Lenovo embraces form, unveils Yoga tablet with the help of Ashton Kutcher

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Tablet designs don’t often stray far from the simple flat one-piece design that made the iPad famous, but Lenovo is going to try a slightly different form, and is enlisting the help of a man who played Steve Jobs to help get the word out there.

Heading to store shelves next week, Lenovo’s “Yoga” tablet is one that has been built to be used in multiple positions, hence the name Lenovo has chosen for the product.

The design is a little bit different from most flat tablets out there, with Lenovo adding a small bump at the back, similar to how Apple designs its wireless keyboards, only extended.

Together, with this bump, the tablet can be positioned in different ways, such as resting on a tablet but raised slightly for touchscreen typing, or held by the bump similar to how you hold a book by its edge, or even resting upright with a flip-out stand sitting on the hinge.

Lenovo’s Yoga tablet doesn’t just have this design to give you more ways of using the tablet, as it also incorporates different modes that will run when you’re using the tablet in these ways, with the Yoga able to adapt with “hold” (when you’re holding it by the spine), “tilt” (lying down on the table), and “stand” (using the stand in the hinge) and providing an on-screen side bar that pops out with useful apps when you’re in some of these modes.

There will be two Yoga tablets, both with similar specs, just in different sizes, with an 8 inch model and a 10 inch model. Each will run on a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, partnered with either 16 or 32GB storage, 1GB RAM, including a 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.6 megapixel front camera, and support for 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection standards.

The storage can be upgraded over microSD, with Lenovo bringing Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean” as the operating system, which Lenovo tells us isn’t terribly skinned or bloated.

“Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mould on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content,” said Lenovo’s Liu Jun.

“As consumers’ continue to demand innovative multimode designs we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich-content experience.”

That last one – bringing Ashton Kutcher on board – isn’t a joke, and the dude from “Dude, Where’s My Car” (and the Steve Jobs inspired biopic “Jobs”) has really partnered with Lenovo for the launch of the Yoga, using the celebrity for advertisements, and possibly even collaboration on future products.

“This partnership with Lenovo brings together my love of technology and design that makes your life better,” said Kutcher. “I can’t wait to dig in and help Lenovo develop future mobile computing products, starting with the Yoga Tablet.”

Of note for these tablets is the battery life, which Lenovo says should deliver up to 16 hours in the 8 inch model, with the 10 inch bringing the possibility of 18 hours.

In the hands, it’s a nice feeling device, with a solid aluminium chassis that feels very thin, but does remind us of the Apple wireless keyboard you can get with the iMac.

That doesn’t mean it’s bad, mind you – we love the Mac keyboard – and this feels just as solid, but with a touchscreen instead.

Some of the touches on this tablet are quite nice, though, including the pull out stand at the bottom which isn’t just set at one angle and can be changed to suit what you like or what you’re doing, Dolby support, and a microUSB connection for on-the-go charging of devices.

Pricing for the Lenovo Yoga Tablets will come in at $349 for the 8 inch and $399 for the 10 inch models, with JB HiFi grabbing the tablets exclusively in early November.

A Bluetooth keyboard cover with a trackpad and made from aluminium will also be available for $99, while simple cases that slip over the Yoga Tablets will cost roughly $50 to $60 depending on the model you buy.