Lenovo’s Yogabook could be the Perfect Design for Future Tablets and Smartphones

Over the Christmas holidays, I began testing a new product from Lenovo call the Yoga Book. I tested both the Android and Windows OS version and, while testing these two-sided tablets, I began to realize this design is probably one of the most innovative mobile products I have seen in the past 5 years.

Here are some pictures of the Lenovo YogaBook:


As you can see, both sides of this tablet have a screen. One side is the video display while the other is a glass screen used as a virtual keyboard and writing surface. It is remarkably slim and uses “watch band” hinges to tie these two screens together. It is also very light and very versatile.

I am not sure if you know this but the original iPhone design came out of an actual tablet project Apple did about three years after the iPod was released. When the engineers showed Jobs this prototype tablet, he asked if it could be done with a smaller screen and in some type of smartphone form factor. Thus, the iPhone was born.

As I used the Lenovo Yoga Book, I began wondering the same thing Steve Jobs did when he was shown the original tablet design. The Yoga Book has a great display and the second screen adds a lot of extra user interface touches that make it more versatile. Although I am still not proficient using the virtual keyboard, I have become appreciative of the role of the second glass display. Now, imagine if that design was shrunk to the size of perhaps a 5.5-inch smartphone and it actually had three screens on it.

In folded mode, it would look and act like a normal smartphone. But, when you open it up, it has two other displays that, when laid out, doubles the surface area of thr smartphone and turns it into a 8 or 9-inch tablet.

This would take serious engineering chops to create but it could be the kind of design that delivers the next big thing and drive mobility to a new level.

Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks this is an interesting idea. Recently, Microsoft filed a patent for a foldable smartphone that, although it looks like it only has two screens, they clearly have the idea of a folding smartphone in mind.

Samsung has a similar concept in a smartphone called the Galaxy X. It has what appears to be three screens and is foldable. Some reports say this model could be on the market by the end of 2017.

What appeals to me the most about this design concept is that a smartphone could actually double as a tablet. Today, I take with me both an iPhone and an iPad as each is used for different functions. The good news is the OS is the same across both and, with Apple’s Continuity in place, working with and between both form factors allows me to have more versatility in the way I work and play.

While this concept is highly speculative on my part, I am convinced that, if it could be thin enough to be a solid smartphone and, when unfolded, it could be a great tablet too, it could become the design that delivers the innovation the market needs to explode again and drive all types of new use cases.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

7 thoughts on “Lenovo’s Yogabook could be the Perfect Design for Future Tablets and Smartphones”

  1. Handwriting is a big deal! A big deal that was pompously held back by Jobs as only his self serving manner could have. How long did it take before the iPad got a stylus? Heck, how long before the iPhone could pair with a Bluetooth keyboard?

    The only reason I bought my first (and still only) iPads was because of the handwriting ability of the iPad Pro . The stylus (I refuse to call it a pencil) has very many shortcomings in it’s form, but it writes extremely well.

    Now, stuff like this intrigues me. Going to check it out.
    Yes, I’m a performance snob, but this would potentially be replacing a tablet and/or Surface. Appreciate the tip.

    1. I got the original Galaxy Notes way back in… 2010 I think (and still got them and use them ^^), both the phone and the tablet. I ended up barely using the pen. It worked fine, but it requires 2 hands + eyes and semi-careful handling/positioning of the devices, so in the end it’s not worth the bother for short text entry compared to one-handed any-position touch-screen typing, and still vastly inferior to a hardware keyboard for longer work. Nowadays, with voice recognition in the picture on top of that…

      Plus having to use a pen is a bother, you’ve got to take it out, put it away, not lose it… Finger-writing is more painless (there’s an app for that).

      I’m sure there are pertinent use cases. Since I’m not a touch typist I did find it less disruptive for taking live notes (on the tablet, on the phone the lack of room forces you to write one word at a time, which is a pain). And it’s silent. Plus all the non-typing stuff: drawing, highlighting…

      1. If you need to keep handwritten notes, which includes diagrams and annotations, or (gasp) equations, good handwriting on a device is the way to go. Also, if you need to sign a document. also the way to go.

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