Ashton Kutcher is back, pushing another tech product. But it’s not a Nikon camera or a Steve Jobs movie. Rather, it’s a new tablet from Lenovo.
The actor joined Lenovo onstage at a Wednesday night event in Los Angeles to unveil the Yoga Tablet. The Android Jelly Bean (4.2) device comes in eight-inch and 10-inch models, and will be available Thursday for $249 and $299, respectively.
Lenovo said that it wanted to design the Yoga Tablet to stand out from the “sea of sameness,” referring to the fact that all tablets look pretty much alike. As a result, it features a cylindrical handle that allows you to use the tablet in several different modes – a concept Lenovo borrowed from its line of Yoga convertible laptops.
In “hold” mode, you can simply grip the handle for a more comfortable experience when reading e-books and messages. Rotating the cylinder 90 degrees will expose a stand, so you can prop the tablet on a desk for watching movies or video chats. Finally, you can lay the device down with the stand out to angle the screen for easier typing and viewing.
One other benefit to the cylindrical handle, said Lenovo, is that it allowed a larger battery. The Yoga Tablet is powered by dual batteries, similar in power to those used in laptops; Lenovo estimates battery life to be around 18 hours in reading mode.
Both sizes of the Yoga Tablet have 1,280 by 800-pixel touchscreens, quad-core processors from MediaTek, and 16 gigabytes of internal memory with microSD expansion options. There’s also a five-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing 1.6-megapixel camera.
The eight-inch Yoga Tablet will be sold exclusively at Best Buy, and directly from Lenovo. The 10-inch model will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and Lenovo.
As for Kutcher’s part, not only will he be helping market the devices, he’s also been named a “product engineer” at Lenovo. In his role, Kutcher, who studied engineering at the University of Iowa and has invested in several startups, will provide input on the design, software and specs of the company’s future products.