Lenovo managed to grad plenty of headlines and column inches with its IFA star product, the Yoga Book, a device that can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be a tablet or a laptop. And not just because it’s available in either Android or Windows 10 flavours.
The Yoga Book eschews the traditional keyboard for a flat, touch sensitive surface and a stylus and whilst it can create a soft keyboard on that surface it’s still a big step away from what has become the hybrid norm.
It’s a wild idea that some are comparing to Microsoft’s Courier – but whilst that device was innovative in the way it proposed a touch and stylus future, the Yoga Book seems to me to be struggling to justify its own existence.
It doesn’t feel likely that many buyers will be tempted by the chance to put a piece of paper on the ‘keyboard’ and write on it to have the text appear on screen as well. Especially as so many hybrids already do onscreen inking so well.
On the other hand I can see users being put off the device by the absence of a real keyboard. Typing on a flat surface is passable in short bursts, but as the sole input in a device that seeks to compete with laptops it’s a losing proposition.
However there will be a niche of users for whom the Yoga Book is the answer to their prayers and they will lap it up, given there are no other players in the game. I can’t help wondering if there will be enough of these to render the manufacturing process worthwhile, or to help Lenovo turn a profit.
Given the choice I’ll take a Microsoft Surface every day.