Artificial Intelligence

CES 2023: Lenovo’s opening a portal to the metaverse, no headset required

Close up of chemical microscope and medical research equipment in scientific laboratory. Liquid examination tool with glass lens and blood samples in vacutainers on professional desk

Nothing says CES quite like “finding ways to enter the metaverse without a VR headset.”

Everyone’s favorite annual tech conference is in full swing, and that means there are bizarre, futuristic devices aplenty to check out. Lenovo, in particular, revealed some products that will tickle your fancy if you like innovation for the sake of innovation. 

From a truly off-the-wall metaverse device to a dual-screen laptop and even a tablet that looks an awful lot like something Amazon would release, here are the coolest things Lenovo showed off at CES 2023.

Project Chronos

A one-way ticket to virtual town.
Credit: Lenovo

Let’s start with the most bizarre of Lenovo’s announcements: Project Chronos. The still-codenamed device sort of looks like a small projector, except it sits underneath a TV or monitor, and plugs in via HDMI. What it actually does is where things get a little kooky.

Sort of like the old Xbox Kinect camera, Project Chronos uses its camera to capture your body (allegedly down to even your facial expressions) and let you control a virtual avatar without the need for a virtual reality or augmented reality headset. Lenovo says this could be used to create VTuber avatars or even enable virtual fitness classes. 

Both those things already exist, mind you. But, hey, this could be a new way to do them. Unfortunately, Lenovo didn’t give us a release date, price, or even the real name of Project Chronos at CES.

Kindle Scribe Smart Paper

It’s kind of like that other thing!
Credit: Lenovo

Just last month, Amazon released the Kindle Scribe. It’s a very large e-reader with a tablet-sized display and a built-in stylus for note-taking and doodling. This next device from Lenovo is…kind of also that.

Called the Smart Paper, this device has a 10.3-inch E-ink display with a built-in, no-battery stylus. You can use said stylus to mark up blank note pages or make notes on documents you’re reading. It has more pen types than Kindle Scribe (ballpoint, calligraphy, etc.) and overall appears to be more advanced in the doodling arena.

Oh, and of course you can read e-books on it. If you want a Kindle Scribe but don’t want to support Amazon, you can get Lenovo Smart Paper for $400 sometime in 2023.

Yoga Book 9i

They should add a third screen next year.
Credit: Lenovo

At last, professionals who love using two monitors but can’t make it work on the go finally have an option from Lenovo. Meet the Yoga Book 9i.

Priced at a whopping $2,100 and launching in summer 2023, Yoga Book 9i is, in Lenovo’s words, the world’s first “full size dual screen OLED laptop.” Dig through the various qualifiers and tech buzzwords in there, and you’ll find a laptop that has two 13.3-inch screens stacked vertically with a hinge in the middle.

You can video call on one screen and play Solitaire in the other. You can attach or detach a Bluetooth keyboard, using it as either a laptop or a tablet. And most importantly, you can even prop it up with the two screens oriented vertically like a book, in case you’d ever need to do that for some reason. 

For real though, some of us feel naked without a second monitor. Simply pay Lenovo more than two Gs and you can fix that problem.

ThinkPhone, courtesy of Motorola

These two devices will be best friends going forward.
Credit: Lenovo/Motorola

Last but not least, Lenovo is making a phone! Sort of, anyway.

The new ThinkPhone doesn’t have a firm release date or price yet, and it’s actually made by Motorola, but business-minded Lenovo customers may want to give it a look when it launches this year. It’s an Android 13 handset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. It’s got a big 6.6-inch display with sub-6Ghz 5G connectivity and a sizable 5,000mAh battery, too.

But the specs don’t tell the full story.

ThinkPhone is designed to work with ThinkPad PCs. When you get the two devices together, they seamlessly connect, allowing you to copy text from one to another; use the phone as an internet hotspot; or even utilize the phone’s 32MP selfie camera as a webcam for video calls. Productivity-focused users can also drop files from one to the other and see the same set of notifications across both devices.

ThinkPhone may look like a normal Android phone, but really, it’s doing its own thing.

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