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Lenovo's 'Yoga Book' Laptop Is So Thin It Needs A Touchscreen Keyboard (gizmodo.com) 115

An anonymous reader writes: At IFA in Berlin, Lenovo announced the Yoga Book, a laptop that measures in at just 0.38-inches thick, making it the thinnest laptop currently available. In order for it to retain such a slim profile, the keyboard needed to be redesigned. The Yoga Book features what is called the Halo Keyboard, a touchscreen keyboard that is separated from the display and doubles as a drawing tablet. Gizmodo reports: "Officially it's called the Halo Keyboard, and if you've ever tried to quickly type on a tablet's software keyboard than you'll be familiar with the experience. Only it's a little nicer because the keyboard is separated from the display, so it doesn't suck up screen real estate, and it has a pleasantly rough texture. It's also got haptic feedback, which in the case of a touchscreen keyboard is sort of like sticking lipstick on the pig. A press of a button turns the keys off and turns the keyboard into a drawing tablet. From there, it behaves a lot like a Wacom tablet, directly reporting pen input into your chosen app. It even reads pen inputs through paper laid over the input panel." Some other specs of this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet include an Intel Atom processor, 64GB of onboard storage with support for a microSD card, 13 hours of battery life, 4G LTE, 802.11 AC Wi-Fi, front and rear cameras, and a 10.1-inch, 1080p display.
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Lenovo's 'Yoga Book' Laptop Is So Thin It Needs A Touchscreen Keyboard

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  • 10mm (Score:4, Interesting)

    by I4ko ( 695382 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @05:57PM (#52805363)
    So it is 10mm thick (or rather 9.6). It is not remarkable. I have a Dell that isn't much thicker at 13mm. I also have a tablet with removable keyboard (A laptop) that comes at less than that. Also Atom - Intel's garbage.. Not interested. Give me a Haswell/Broadwell/Skylake any day (XXXXU processors), but the Atom/Braswell/Bay trail/Cherry Trail are the utter crap
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So it is 10mm thick (or rather 9.6). It is not remarkable. I have a Dell that isn't much thicker at 13mm.

      Your Dell is a whopping 30% thicker.

      Practically speaking 10mm is not much thinner than 13mm. But then it is not much thinner than 20mm or 30mm.

      • by I4ko ( 695382 )
        Correct. My tablet with the keyboard (Surface RT with the touch keyboard) on the other hand is also a hair thicker than 10mm, impossible to say how much without using calipers, that is why I am saying it is already invented. It is likely 10.3 or 10.45. Compare that to 9.65 - it falls within the error margin of a human cognition at distance.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Why even do a tablet with a keyboard, that's nuts. Want a tablet with a keyboard, buy a bigger thicker notepad, get a hard disk drive, get an optical drive, get keyboard that is far more usable and get a removable bigger, much bigger battery. So is a 25mm thick notebook more or less usable that even A 5mm thick notebook. Thinner means weaker side and bracing walls and physically failing hardware, thin is a trap when it defeats usability. Want a touch screen keyboard that preserves screen real estate of your

          • by maorb ( 2578043 )

            If someone was looking at a tablet with a keyboard then the small size was probably a selling point. So don't go recommending anything with a footprint large enough to fit an optical drive and a large battery in it as a viable alternative.

            I fully agree with you on the merits on thinness though.

    • Skylake would not reach the price point for a 'tablet'.

      this Atom: $27.
      Core m5: $281

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      Don't dis the Atom processors. I think you must have tried some extraordinarily badly configured Windows system ...
      I now have three Atom-based computer and are all fine.
      They are perfectly fine for office/productivity tasks and for web and email, even for light software development: The things that most people would use a laptop for.

      Just give the laptop a proper battery and a decent keyboard and mouse and it could be very useful device ...

      • by I4ko ( 695382 )
        They are definitely woefully inadequate to run today's web's javascript if you have more than one page open.
  • No thank you! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @06:04PM (#52805399)

    what is this obsession with making things thin, the space it saves is almost irrelevant and tactile feed back is a wonderful thing.

    • what is this obsession with making things thin, the space it saves is almost irrelevant and tactile feed back is a wonderful thing.

      There are plenty of thicker laptops available, and at lower prices to boot. So if you don't care about thinness, then don't pay a premium to buy it. Problem solved.

      • wrong answer, this article isn't about a laptop, it's just another tablet

        the thinnest laptop is still whatever existed before this thing was made

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Just like there are plenty of 4:3 laptops and monitors available, smartphones with physical keyboard, ultrabooks with 6 USB ports, etc.

        The OP has a point -- it's not that you can't avoid whatever the current dumb technology design trend is, but chances are your alternatives will be extremely limited because somehow these trends take on a life of their own and before you know it 95% of the market is following the rest of the lemmings right off the cliff.

