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Lenovo boosts CES lineup with portable desktops

Lenovo is at CES this week to release a trio of new desktops, along with a media device that brings your content together.

The big news on these desktops is that they're not all just Windows desktops with big screens that stay in one place. There's one like that to be sure, but Lenovo is also betting on in-home portability and even Android.

The Lenovo Horizon 2 is the follow-up to last year's Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27in behemoth. Like the older Horizon, the Horizon 2 is a 27in touch-screen, around-the-house, portable all-in-one desktop PC that is at home in the living room, in the garden, or in the kids' playroom.

The new Horizon 2 is just 0.76in thin (compared to 1.17in) and about 7kg (down from 8kg), which improves portability and reduces bulk, despite the three USB ports, HDMI, and NFC. There's also a companion Android smartphone app that lets you share media (photos, videos, etc.) by resting the phone on the Horizon 2's screen, which will transfer files via the system's Aura interface (an improvement over last year's Aura screen).

A fourth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, optional QuadHD (2,560 x 1,440 resolution) screen, Nvidia GeForce graphics, and an optional hybrid SSHD drive also give the Horizon 2 a boost over its predecessor.

The next innovation is Lenovo's Android-powered little brother to the Horizon line: the Lenovo N308.

The N308 is a 19.5in , 1,600 x 900 resolution, Android-powered all-in-one desktop that's meant to be a large screen alternative to portable tablets and smartphones. It's got an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor powering the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. Unlike the competing HP Slate 21, the N308 comes with an internal battery (3 hours estimated) and an accelerometer, so the N308 will have much more of the functionality you expect.

The N308 has an easel-style arm that can fold flat so you can use the system in a variety of angles, including horizontally on a table. There's a two-point touch screen, hard drive storage, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and connectivity including two USB ports. The N308 weighs in at about 4kg, and will arrive in February.

The desktop goodness continues with the Lenovo A740 all-in-one desktop. The A740 is Lenovo's new traditional Windows-based touch-screen desktop, with a thin 4mm, 27in display. The screen is on a dual-hinge arm that allows for a range of motion from -5 degrees to a flat orientation. The PC components are in the base, allowing Lenovo to make the screen lighter and thinner. Like the Horizon 2, the A740 features NFC connectivity, fourth-generation Intel Core processors up to Core i7, optional Nvidia GeForce graphics (up to GeForce GTX), and optional Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. The A740 will also be available in June.

Tying all these together with your mobile devices is the Lenovo Beacon personal cloud storage device. The Beacon is a central storage for your media and documents, upgradable to 6TB internally (2x3TB), with hot-swap HDD bays. The Beacon has 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G, and Ethernet connectivity to the Internet, so you can access your files over the local network or over the Internet using your PC or Android device.

The Beacon differentiates itself from plain home NAS systems by including an HDMI-out port so you can view your media from a HDTV connected to the Beacon. USB 3.0 ports can add to the Beacon's storage or be used to one-touch download media files from a hard drive or USB stick. Like other personal cloud storage devices, you can grant and limit access to folders and files to family members and other users on the Internet.

See what else we're looking forward to this year in Las Vegas in our CES 2014 preview.

Image: Flickr (Cory M. Grenier)