Lenovo's new tablets run both Google Android and Windows 7, and are being positioned as viable competitors in both the consumer and business spheres.
plunging into the tablet market with three new devices that run Google Android
and Windows 7.
other tablet manufacturers, which seem dedicated to challenging the Apple iPad
with devices aimed primarily at the consumer market, Lenovo seems keen on
tailoring its offerings to both the consumer and business spheres.
tablets include the IdeaPad Tablet P1, which features a 1.5GHz Intel processor
powering Windows 7, and the IdeaPad Tablet K1, whose dual-core 1GHz processor
from Nvidia supports Google Android 3.1. Both 10.1-inch devices are aimed at
consumers, although Lenovo is also positioning the P1 as a business tool. The
K1 includes some 40 preloaded apps, including Amazon's Kindle app and Documents
To Go, along with a proprietary social-networking app called SocialTouch.
upcoming Windows 8 is expected to be fully optimized for the tablet form factor
(and support system-on-a-chip architecture, in particular ARM-based systems),
Windows 7 does not have a substantial presence in the U.S. tablet market,
despite its support for touch screens. That being said, some business users who
need Windows to the exclusion of other systems, and who want a relatively
lightweight tablet, could gravitate to such an offering.
third device is a 10.1-inch ThinkPad tablet, also powered by an Nvidia
dual-core 1GHz processor, which runs Google Android 3.1. The ThinkPad offers
front and rear cameras (2 megapixels and 5 megapixels, respectively), an
optional keyboard dock and 8 hours' battery life.
In a bid to
appeal to consumer audiences, Lenovo claims its Android tablets are the first
certified for Netflix, which could possibly sway some cinephiles who use the
devices primarily as portable entertainment hubs. The K1 and the ThinkPad can
access Android Market and Lenovo's App Shop, which is billed as an online
storefront for applications tested specifically for those tablets.
always had its center of gravity in the business realm, and its tablets' other
features seem tailor-made for beleaguered IT administrators struggling to
integrate the touch-screen devices more seamlessly into their company's daily
workflow. The ThinkPad offers layered data security, for example, coupled with
business partner solutions such as anti-theft software and Citrix's virtual
application support. The IdeaPad P1 comes with Microsoft Security Essentials,
other tablets on the market, Lenovo is also emphasizing the optional use of a
stylus-referred to as a "digitizer pen"-as an input. The company is pricing the
16GB ThinkPad at $509 with the pen (and $479 without); the 32GB, WiFi-only
ThinkPad with pen will retail for $589. All variations of the device will
apparently hit U.S. store shelves sometime in August.
IdeaPad Tablet K1 will retail for $499 and also be generally available in the
United States in August. The IdeaPad Tablet P1 will reach market sometime in
the fourth quarter.
substantial competition in its bid to enter the tablet space. In addition to
the Apple iPad, devices such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Hewlett-Packard's
TouchPad are bidding for consumers' dollars. However, those other tablets have
yet to replicate the iPad's success, despite massive advertising campaigns.
Lenovo's challenge will be to somehow leverage its brand presence in ways that
make its tablets a viable alternative for both consumers and businesses.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.