The Tech News Blog

February 27, 2015

Lenovo to Ditch Bloatware on Windows 10 PCs

What to Expect When You've Been Hacked

In the wake of the recent Superfish gaffe, Lenovo this week promised to strip its consumer PCs of bloatware going forward.

"By the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software, and Lenovo applications," Lenovo said today.

"This should eliminate what our industry calls 'adware' and 'bloatware,'" the company said.

That industry might argue that bloatware and adware are not exactly the same thing. When I bought a PC last year, for example, the desktop had a shortcut to eBay and some other promotional icons that I considered standard bloatware. The Superfish adware, however, was surreptitiously installed on Lenovo PCs shipped during the fourth quarter of 2014, and resulted in annoying pop-ups and unwanted ads across the Web. It also made people's PCs susceptible to hackers.

Lenovo stopped shipping its PCs with Superfish in December, and issued an automatic removal tool for those who have the adware on their PC. It's also offering affected users a free, six-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe service; more info on that will be posted to in the next week.

Going forward, Lenovo pledged to "post information about ALL software we preload on our PCs that clearly explains what each application does. And we will continuously solicit feedback from our user community and industry experts to ensure we have the right applications and best user experience."

Microsoft's Windows 10 is expected to launch later this year.

February 23, 2015

Lenovo Sued Over Superfish Adware

What to Expect When You've Been Hacked

Not surprisingly, the controversy over Lenovo installing Superfish adware into its consumer PCs has resulted in a lawsuit.

According to the suit, filed in California district court, San Diego-based Jessica Bennett purchased a Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop in late 2014, and quickly noticed unwanted pop-ups.

Bennett "was writing a blog post for a client when she noticed spam advertisements involving scantily clad women appearing on her client's website," prompting her to ask her client if their site had been hacked. Later, however, she saw the same ads on a different, well-known website, and realized that the problem was with her PC.

The suit is seeking class-action status for affected Lenovo laptop owners. Though Lenovo said it only installed Superfish on PCs sold between September and December 2014, the suit wants to include anyone who bought a Lenovo PC dating back to Jan. 1, 2012.

According to the suit, Lenovo's move violates the California Invasion of Privacy Act, Federal Wiretap Act, as well as California trespass and unfair competition statutes.

Superfish uses a man-in-the-middle certificate to insert ads into Web browsers. But it also opens the door to third-party access of a user's browser data, according to security researchers.

Lenovo is no longer adding Superfish to its consumer PCs, but those who purchased one during the holiday season might have it on their machine. To get rid of it, check out How to Remove Superfish From Your Lenovo PC.

January 5, 2015

Lenovo Unveils Super Lightweight LaVie Z Laptop, More

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPenLenovo isn't content to rest on its laurels with the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. It just released a slew of new PCs for 2015, including new desktops, laptops, members of the Yoga family, and a pair of LaVie Z ultraportables that weigh about 2 pounds.

The Lenovo LaVie Z ultraportables are produced in collaboration with NEC Personal Computers. NEC was a pioneer in personal computing in the 1980s, but we haven't seen a U.S.-market PC from the firm in over 10 years. The LaVie Z HZ750 is a convertible hybrid laptop with a hinge similar to the Yoga line of convertibles. Lenovo claims that this is the lightest 13-inch convertible PC at 2.04 pounds, while the LaVie Z HZ550 is its 13-inch ultraportable laptop counterpart that comes in at an even lighter 1.72 pounds. Lenovo LaVie ZBoth ultraportables are only 16.9mm thin, using a magnesium-lithium body construction and back cover. A 13.3-inch WQHD (2,560-by-1,440 resolution) screen is an option, as is a fifth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 128GB of SSD storage.

The LaVie Z HZ550 will start at $1,299 and the LaVie Z HZ750 has a base price of $1,499. Both will be available in May.

Lenovo's Yoga line of laptops and tablets is expanding from the 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2 running Windows 8.1 up to the 15-inch ThinkPad Yoga convertible laptop.

The 8-inch Yoga Tablet 2 with AnyPen technology lets you use any pen or pencil on the touch screen instead of your finger—specifically, any rounded metal or graphite point larger than 1mm in diameter. The tablet will be available in January starting at $299.

The Yoga 3 line extends Lenovo's innovative convertible laptop models to a compact 11-inch and more traditional 14-inch form factors. Lenovo Yoga 3Both Yoga 3 convertibles flip completely around so they can be used in Laptop, Stand, Tent, and Tablet modes. They come in four colors (Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver, new Chalk White, or Ebony Black), feature full HD screens, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and up to a Core i7 processor in the 14-inch model. The Yoga 3 11-inch ($799) and 14-inch ($979) models will be available in March.

