Lenovo is using this week's Consumer Electronics Show to unveil its new line of IdeaPad laptops, emphasizing refreshed designs and new features, such as ultra-fast boot times. For media and consumers interested in the tech industry's tablet craze though, the company's most interesting item on display could be the IdeaPad U1 with LePad Slate, which offers both Windows and an Android-based OS in one hybrid laptop-tablet package.
The manufacturer's new IdeaPad Y570d, Y570 and Y470 laptops include the Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 for Windows 7 standard, which reportedly leverages RapidBoot technology to boot machines some 20 seconds faster than possible with the "typical Windows 7 computer." Of those models, both the Y470 and Y570 can use Lenovo RapidDrive SSD technology to boot in less than 10 seconds. The line will make its debut in May, starting at $899.99.
Meanwhile, Lenovo's IdeaPad Z570, Z470 and Z370 laptops are seeking to compete in the "stylish" laptop category, at least based on the company's emphasis on the device's transparent covers and minimalist style. Under the hood, the Z Series features second-generation Intel Core i7 processors with Intel I Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, and that same Enhanced Experience 2.0 for presumably faster boot-times.
The IdeaPad S100 and S205 also feature an ultra-slim design, with the 10.1-inch S100 weighing in at less than 2.2 pounds. Those will make their debut in March 2011, selling for $329.99.
Lenovo's making more of a security angle with the IdeaPad V370, V470 and V570, emphasizing their OneKey Rescue System for data backup and recovery, and a Lenovo Security Suite with a variety of security tools-for the truly paranoid, the V series also comes with a Fingerprint Reader. Intended primarily as devices for consumers and SMBs, the V Series includes second-generation Intel Core processors and fast booting. Those laptops will hit the street April, starting at $599.99.
For those looking for something a little more unconventional, Lenovo's latest hybrid laptop, the IdeaPad U1 with LePad Slate, is also making its debut this week at CES. The device features a removable screen that doubles as a 10.1-inch tablet with an operating system based on Android 2.2; when connected to the keyboard base, it relies on Windows 7.
For its part, Lenovo probably hopes that the combination of traditional laptop and tablet-not to mention pairing Windows and Android-will produce a pleasing synergy along the lines of peanut butter and chocolate. While laptops with fold-away keyboards and touch-screens have been a staple of manufacturers' lineups for some time, hybridized notebook-tablets find themselves confronting a host of new and upcoming tablets at CES 2011.
In the face of that massive competition, Lenovo asserts that the two-pound IdeaPad U1 with LePad Slate is one of the few devices capable of serving both laptop users' need for mobile productivity and tablet users' desire for something lightweight. A front-facing camera allows for pictures and video-chat.
"Our IdeaPad U1 and LePad truly fit today's mobile lifestyle," Liu Jun, senior vice president of Lenovo's Idea Product Group, wrote in a Jan. 5 statement. "Use the lightweight slate when you're mobile, and then simply slide it into the U1 base when you need to create and edit content. Consumers shouldn't have to adapt their lifestyle to technology, and this product delivers twice the functionality and fun in one device."
The device will debut in China in the first quarter. A Lenovo spokesperson told eWEEK Jan. 4 that the LePad Slate will only be available in China and unique to that market, but "we do plan on offering similar slate products and the U1 outside of China and in the U.S. sometime later this year."