Lenovo Shows Off China-Only Ice Cream Sandwich Interface
“We went with an open platform to attract developers,” said Atsushi Kumaki, a Japanese engineer who now finds himself living in Beijing and designing TV interfaces for Lenovo. In particular, he likes Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest (2.3) version of the OS that provides a slicker interface – for smartphones and tablets, and now for TVs, too. (Lenovo appears to be the first.)
The two LCD models – in 42- an 55-inch versions – are sold only in China. They boast top-end specs – including IPS screen tech that allows for a wide viewing angle. A 240-Hz refresh rate allows them to quickly flash screen images – ideal for the 3D effects that it achieves with cheap “passive” glasses a la movie theaters instead of the pricey “active” gear required for many sets.
Lenovo is brand-new to the TV business, so maybe building one running smartphone and tablet software seemed like a natural way to start. It allows the TV to run apps such as video on demand services and games. Apps on TVs are hardly new, but most companies, such as Samsung, have their own or other obscure software environments. Lenovo hopes the booming Android market will make it easier for developers to jump in.
Lenovo even includes a game controller, which works a lot better than the TV remote. Both offer a little extra, though, with accelerometers that allow users to wave their way through the games and channel interface a la the Nintendo Wii. The TV remote also has a touchpad, allowing users to swipe through a carrousel of screens – including the TV video window and a home screen of apps.
U.S. Android fans intrigued by the TV that works like a phone will have to wait – maybe forever. Lenovo hasn’t announced any plans to bring the sets to the U.S.