SMB users will have new choices in the Thinkpad Yoga 12-, 14-, and 15-inch models. New innovative features include an optional 3D camera (for the 15-inch), ActivePen stylus with digitizer support (with built-in storage on the 12-inch ThinkPad Yoga), up to 1TB storage, up to fifth-generation Intel Core i7 processors, and Intel vPro (on the 12-inch model). ThinkPad Yoga 12-inch ($999) and 15-inch ($1,199) will be available in February, and ThinkPad Yoga 14-inch ($1,199) will be available in May.

Lenovo Flex 3

Consumers with more modest budgets also have a plethora of choices, with the Lenovo Flex 3 11-, 14-, and 15-inch convertible laptops, and 14-inch S41 laptop. All-in-one desktop buyers will have the 23.8-inch B50, 23-inch C50, and the 21.5-inch C40 to choose from. The Flex 3 laptops now come with 360-degree hinges, just like the Yoga line, and offer the same four use modes, including the Tablet mode omitted from previous Flex models. The 14- and 15-inch Flex 3 models offer up to fifth-generation Core i7 processors while the 11-inch tops out with an Intel Pentium. All Flex models come with 1,366-by-768 resolution screens, but the 14- and 15-inch models have full HD options. The Flex 11-inch ($399), 14-inch ($549), and 15-inch ($579) will be available in May. The Lenovo S41 is a traditional thin and light laptop, with a 14-inch screen, up to a fifth-generation Core i7 processor, and optional Nvidia GeForce graphics and 256GB SSD. The S41 will be available in June starting at $799.

Lenovo B50 3D CameraNew all-in-one desktops are available in budget to high-end variations, from the $429 C40 up to the $1,249 B50 3D Camera.

The 21.5-inch C40 and 23-inch C50 ($729) are basic home entertainment all-in-one desktops with full HD edge-to-edge screens, DVD burners, fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processors, optional AMD or Nvidia discrete graphics, and optional 10-point touch screens. The C40 and C50 systems will be available in March.

At the high end, the B50 3D Camera has a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 23.8-inch Full HD touch screen, and Nvidia GeForce graphics. The system's 3D camera works with Intel's RealSense UI for interacting with on-screen elements via motion control. Look for the B50 3D Camera in March.

April 16, 2014

Lenovo Announces Flex 2 and Snazzy AIO

Lenovo Flex 2 14

Lenovo is already gearing up for back-to-school with a slew of new systems, including two versatile new Flex laptops, as well as an all-in-one desktop and an inexpensive business laptop.

The new back-to-school and business laptops feature multimode capabilities, sleek designs, and affordable prices, with the hardware to get plenty of work done in the classroom and on the go.

While most of the newly announced systems are laptops, the stand-out product is Lenovo's A540, an all-in-one desktop with a bright 23.8-inch display and a sleek aluminum chassis. The display offers full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution, with 10-finger touch, and an adjustable stand. As an added touch, Lenovo also includes a hands-free option with Lenovo Motion Control, a gesture-control tool that uses the A540's built-in webcam to recognize mid-air gestures for controlling media without physically touching the display. The Lenovo A540 all-in-one will be available for purchase in early July, selling at $1,279.99 for the base configuration.

February 24, 2014

Lenovo Debuts New Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, Smartphones at MWC

Yoga Tablet 10 HD+

Last year's Yoga Tablet was overshadowed by Lenovo's Ashton Kutcher publicity stunt—and rightfully so, as it featured a unique design, but was otherwise utterly forgettable. Fresh off of its surprising acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Lenovo is set to right some wrongs with the update to its shape-shifting tablet: the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+.

The device will be on display at this week's Mobile World Congress, as will three new S-Series smartphones.

The original Yoga Tablet turned some heads with its solid aluminum frame and novel design, but the marquee feature was its rotating hinge that facilitated what Lenovo called "multi-mode" use. The updated Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ retains the same design and hinge, meaning you'll be able to hold it comfortably in one hand, prop it up for watching videos, or tilt it up for easier typing.

As you might have guessed from the name, Lenovo makes a key upgrade to the display, bumping up the resolution from 1,280 by 800 to full HD 1,920 by 1,200. The internal components still appear somewhat underpowered—the 10 HD+ will sport a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, which isn't exactly cutting edge.

January 29, 2014

Google to Sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91B

Moto X (c)

In a surprise announcement, Google today said it will sell the Motorola Mobility smartphone business to Lenovo for approximately $2.91 billion.

The move is intended to strengthen Lenovo's position in the smartphone market, particularly North America, Latin America, and Western Europe. The deal includes the Motorola brand and Motorola Mobility's smartphone portfolio, like the Moto X (pictured), Moto G, and Droid Ultra series. Lenovo will take ownership of the future Motorola Mobility product roadmap.

Google, however, will hold on to the "vast majority" of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, including current patent applications and invention disclosures. Google will license this technology to Lenovo, but Lenovo will get more than 2,000 patent assets.

The deal includes $660 million in cash and $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares; the remaining $1.5 billion will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note.

