Lenovo’s recipe for Skylight ensures persistent connectivity experience with cloud-based productivity and social networking applications.
Approaching Skylight for the first time I had a brief “oh no” moment when I saw what I thought were giant Chiclet style keys. My peanut aversion quickly passed however, when I began using the keyboard to compose something on Twitter. Skylight uses a new type of keyboard that’s based on “island keys”. The keyboard on this portable powerhouse is laid out well enough to eliminate or forestall serious criticism and I like its island style keys.
Another feature of Skylight I like is a hinged USB connector in the space between the top of the keyboard and the screen case. So far that slot has been shown occupied by an external solid state memory stick, but I can see no reason why it couldn’t also be used for a USB-based GPS device or wireless phone for services such as Skype.
Lenovo and its CPU partner for the Skylight platform, Qualcomm, both claim the new machine will have more than 10 hours of battery life. I can find no reason to disbelieve their claim, even when Starlight is used by chatty posters on sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
Seeing and briefly using Lenovo’s Starlight was one of the genuine jaw-dropping moments I’ve experienced in the last several decades. My reaction to it is stronger than the feelings I had when I saw the one sub-compact that’s been my standard setter for the last 20 years, the original HP Omnibook 300.
After using Skylight in Lenovo’s demonstration room at the Venetian Resort and Casino I came away hoping corporations with large number of sales or technicians deployed in the field see this new platform. Most of all, I hope SalesForce.com, or any other company that uses a similar business model recognizes the value of a machine designed for cloud-based computing.
There will be some people who view the monthly connection charges to cell data networks as a real impediment to this machine. I don’t agree, given the success of Apple’s iPhone and the Google Android architecture. I believe Lenovo has taken a bold step with a new design that could become an iconic machine for the early 21st Century. And I’m planning on purchasing one expressly for a project I hope to begin this summer—a book on contemporary gold mining that will see me in the field, researching the story for up to six weeks at a time. With a battery life of 10 hours and the ability to connect to WiFi and cell based networks, I’ll be that person you see hunched over a small smartbook at a public campground in the California motherlode, beyond the hills of Placerville, where the wind that powers my jury-rigged windmill/bicycle headlight generator and gold can still be found.—Jim Forbes on 13 January 2010.