At the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain on Monday, Lenovo unveiled its upgraded Lenovo Connect e-SIM feature, which could help international business travelers stay connected without swapping SIM cards or paying for expensive roaming plans.
"Lenovo Connect gives users a seamless connection and local wireless pricing even when they are abroad by taking advantage of local Telco contract for data," a Lenovo press release said. "Users can even share the same plan across devices when those devices are enabled with Lenovo Connect."
Windows laptops with 4G LTE connectivity have been available for quite some time, but the process for staying connected internationally can be clunky and frustrating. Many cellular carriers that offer global roaming don't allow tethering when that feature is enabled, meaning that users have to rely on local SIM cards or internationally-supported hotspots.
By eliminating the need to swap a SIM card, or to purchase a separate plan for international data, Lenovo is relieving a major pain point for many global business travelers. If it rolls the feature out to some of its high-end laptops, it could help the brand continue to win fans in the enterprise.
The new e-SIM feature was announced alongside a host of new devices, including the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus smartphones and the Tab 4 series tablets. The press release also highlighted Lenovo's new Miix 320, which will eventually be able to take advantage of the e-SIM feature.
The Miix 320 is a Windows 10 detachable that can be used as a laptop with a full keyboard, or a tablet. It includes a 10.1-inch display, and it utilizes Windows Continuum technology to manage the switch between laptop and tablet modes. The press release also said that it can retain up to 10 hours of battery life which, combined with the new connectivity, could make it ideal for long trips out of the country. Prices will start at €399 (roughly $423) upon launch.
Additionally, Lenovo also debuted its Yoga 720 and Yoga 520 convertible laptops. The machines are thinner and lighter than previous generations, and both models utilize the 7th generation Intel Core i7 processors. For added security, the Yoga 720 comes with a fingerprint scanner, which is optional for the Yoga 520, the release said.
According to the release, the new Lenovo Connect e-SIM technology will be coming to the Miix 320 detachable in the first quarter of 2017, and will expand to some Yoga convertibles later in the year.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Lenovo Connect e-SIM is a new feature that will allow business travelers to stay connected internationally, without the need for a local SIM or separate plan.
- Users will also be able to share the same plan across connected devices, as long as they are enabled with the Lenovo Connect e-SIM feature.
- Lenovo's new e-SIM feature will first come to the Miix 320 detachable, a new Windows 10 device, in early 2017.
- Windows 10: Microsoft to release SIM card to help users stay online (TechRepublic)
- ZTE attains 2.6Gbps speeds across 4G network (ZDNet)
- Taiwan does travel SIMs properly: Unlimited data on LTE-A (TechRepublic)
- Cisco brings 5G architecture to Verizon's mobile network trials (ZDNet)
- Cruising connected: How to stay online when traveling the world (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.