Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga won raves as one of the best Windows 8 hybrids, so it's no surprise that other PC makers are feeling inspired to come up with Yoga-esque designs of their own.
Sony, for instance, has begun teasing a new Vaio laptop that it will announce next month at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The short teaser video shows a piece of paper folded to look like a laptop, then folded into a flat rectangle like a tablet, then folded into a clamshell again with the screen up front.
"It all begins with one line," the video's tagline says. This suggests that the device will have some kind of hinge that lets the device fold between tablet and laptop modes, much like the Yoga.
Sony's not the only company that's taken a liking to Lenovo's design. During the Computex trade show in June, Dell showed off a hybrid called the XPS 11, which also has a 360-degree hinge similar to the Yoga's. The main difference is that Dell is using a flat, pressure-sensitive pad in place of a mechanical keyboard, letting the device fold into tablet mode without having the keys stick out from the underside.
Lenovo's Yoga was successful because, first and foremost, it was a good laptop. It had a solid keyboard and trackpad, a crisp display with great viewing angles, and a thin and light design. It wasn't top-heavy like some detachable hybrids, and it was reasonably priced at $1000 and up for the 13-inch model. You could have used it purely as a laptop and been happy. (And given the half-baked state of Windows 8 and the lack of modern-style apps, sticking with the desktop was definitely a possibility.)
This laptop-first mentality still serves Windows 8 well. In terms of mobile apps, Windows 8 still doesn't compare to the iPad and low-cost Android tablets, which offer better app selections and lower prices. But it can still shine as a productivity OS with a bit of tablet usage on the side. That's exactly what devices like the Yoga are meant to accomplish.
IFA kicks off on September 5, so expect to hear more about future Windows 8 devices--including Sony's mystery Vaio--around then.
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