        My guess is these touch keyboard things won't gain any

        • I can easily foresee this changing. Microsoft initially released two keyboards for their take on this idea, the Surface. One keyboard was entirely touch and pressure sensitive, and I despised it. I wound up buying a Surface Pro 2 for university at the time and got the type cover with it - it keeps all of that uniform thinness that the touch cover boasts, but provides actual tactile feedback as it has actual keys. Not great keys, mind you, but certainly better than nothing. I imagine Lenovo will cover their
          • by swb ( 14022 )

            When I was thinking about this, I kind of wondered if they could come up with some kind of "inflatable" keyboard -- some kind of thin membrane that could be magnetically shaped into keys when in use but otherwise be flat when folded up. The magnetic resistance could provide the tactile feedback and key travel. Bonus points if it was possible to shape the keys into arbitrary layouts, although I suspect the membrane would need predefined key shapes. I don't know if anything like this is even possible.

            I ha

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      what is this obsession with making things thin, the space it saves is almost irrelevant and tactile feed back is a wonderful thing.

      Smaller battery.
      Weaker processor.
      Weaker graphics.
      Cheaper keyboards.
      Cheaper shipping.

      = Money?

      • Smaller battery. Weaker processor. Weaker graphics. Cheaper keyboards. Cheaper shipping.

        = Money?

        Assuming anyone buys one. That would not be me.

      • by afeeney ( 719690 )
        So PHB has the obviously best laptop in the room!
    • Re:No thank you! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Thursday September 01, 2016 @04:22AM (#52806909) Homepage

      what is this obsession with making things thin, the space it saves is almost irrelevant and tactile feed back is a wonderful thing.

      No idea, and the company themselves don't really push that it's just a factor of what they're building - ie if they put a real keyboard in it it couldn't be a drawing-tablet with a pen also. It's an obsession of the article headline writer. Something far more interesting I think about it is that you can put paper over it and write on that, with the pen input also copied digitally.

    • Could be interesting, as well as sketching on paper/screen with the same pen, I'd at least like to try one out

    • Because it sells and it looks fancy. Does it require another reason or something? If you dont want it, good for you, you are not in their target market.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      The slimmer the device gets, the thicker the protective cover becomes.
      Unless these devices are designed to bend and dent, going more thin just makes them more fragile.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @06:27PM (#52805481)

    Given the description, I found it rather surprising the linked Lenovo news page didn't include an actual photo anywhere.

    Or perhaps the thing is so thin I simply couldn't see it?

  • does it run Linux? i know one will run android, but android is a little too googly for me sometimes, i would like to slap a Linux distro on it, and i would only buy it if it is testing Linux compatible, i would hate to be in the middle of an install and find the keyboard does not work in Linux, and then be stuck with a nice looking brick that is no more useful than a door stop,
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @06:35PM (#52805513) Homepage Journal

    Will it teach me how to bend over and blow myself?

  • by hackel ( 10452 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @06:47PM (#52805603) Journal

    The most interesting thing about this is:
    "Touch-typists used the Moving Virtual Layout (MVL), which adapted to fit the user’s natural style, learning where the user intended to strike the keys through experience. On a mechanical keyboard, the user could dynamically adjust the position of their fingers onto the keys, helped by the shape of the keys and gaps in between. To overcome this problem on a touch keyboard, the halo keyboard used artificial learning to correct repeated mistakes or mistyping, learning the difference between common errors, like when a user hits the Alt key but intended to hit the spacebar instead."

    • by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @08:39PM (#52806013)

      Cool. Can it simulate nubs on the F and J keys? If it can't then your hands can't find their way back to where they need to be and, your ability to touch type is now lost. I agree that the artificial learning part is pretty cool but, cool doesn't trump useful.

      I understand that this laptop isn't meant for power users but, frankly, widescreen laptops weren't meant for power users either. How many power users are still using a laptop with a 4:3 aspect ratio? How vehemently did they object (Hint: A LOT)? I'd be happy to let this slide as a toy that no one will use for real work but, when I see a modern day ThinkPad, I'm inclined to believe that the Yoga series is a staging ground for things to come.

      DO NOT WANT.

      • by hackel ( 10452 )

        I do consider myself a "power user," but have never thought much about wide-screen vs 4:3. What's the deal with that? I really like being able to have two applications (typically a browser and editor) side-by-side.

        The nubs on the glass as mentioned by the AC below might really help, but I'm also sceptical that I would actually be able to type as well on such a screen. I assume I'd get used to it, just as I have with a phone, I just honestly don't know until I've tried it for a while.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Do you have to hover your hands over the keyboard, or is it smart enough to let you rest your fingers on the home row while typing? That's the dealbreaker for most tablet keyboards that want to pretend to be touch typist friendly. If not, you're a hunt and peck machine.
    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      A touch-tablet keyboard that moves the "keys", adjusting to where the user's previous strokes have been.
      That sounds like one of the features of FingerWorks [wikipedia.org] TouchStream touch-keyboard and I think they had a patent on this.
      They stopped making products in 2005. FingerWorks together with its patents was then acquired by Apple.
      I think Lenovo must have someone bought or licensed that patent, or they are about to meet with Apple's lawyers ...

