A few years ago, Microsoft wowed the world with its multitouch coffee table-looking appliance, the Microsoft Surface. The company has since taken that name and bestowed it upon its line of Windows 8 tablets, renaming the multitouch progenitor the PixelSense.
It’s a stupid name.
Since then, we haven’t heard much from Redmond on the subject, though the company is continuing, through Samsung, to produce the devices for both commercial and academic research use. But those guys? Several thousand dollars, at a minimum. Lenovo thinks that they can take the concept and pare it down for home consumer users – enter its latest all-in-one, the IdeaCentre Horizon.
Lenovo is very clear about their goals with the IdeaCentre Horizon, saying that “people desire a more collaborative experience” with their computers, and we couldn’t agree more. One of the real bonuses of the touchscreen computer revolution is how much easier it makes sharing a computer with multiple people simultaneously.
On the surface (heh heh), the IdeaCentre Horizon looks a lot like the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720. Both are 27-inch, multitouch all-in-ones, but where the IdeaCentre A720 showed where Lenovo was starting to look, the IdeaCentre Horizon is a finished PC philosophy.
In addition to the multitouch-centric Windows 8 operating system, Lenovo includes its own software – Lenovo Aura – designed to improve the ability for multiple people to play with the IdeaCentre Horizon at the same time.
Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Specifications:
- Processor: Up to 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core i7 CPUs
- Memory: Up to 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce GT620M with 1GB graphics memory
- Display: 27-inch, 16:9, 10-finger multitouch screen
- Resolution: 1920×1080 Full HD
- Storage: Up to 1TB hard drive, optional 64GB SSD
- Networking: Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Audio: Stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater v4
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
- Webcam: Front-facing, 1280×720 camera
- Dimensions: 1.1 inches thick (27mm)
- Weight: 17.8 pounds (8.06kg)
- Expansion: Memory card reader, USB 3.0, HDMI
- BATTERY LIFE: 2 hours
Battery life? Oh yeah, the IdeaCentre Horizon contains a basic battery, which lets you move it around the house or yard without having to lose whatever you’re working on when you unplug it.
Lenovo wants users to be able to play games on the Horizon, so they’ve enlisted the help of some well-known names to make it happen. Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Fablevision, and Bluestacks, to name a few, have all conspired to help Lenovo made the IdeaCentre Horizon into a proper entertainment device. There’s a new multitouch-enabled version of Monopoly, and Bluestacks is bringing compatibility with tons and tons of Android games and apps.
The Chinese computer giant took a page from the Microsoft handbook and brought out a few accessories that work directly on the display of the IdeaCentre. There’s a set of “E-dice”, which you can roll on the Horizon and see the result automatically fed into the computer, a joystick (not unlike a few that have come out for the iPad), and a striker.
There are a few other games installed, developed by Lenovo, but the widespread install base of the Windows 8 Store is where you’re likely to find the best multitouch games in the coming months.
An optional upgrade with the Horizon is what Lenovo is calling the Multimode Table. It lets users display the IdeaCentre Horizon in both a table form as well as a vertical wall mount-esque mode. When not in this special stand, the Horizon can sit as a regular all-in-one desktop, or fold completely flat.
Lenovo is expecting to bring the IdeaCentre Horizon to market in early summer; the expected MSRP is $1,699.