"The acquisition of such an iconic brand, innovative product portfolio and incredibly talented global team will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones. We will immediately have the opportunity to become a strong global player in the fast-growing mobile space," Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said in a statement. "We are confident that we can bring together the best of both companies to deliver products customers will love and a strong, growing business.

January 9, 2014

LenovoEMC Reveals NAS Boxes for Home and Business


LAS VEGAS—LenovoEMC was at CES here to announce new NAS (Network Attached Storage) boxes for business and consumers alike.

The new LenovoEMC px4-400d Network Storage is an update to the Iomega StorCenter px4-300d; (Iomega was acquired by EMC in 2008, and Lenovo and EMC partnered up last year). This newest device is a four-bay, small to mid-sized business storage server. A quick rundown of features include hot-swappable SARA-III disk drives and support for up to 16TB of storage, while extra connectivity options include HDMI, eSATA, and USB 3.0.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from what the px4-300d can do. Implement remote access to data on the NAS using its built-in cloud technology, which can also be used for remote management and file sharing, data replication, advanced RAID, and more.

LenovoEMS states that users will see up to 25 percent higher data Reads and Writes over previous px4-300d devices.

In addition, the user interface can appear in 18 different languages. The px4-300d is certified to support Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, VMWare EXS, XenServer, iSCSI, and NFS.

The diskless model is now available at $729 for the diskless model. The Server class and Pro series model can ship with disks that support 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB HDDs.

January 2, 2014

Lenovo Unveils New Lineup of Android Smartphones

Lenovo Vibe ZIn advance of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Lenovo is trotting out the newest members of its Android powered smartphones.

Though better known for its laptop and desktop divisions here in the U.S., Lenovo has carved out a nice chunk of the smartphone market, edging out LG to become the No. 3 global smartphone maker,  according to data from Gartner.

Lenovo's expanding its Vibe lineup, introducing its first smartphone with LTE, the Vibe Z. Also on tap for the New Year are the S930 and S650, which occupy the midrange, while the A859 will cater to the budget-friendly smartphone market.

The Vibe Z will carry Lenovo's mobile flag, offering a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 5.5-inch 1080p display, and a 13-megapixel camera to go along with the aforementioned LTE connectivity. The phone will run on GSM/UMTS networks, with support for Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Though it's packing a palm-busting display, the Vibe Z will measure just 0.31 inches thick and weigh 5.19 ounces.

October 16, 2013

Lenovo Unveils 8-Inch Miix2 Tablet With Windows 8.1

8-Inch Lenovo Miix2Lenovo today introduced an 8-inch version of its Miix tablet, which will run Microsoft's updated Windows 8.1 operating system.

The Lenovo Miix2 will be available later this month starting at $299, sporting a 10-point multi-touch, 800-by-1,280 display with a 178-degree viewing angle. It includes a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2-megapixel front-facing cam.

The Miix2 will run an Intel Bay Trail-T quad-core processor, Intel HD graphics, and Windows 8.1, which is scheduled to launch early Friday morning in the U.S. with enhancements like Internet Explorer 11, touch optimization, and the return of the "Start" button.

The Miix2 will be pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, which users can access via touch or with the optional stylus. A cover accessory also doubles as a stand.

"Many users want the convenience of a smaller screen tablet, but do not want to lose the performance and convenience of a powerful, quad core Windows 8.1 device. With the Lenovo Miix2 8-inch, users can take advantage of a small, light form factor without sacrificing performance," Bai Peng, vice president and general manager of Lenovo's notebook business unit, said in a statement. "The Lenovo Miix2 8-inch is a great example of how thoughtful design can deliver the best of both worlds."

October 1, 2013

Lenovo AIO Lineup Includes 29-Inch Monster

Lenovo B550

Lenovo this week revealed four new additions to its all-in-one (AIO) desktop lineup.

Led by the super-widescreen B750 — the world's first 29-inch 21:0 display — the new devices aim to bring more range to the AIO market.

"AIO desktops have become the first-choice option for many consumers seeking a home PC with power and flexibility," Jun Ouyang, vice president and general manager of Lenovo's desktop business unit, said in a statement.

One of those is the A530, a space-saver desktop with a slim, adjustable screen for use as a traditional PC or a flat, touch-screen device. The 23-inch, 1,920-by-1,080 full HD screen is encased in an all-aluminum chassis, and powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor.

Buyers can choose up to 8GB DDR3 memory, up to 1TB HDD, or 1TB SSHD storage, plus integrated 8GB SSD cache, and take advantage of the machine's integrated Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 6-in-1 card reader, and HDMI ports.

Meanwhile, the B-series devices include the 29-inch B750 — with frameless display and a JBL 2.1 speaker system with built-in 20W subwoofer and Dolby Home Theater — joined by the 23-inch B550 (pictured) and 21.5-inch B350.

The B550 and B350 sport full HD widescreen displays, as well as integrated stereo sound and Dolby certification; the B550 gets a boost from Dolby Home Theater audio performance.