  • I long for the day when all my devices are so thin that they cannot support *any* input devices. Think how glorious it will be when you are holding a supercomputer that is only a few microns thick! It will be so thin that it's practically two dimensional!

    Input devices are overrated.

    • I long for the day when all my devices are so thin that they cannot support *any* input devices. Think how glorious it will be when you are holding a supercomputer that is only a few microns thick! It will be so thin that it's practically two dimensional!

      Input devices are overrated.

      Definitely. You will be able to hold it and simply wish at it, and it will do what you want. Glorious! The only reason it needs to be a few microns thick is to be sure the Apple logo is visible.

      And we'll finally find out the real truth about whether or not guys think about sex every 8 seconds.

    • Wont be long. Brain interfaces are coming soon. Your device will probably be like a (thinner) coke can though (and not thin like a tablet), you will just have it your pocket and communicate with it by thinking.

      • Uh huh, you go right on believing that. The day that computers are able to directly interface with my brain is the day that I finally don my tinfoil hat.

  • But, why? Why does anyone want such a thin laptop, other than for boasting to own the thinnest laptop in the world?
    • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somenickname ( 1270442 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2016 @11:36PM (#52806457)

      That's the primary motivation. In fact, fashion is the primary motivation behind most hardware design decisions now. If you want a high end ultra-portable laptop, you now have to buy a fashion statement. Nobody makes a functional high end ultra-portable anymore.

      I've tried to replace my ThinkPad X220 on several occasions now (always lured by the fancy new screen resolutions) and every time I've sent the "upgrade" back for a refund because it's unusable in a real work environment. Pretty? Sure. Suitable for writing software? Fuck. No.

      Fuck thickness. Power users want a real (NOT chicklet) keyboard, a ThinkPad nub, a high resolution matte screen. Screws on the bottom of the laptop to indicate where to upgrade the RAM and disk. More screws on the bottom to indicate where to replace the keyboard when you wear it out. Make it thick enough that you can decorate the edges with a vast array of full sized ports. Make the battery removable so you can travel with a bunch of them (bonus points for having an onboard 5 minute battery to allow hot swapping). If you include a trackpad at all, don't be a fucking idiot and make it overlap the natural points where your palms rest. Put a nice CPU in it with good, active cooling. Make it weigh 2-3 pounds.

      Or, I dunno... Just make it fucking thinner, I guess.

      • Amazingly, Apple have managed to fail on almost every single one of those bullets in a product they have the stomach to call "Pro". The only thing they have done right - and better than the competition - is the wonderful force touch trackpad. Also, the CPU is ok and the nub is no loss.
      • I know your problem, I've had a Lenovo X230t.

        I now bought an Alienware 13. It has almost everything you want, except a removable battery.

      • X250 (and x260) has got:
        1: Chiclet keyboard (you get used to them after a while and they are not THAT horrible).
        2: Thinkpad nub.
        3: High resolution matte screen.
        4: Easy to open bottom, haven't tried replacing/upgrading yet.
        5: Decent port selection (2 usb, ethernet, displayport, vga, card reader).
        6: One external, one internal battery, and, yes, hot swap is possible.
        7: I shut off the trackpad, so I don't know if it would be annoying otherwise.
        8: Weight is 2.88 pounds for standard model.

        So, well, most of your p

      • I just hope that they put the Thinkpad retro into production. It's kind of looking doubtful, but there is a rumor is that it will show up in 2017 to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of the Thinkpad.

  • No thank you (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday September 01, 2016 @12:23AM (#52806533) Journal

    THe MS Surface is still the thinnest and Lenovo comes with malware like spearfish by default .... oh and the spyware is installed as drivers which means even if you do a fresh install Windows Store will automatically install the crapware again making it perpetual and impossible to remove!

    Fuck em. I will never buy a product from such a company.

    • by Misagon ( 1135 )

      Spearfish? Didn't you mean "Superfish"?
      From what I have been able to find out, Lenovo stopped installing Superfish in new machines back in early 2015.
      Is this a new malware?

  • by BrendaEM ( 871664 ) on Thursday September 01, 2016 @12:48AM (#52806571) Homepage

    Good, the marketing people are happy. If you would kindly make useful notebook computers for the rest of us, that'd be swell.

    • Don't hold your breath. I'm pretty sure Lenovo fired everyone who understood the term "useful" a few years ago. Now it's all about who can out-gimmick Apple.

  • Does it have 2 screens, or is the keyboard just a large touch-pad with light-up etchings of a static keyboard?

  • Lenovo is shooting itself in the foot if it produces the "world's thinnest laptop" if it ships with the world's most useless keyboard. Touch typing on a flat bit of glass / plastic will suck big time regardless of whether they draw little boxes around where the "keys" are.
  • "Lenovo's 'Yoga Book' Laptop Is So Fragile It Needs A Crazy Person to Buy It"
    Am I the only one that doesn't care if my laptop weighs 5 pounds instead of 4?

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