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Lenovo Unveils Smart Watch, Smartphone Concepts

Beijing – New product concepts demonstrated here by Lenovo at its first global technology event include a two-screen smart watch and a smartphone that projects a virtual touchscreen onto a table.

One new product out of the concept stage is an enhancement to Microsoft’s voice-controlled Cortana virtual assistant. It will extend Cortana’s search capabilities to non-Microsoft services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive, and to remote PCs and tablets. It will be available in beta as soon as Windows 10 is released.

With its Magic View smart watch concept, Lenovo said it wants to make a wrist-worn wearable more usable by adding a second screen to remove the size limitations of the main screen. The second screen uses optical reflection to create a virtual image, enabling users to see a virtual display more than 20 times larger than the watch face display, the company said. Users would be able to follow a map, view photos or even watch a video, the company contended.

To make smartphones more usable, the company demonstrated Smart Cast, a technology that builds a laser projector and infrared motion detector into a phone to project a large virtual touch screen onto a table. From the virtual touchscreen, users can type on a keyboard and enter data into productivity apps  such as calculators and PowerPoint.  The projector also lets users display video and presentations on a wall and play games. For video chats, users could project content onto the wall while viewing different content simultaneously on their smartphone screen.

For the nearer term, Lenovo’s extension of Cortana, called REACHit, will extend the search capabilities of Cortana for Windows 10 devices with the ability to search for content across any connected Lenovo PC or tablet running Windows 10 and across many major cloud services. Without REACHit, users can search only for files on the device they are currently using and OneDrive.

REACHit gives Cortana a much larger inventory of information to search, “opening up an entirely new level of contextual search and giving users the most comprehensive, seamless and natural way to find their personal digital content,” Lenovo said.

By using Cortana and REACHit, a person who wants to access a photo on a home PC from a remote tablet doesn’t have to remember the name of the photo file but could search by saying, “Cortana, find the picture I edited last week on my ThinkPad X1 Carbon,” or “Cortana, find the picture I worked on at Starbucks last week.”

Cortana and REACHit also search services such as Google Drive, DropBox and Box.

Via a user-assigned Lenovo ID, Cortana and REACHit will retrieve a variety of a user’s personal content from photos, video, and files to emails.

In other concept demonstrations, Lenovo’s ShenQi subsidiary showed 3D printers that can print food out of substances such as chocolate and a smart-home control center incorporating Wi-Fi. The company is also exploring emerging fields such as robots and unmanned aerial vehicles.