Lenovo reveals $49 Chromecast competitor, projector smartphone and a smart watch with a 2nd display

lenovo logo

Lenovo had a lot of interesting announcements to make at their Tech World conference in Beijing today. Let’s jump right into the first one: they have made the next big Chromecast competitor.

Simply called Lenovo Cast, this is a $49 dongle that hooks right up to your TV via HDMI. Compare that price tag to the $35 Chromecast (which you can often find even cheaper than that through periodic deals) and it doesn’t sound all that amazing.

lenovo csat

But Lenovo’s pitch here is that their device is fully DLNA and Miracast compliant, meaning you have very flexible and open options for streaming to it (as opposed to Chromecast, which requires developers to add support for it within their apps). Still, there are cheaper options that allow you to do the same (and even more) already on the market so we’re reserving judgment until we see if there are any other unique and redeeming qualities. The device will be available on a worldwide scale this August.

Moving on, Lenovo did have a couple of other announcements that did well to pique our interest. First up is a smart watch that sports a secondary display, a contraption which might appear wonky in mere inner-thought visuals. In actuality, it’s integrated fairly neatly and doesn’t do much to hinder the otherwise good looks of a smart watch.

The question is about functionality and purpose, and the answer is simple: it’s for privately viewing your content. You see, you have to move the smartwatch to your eye to even see what’s on the display. Lenovo’s goal is to let you see what you need to see, and without letting anyone else see what you have to see.

We’re not sure what sort of sensitive content you’d be viewing on a smart watch to need something like this, but there it is. We’d argue covering your wrist with your hand is nearly as effective, but hey — you can’t get mad at unique ideas. Unfortunately this is little more than a concept right now, though the fact that Lenovo has working prototypes is a good sign they want to bring this thing to market.

Lastly, there’s the Smart Cast, a phone Lenovo has dreamed up with a laser projector. A projector on a phone is nothing new — the Samsung Galaxy Beam says hello — but Lenovo’s claiming that theirs can project a fully interactive display onto whichever surface you fancy. Whether it be for typing, playing a virtual piano or whatever, they’re confident they can make it happen.

The core technology already exists, though not within a consumer device such as the one they’ve shown off. Whether we can ever see something like this hit the market remains to be seen, but if Lenovo’s feeling confident enough that they’re on the right track we’ll certainly keep an open mind about it.

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