Shine On

A tablet that actually brings the family together, big enough for 4 people

The IdeaCenter Horizon Tablet is intended to be laid flat and for multiple users to play games. ( IdeaCenter Horizon Tablet is intended to be laid flat and for multiple users to play games. ( parents worry that technology is drives their family apart, with each person attached their personal device of choice at all times.

Yet a new tablet from Lenovo may remedy that.

The IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC is a multi-user tablet that's large enough for the whole family to use at once, designed to update the traditional "games night" for a digital world.

"It's a 27-inch Windows 8 all-in-one touch-screen computer that you can lay down flat. It also has a battery. You would not use this giant computer as a walk-around-the-house device, but its portability does mean that you can set it up in a den, and then pull it out to use on a coffee table without dealing with the power cable," CNET reports.

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Lenovo is courting high-tech moms in particular.

"We believe families, particularly moms between the ages of 35 and 45, will choose this as a replacement to their home PC," Nick Reynolds, executive director of worldwide consumer marketing at Lenovo, tells TechNewsWorld.

The folks at Digital Trends website tried the tablet at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and here's what they had to say.

"Is it really that much fun? We decided to put it to the test with a game of air hockey. Lenovo handed us a pair of unique capacitive-touch mallets and sent us to play," Digital Trends' Matt Smith writes.

"Though we did miss the feel and sound of a real puck the experience was far better than the cheap air hockey sets most people can afford. We had no problem sending the puck flying across the screen or blocking incoming shots. The only handicap was the glossy display which made the game difficult to enjoy in Lenovo’s brightly lit showcase."

The Horizon tablet includes games like Monolopy — buyers will have access to gaming and educational apps from Electronic Arts, FableVision, Open Labs, Ubisoft,FilmOn TV and BlueStacks — and comes with a variety of accessories: four joysticks, four sir-hockey "sliders," and a Bluetooth-enabled e-dice.

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Will it take off? Andrew Eisner at Retrevo, a consumer electronic review website, thinks it just might.

"You'll see computers attached to walls as a fixture, on kitchen counters and coffee tables," he predicts, claiming the Horizon fits into the world of "ubiquitous computing."

"The horizontal mode is really a working mode for a lot of people," Eisner adds. "People read and play games on a horizontal surface."

Analyst Patrick Moorhead predicts the super-sized multi-user horizontal tablet will eventually become an office staple, not just a means for keeping the family playing together.

"This form factor will be part of the office of the future," claims Moorhead. "Collaborating on one display will add richness and depth to discussions and make a meeting more of a participation activity versus a passive one."

The Horizon won the "Best of CES" award for PC and tablet products at the consumer electronics trade show.

The family-sized tablet is scheduled to start shipping this summer, with a starting price of around $1700 USD.

Would a multi-user tablet help encourage your family to spend more time together? Or are old-fashioned board games more your style? 

Watch the CBC video below from last summer reporting on a tablet explosion in Canada.

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