboard is not entirely a new idea, Infrared (beam) keyboards were a thing even before the smartphone revolution. However Smart Cast’s big coup is offering multiple possibilities with a single beam and all the functionality of a regular sized Android smartphone. The keyboard might not be as responsive as your ‘go to’ laptop keyboard but it is surprisingly effective. I tried my hand at Fruit Ninja and managed to slice up quite a few fruits from the comfort of the demo table. The possibilities for education and productivity Apps are quite phenomenal. Battery life could be the biggest challenge for theSmart Cast and that’s a question Lenovo preferred to leave for the post ‘prototype’ phase when the product could go mainstream. The other potential hurdle could be cost that could leave this product with a ‘Coming Soon’ status for a while.
The Moto product development team offered insights into the brand’s thinking process that has seen it make a glorious comeback first after the Google takeover and now as part of a formidable twin brand strategy along with Lenovo. Numbers that have taken the brand back to the heady days of the Moto Razr in 2004 (The Moto Razr with it’s then unique Aluminium form factor sold 130 million units). The brand’s much hyped Aura with a circular display (that debuted in 2008) was an epic disaster but ended up being the inspiration for the Moto 360 smartwatch many years later. While Lenovo’s user interface tends to be heavily ‘skinned’ Moto prefers to stay an optimised version of pure play Android retiring features when Android or Google is superior.
Lenovo showed off its Yoga Tablet Pro 2 with an integrated projector and brilliant JBL sound box that will hit Indian stores in the next couple of weeks. Media consumption is clearly the biggest consumer driver for tablets and this tablet seems to have hit the right notes. Lenovo also offered a sneak peek of the upcoming Vibe S1, a smartphone clearly aimed at selfie addicts. The S1 will ride on a unique twin front camera strategy that combines an 8MP shooter with a 2MP cam. The result – a device that allows you to shoot selfies with depth of field or zoom blur modes. There’s also a clever crop feature that can cut you out of the picture and super impose it on any background you choose. So whether you want to add yourself into a family picture for a holiday you couldn’t make or pose with Egypt’s pyramids in the background, you’re sorted! The Vibe S1 will debut early next week in India; while Lenovo was tight lipped about the price tag it, it is likely to be in Rs 15,000 – 20,000 price band.