Interview: Darren Chia Discusses Lenovo's ThinkVision 28 Smart Display

Interview: Darren Chia Discusses Lenovo's ThinkVision 28 Smart Display

Ultra HD displays are the hot consumer electronics product these days and the higher resolution solution is creeping into all sorts of areas (see “Ultra HD Displays Are The Next Big Thing”). This includes tablets and monitors in addition to large screen televisions.

Ultra HD monitors will likely be the norm soon replacing the 1080p HD displays that have become common. Of course, Lenovo has some ideas that make their new offering even more compelling than just providing a higher resolution display.

I spoke with Darren Chia, General Manager, Visuals Business Unit, Lenovo PC Product Group, to find out more on Lenovo's new ThinkVision 28 (Fig. 1). In addition to being a 2840 by 2160 Ultra HD monitor, the ThinkVision 28 includes its own microprocessor for running Android. It also sports stereo speakers and dual array, noise cancelling microphones.

Figure 1. The ThinkVision 28 Smart Display won three “Best of CES” Awards at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Wong: Can you tell my why Lenovo create the ThinkVision 28.

Chia: We have always been dreaming of developing “One Display That Fits All”, which can

  • Offer sharp and vivid display performance
  • Connect everything, including desktop, notebook, mobile phone, tablet, etc.
  • Fit in all usage scenarios, either for serious work in the office or all-out fun at home

ThinkVision 28 is much more than a premium monitor. It opens up an entirely new product category. It is an excellent combination of cutting edge technologies to address customers’ differing needs, including the 4K2K display, the nVidia K1 chip, and Android 4.4 to deliver power and performance with the flexibility that a smarter display can offer.

Wong: What were some of the challenges you encountered when developing the ThinkVision 28?

Chia: Creating a premium high performance monitor with smart elements that offer real world usability presented a number of challenges such as bringing Android into the 4K era. The ThinkVision 28 is a true entertainment hub. On demand content is streamed or downloaded seamlessly through the familiar Android interface thanks to NVIDIA Tegra K1-powered technology.

The challenge here is that the current Android design is mainly suited to FHD resolution. This means we had to upgrade the whole system to make it natively support 4K2K resolution. This lets the users enjoy 4K games, videos, pictures, wallpapers and any other 4K content on a system they are familiar with.

In addition, considering the current multimedia content environment, we had to ensure that compatibility with more common HD and FHD content is seamless and high quality. This required a degree of software and hardware adjustment so users would not be disappointed by “standard” content.

Wong: The ThinkVision 28 supports Miracast Sync. Can you tell us more about this feature.

Chia: Living in the PC+ era, much of users’ computing is done with smart phones and tablets as well as classic devices; but often viewing content on these smaller devices is not ideal and sharing content on small screens even harder. We wanted to make it easier to view and share content on a larger display so users can truly enjoy their photos, movies and games. Enjoy better sound offered by larger premium displays, and have the flexibility to use a keyboard and mouse to be more creative with their content. ThinkVision 28 boasts Miracast with back control support to enable both Windows and Android mobile devices to cast and control to and from the display. It’s simple, convenient and most definitely productive!

The biggest challenge to achieve this was ensuring cross platform compatibility. We also wanted to enhance the current UIBC agreement regarding back control of devices from smart displays. For example, in the original agreement, the keyboard design is specified for small sized displays, such as mobile phone and tablet, but for ThinkVision 28, we optimized the keyboard design for easy control and typing directly on the display regardless of the connected device.

Wong: What about the ThinkVision 28's ergonomic design. What features were included for that?

Chia: ThinkVision 28 supports full 10 point touch to not only further enhance productivity, but also deliver a new and exciting way to enjoy your Android applications on a larger screen. Therefore, the stand has to be flexible enough for multi-position, strong enough to hold the 28-in display panel, and stable enough for users to touch. Plus, the stand is very thin, only 19-mm (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. The ThinkVision 28 has a flexible multi-position stand.

It was inspired by a traditional Chinese clothes rack (Fig. 3). We found the perfect solution that we called the parallelogram design. The stand seems like a solid plank, but actually this 19-mm thin plank is a parallelogram consists with two planks and four separate hinges. Parallelogram design is well known as being flexible, so the stand supports varied angles and heights, but also very stable at any angle users want. With two planks, we are also able to make the stand strong enough to support the weight of the display and the pressure exerted on the screen for touch use.

Figure 3. The traditional Chinese clothes rack (left) inspired the design of the flexible stand (right).

Wong: How did you get that sleek looking design?

Chia: To make it shine we adopted a double-sided diamond cut finish. That is not new technology. People may see this in other smaller devices but we have improved this method by doing a 2-mm thin double cut. This is very unique in current industrial design and required us to create a new cutting machine which can ensure the accuracy of polishing.

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