Lenovo, the China-based PC company, released its new Yoga Tablet and claimed it would revolutionize the portable computer device world. That claim can be added to dozens of others by the world's largest PC makers. None have been entirely true, perhaps with the exception of the Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad, and even its effects on the industry have faded. Nothing about the Yoga Tablet is new enough to be special.
The Yoga Tablet does have several immediate advantages. It was launched by famous TV star Ashton Kutcher, who has, among other things, a huge following on social media. Maybe his endorsement means something, although it may not cause consumers to flock to stores to buy the Yoga machine.
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The features of the Yoga Tablet are billed as very special. The price base is $249 for the Yoga Tablet 8 and $299 for the Yoga Tablet 10. That is a lot less than Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Surface or the new iPad Air. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 retails for over $200 more. On a price basis, the Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) Kindle sells for about the same as the Lenovo machine. Additionally, Amazon has a marketing presence in the United States that Lenovo could never hope for.
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However, the most damning fact about the Yoga Tablet is that its primary feature, according to Lenovo, is that it can be held by the user, tilted or stood up. Its "ergonomic design" is part of a "re-engineered" tablet. The remarkable capabilities may be lost on the tablet buyer, who has been bombarded by hardware and software information. And each of the features promoted by the PC companies confuses the consumer even more. That leaves the buyer to consider the brands he knows best, which is one of Apple's largest advantages.
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Lenovo has never had more than modest success in the United States, which continues to be controlled by Dell Inc. (DELL), Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and Apple. The Yoga Tablet brings nothing to the table to alter that.