It’s been almost a year since reports made the rounds that Lenovo was working on Android tablet that you could also use as a portable monitor thanks to HDMI input. Now it looks like Lenovo may be planning to launch that tablet soon.

Lenovo has shared an image on Chinese social media network Weibo that sure looks like it could be the upcoming Lenovo Yoga X.

The picture shows a device that seems to have the same basic design as other Yoga-branded Android tablets, including a thick, cylindrical base where you’ll find the batteries and which allows you to hold the tablet by the thick end as if it were a folded magazine. There also appears to be a kickstand, which isn’t shown, but which would explain how the device is standing up.

But the most interesting thing about the image is that it shows the tablet connected to a Nintendo Switch dock and displaying Mario Kart Deluxe 8, indicating that there’s an HDMI input that allows you to use the tablet as a portable display.

You can also presumably unplug the Switch (or whatever else is plugged in), and use the device as a standalone tablet.

But there’s no official word yet on the price or release date, and no information about whether the multifunctional tablet will be available outside of China. But given that it would be the first Lenovo Yoga Android tablet with an unusual bonus feature to be sold internationally, I’m guessing that it will get a global launch at some point.

via xda-developers and TabletMonkeys

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  1. I honestly think this should be a standard feature on tablets already. As a computer and server technician, this feature would be insanely useful. Especially if it had an on-screen keyboard. I have long wished for a tablet dongle that would turn a tablet into a KVM.

  2. One tablet feature that never materialized was a built-in digital TV tuner for over-the-air stuff. A side port for connecting an antenna too.

    Maybe this HDMI input somewhat solves this (with accompanying external hdmi friendly tuner).

    1. There are many reasons. Digital TV antennas need to be physically large to pick up those specific frequencies. We can fit Wifi and Bluetooth antennas inside a tablet, because they can be quite small, because they work on very different frequencies.

      Another factor is power draw, heat, and radio interference. Digital TV antennas are far too power hungry to be used in a device that runs on less than 15 watts. Also, PCB designers who design the motherboard of a tablet need to take radio interference into account with their designs. The components that a Digital TV tuner uses would probably generate lots of interference. I’m not intimately familiar with them, but my impression is that they would be rather “dirty” in terms of EMI/RFI.

      The most important factor is that there just aren’t any tablet-suitable SOCs out there that have baked-in Digital TV tuning hardware. So if a tablet maker wanted to include that feature, they would need to introduce a bunch of extra hardware just to make it possible. Seems like a waste of money to support a dying technology that less than 5% of people would use.

      1. There have been phones and PDAs with built-in Antenna and TV-Tuner. So it is possible. I just don’t think the quality is that good, and the demand isn’t there. The latest/best one I could find is the LG X4, but there were other options from Samsung, Pantech, ASUS, and perhaps others.

        The demand was largely in the Developed-Asian locales, even then it was like a niche, like in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore etc etc. But these markets have changed, they’re mostly focused on other things based through the Internet now. The demand wasn’t in the Western Nations simply because there has been no availability of these devices there.

        1. Yeah the only products that I’ve been familiar with that had features like this have been localized in the asian markets.

          The Asus Zenfone Go TV is the only modern (thin) smartphone I’ve seen that offered a digital TV tuner. It appears they accomplished this by using a headphone jack pigtail accessory as the antenna, which is pretty common among small electronics that need a large antenna.

          Aside from the Asus, most of the phones I’ve seen that offer a TV tuner have been larger thick phones, not really modern smartphones. It’s the thin design of modern tablets and smartphones that really makes this a challenge.

          It’s definitely not impossible, but it certainly isn’t a “free feature” that just happens to be something that the SOC is capable of. It’s an entirely bespoke feature that requires a fair amount of design work, and a large amount of standalone components on the PCB that serve only this purpose. Not exactly an ideal design requirement for tablet/smartphone PCB designers.

      2. Thanks for the reply. I was curious about… “seems like a waste of money to support a dying technology that less than 5% of people would use.”

        Out of curiosity, I did some quick searches and it seems that OTA is actually increasing as a result of the number of cord-cutters increasing. While a larger percentage of cord-cutters are moving to online streaming services, a strong percentage are going antenna-only or antenna.plus.streaming. Interesting (upward) trend. It may be short term (10-15 years) but that’s still a long time in tech time.

        I was on mobile earlier and wasn’t able to look up alternative Android tuner options easily when I originally posted but there are actual low-end Android tablets with tuners (example: RCA MobileTV 8inch) as well as plug-n-play Android tuner attachments on Amazon (albeit, lowly rated). There may or may not be general population interest in this but I like the idea (also not having to rely on internet connection in some use cases).

        1. It’s true that lots of people in western countries are switching to OTA digital TV as cord-cutting becomes popular. But the way we consume TV service in western countries is very different from Asian countries. People in western markets are more likely only interested in TV programming for watching at home, as a leisure time thing.

          In Japan, a surprising number of people watch Digital TV OTA while “on the go”, like on buses, trains, etc.

          I don’t think theres much appetite in western markets for portable Digital TV devices. It sounds cool, but I just don’t think people would buy them.

  3. Hmm. This is a pretty neat idea. But something tells me that we might not expect all the features that one would normally expect of a monitor (it might be too much to ask to get HDCP support, or a fast response time).

    I would buy something like this if it competed well against the monitor features from an actual USB-C portable monitor.