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Tired of tiny tablets? Lenovo introduces humongous IdeaCentre tablet

Matthew ShaerThe Christian Science Monitor

The iPad Mini, which was introduced last year by Apple, was intended for users who wanted to be able to pick up their tablet with a single hand (the device, as Apple put it memorably in a press release, is "thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper"). The new Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, on the other hand, is for users who care not a whit for weight, and want a whole lot of screen real estate.

The IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC, pictured above, is big. Classroom desk big. 27-inches big. (By comparison, the iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch screen, and the regular iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.) Introducing the device at CES this week, Lenovo said the Horizon was designed for "multi-user, multi-touch" shared experiences – two users could play Monopoly on the Horizon, for instance, or create art on an app such as Color Corner.

Haul the Horizon to an upright position, and the device becomes a television set or a more traditional computer with a touchscreen.

"We've seen technology shifts across the four screens, from the desktop to the laptop, tablet and smartphone, and yet, while people have more computing power than ever before, there is still room for technologies like Horizon that bring people together," Peter Hortensius of Lenovo said in a statement. "Horizon makes personal computing interpersonal computing with shared, collaborative experiences among several people."

The Horizon, which runs the new Windows 8 operating system, has plenty of firepower, from the NVIDIA GeForce graphics to the Dolby audio and the Intel Core i7 processor. Lenovo estimates the device will be available this summer; prices will likely start at a hefty $1,699.

Our take: The Horizon could be a whole lot of fun – we love the idea of a tactile, shared gaming experience. At the same time, the market for this kind of extravagance – you could get three iPad tablets for the same price as one Lenovo Horizon – will likely be pretty small.

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