Lenovo's Yoga bends over backward to please us

CES — One of the product concepts at this year's CES that bucks the trend of emulating Apple via thin laptops and thinner tablets is Lenovo's intriguing Yoga laptop prototype, which sort of bridges the gap between those two trends in novel fashion. The Yoga system adheres to Intel's ultrabook spec with a thickness of 17 mm, but it adds an intriguing twist in the form of a hinge that allows the display to swing back all the way and snap up against the underside of the chassis. In this posture, with the keyboard and touchpad presumably configured to ignore inputs, the Yoga becomes a touchscreen-enabled Windows 8 tablet.

What's more, the Yoga can adopt several other useful poses. In one, the keyboard swings back beneath the system, serving as a base for the display as it stands on a desktop. In another, the Yoga stands like a tent, with its display and keyboard forming an inverted "V" on a tabletop. Thanks to an apparent built-in accelerometer, the Yoga rotates the display orientation to fit each posture without user intervention.

This isn't just a nifty idea, either. The Yoga is an in-development system that looks very impressive in person, thanks to its bright and very pretty 13" display, based on an IPS panel with a resolution of 1600x900. It creates the impression of a power-user's tablet system, one that makes the ubiquitous iPads and wannabes look like toys by comparison. That impression should be backed up by the hardware involved, since the Yoga will be based on Intel's next-generation Core i3/i5 processors, also known as Ivy Bridge.

Since the Yoga is intended to run Windows 8, Lenovo says we can expect to see it hitting the market later this year, around the time Microsoft releases its new operating system.

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