When we hear the word hybrid the first picture that comes to mind for most people is that of a car, truck or SUV – things like the Toyota Prius or the Honda Insight. But Lenovo, a technology company, has a different idea when it comes to hybrids.
Their IdeaPad U1 is the industry’s first hybrid notebook. No, it doesn’t run on gas, but rather it features 2 PCs in one device. For one, it functions as your typical clamshell notebook- almost reminiscent of the early Powerbook G3, but it features a detachable screen that has its own built-in processor allowing it to become a tablet when working solo.
Designed to be just as much of a fashion statement as a creative new device, it’s coated with a scarlet red exterior and has a footprint not quite that of a standard piece of letter sized paper. The screen is an 11.6″ HD LED display. It’s thin, sleek and weighs in at 3.8 pounds. When removed, the screen becomes a lightweight 1.6-pound tablet that runs on Lenovo’s (Linux -based) Skylight Operating System using an ARM processor. The main CPU however, will feature an Intel Core 2 Duo running Windows 7.
You can use the tablet in both landscape or portrait modes and users can customize the screen tablet interface to break viewing into 4 or 6 sections, allowing you to access various applications like calendar, email etc. totally independently. It also has the capability of sharing resources like the battery, 3G and data. In essence, according to Lenovo, the unit acts like a hub and a docking station with seamless integration. So if you are using the laptop to surf online you can detach the tablet portion and go - seamlessly without reboot, restart or refresh.
It’s quite an attractive unit and a nice piece of industrial design. In fact the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook was awarded CNET’s Best of CES 2010 in the “Computers and Hardware” category.
The U1 is not here yet. In fact we’re not sure when it will hit the Canadian market and at what price – but for now, expect to see it in the US at the beginning on June for $999 US.