Apple products have a tendency to be prophetic, and if the iPad Mini is any indication, the future of tablet computing is slimmer, smaller and lighter devices. So why would Lenovo be putting a tablet boasting a massive 27-inch screen that weighs nearly 18 pounds on display at the upcoming 2013 Consumer Electronics Show?
Because it’s not just for you to enjoy; it’s for you and a group of your friends.
The new Lenovo Horizon Table PC is a desktop-tablet hybrid that’s subverting the tablet norms in more ways than the obvious. Yes, its giant screen would make lugging it to the neighborhood coffee shop a bit ludicrous. And its estimated 2-hour battery life would render power outlets a near necessity if you do. (Good luck with that.) But the real game-changer here is in the screen technology.
Operating on Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS, the Horizon comes with Lenovo’s own multiuser interface called Aura, the first device of its kind that allows multiple people to swipe, pinch and flick the screen at once.
For this reason, the Horizon is being pushed not so much as a personal tablet/desktop computer–though it should be competent in that capacity, too–but more as a multiuser gaming center.
“Drop the screen down to its table-top-style flat mode,” reports CNET, “and Aura pops up automatically, presenting you with a relatively intuitive software control wheel from which you can launch various touch-supported applications.”
At the Horizon’s release in Las Vegas, many of the applications on display were reportedly game-focused. According to CNET, “Electronic Arts’ EA Sports sub-brand and Ubisoft have both committed to making Horizon-based games,” and the device comes loaded with a multiplayer boardgame, a first-person, multiplayer shooter game, various card and casino games, and, of course, air hockey.
Cooler still, the Horizon comes with some pretty slick hardware accessories as well, such as a par of air hockey paddles, a set of suction-cupped joysticks and a Wi-Fi enabled, rubberized die that transmits the number you’ve just rolled straight to the system.
The impetus behind all this is transforming your personal computing experience into a shared computing experience. Instead of playing Texas Hold ‘Em against a stranger, you can now play it against your friends while huddled around the Horizon’s glowing screen. Family game night could benefit as well, since kids are far more likely to be interested in a flat screen versus a worn version of Chutes and Ladders.
If all this isn’t exciting enough, there’s also a prototype for a coffee table designed specifically to incorporate the Horizon into its center, complete with a set of motorized sliding slats that would protect and cover the device when not in use. A separate set of motors could angle the screen toward you if you need to crank out a few emails before the cigars are lit and the cards dealt. No talk of if or when we’ll see this hit stores, but should it happen, you’ll likely be paying for the privilege.
The $999 Horizon price tag is modest. But like most tablets, the Horizon is a gadget that will likely supplement your main computing device rather than replacing it entirely, if for no other reason than you’ll have a hell of a time trying to carry it anywhere (it would need its own seat on the T), and there won’t be any space at Starbucks to set it up for the two hours its battery will last anyway.
Check out images of the Lenovo Horizon:
Images via CNET