Lenovo Group is rolling out its latest tablet PC.
The worlds third largest computer maker announced Nov. 14 that it would start selling its second mobile tablet PC—the ThinkPad X60—next month. In June 2005, the company launched its first tablet PC—the ThinkPad X41.
In its effort to improve on the X41 model, Lenovo, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., wanted to offer users a more usable and feature-rich tablet PC.
In building the X60, the company offered a 12-inch, high-resolution display that adjusts to indoor and outdoor use, said Mike Hagerty, the worldwide segment manager for the ThinkPad X series.
The tablet also offers a touch screen that allows users to move the curser with either the tablets pen or their finger, Hagerty said. The X60s screen rotates 170 degrees and offers a feature called "Active Rotate," which orients the screen to the user.
The X60 tablet will weigh about 3.8 pounds and offer a battery life of 7.5 hours, Hagerty said.
"Overall, we wanted a very useable and a very mobile product," Hagerty said. "We are very excited because we think this is a fantastically engineered notebook."
The new tablet comes with either Intels Core Solo processor, which runs at 1.20GHz or one of two low-voltage Core Duo processors. The L2400 processor runs at 1.66GHz and the L2500 runs at 1.88GHz.
Lenovo has also offered 4GB of RAM, either a 100GB or a 120GB hard drive, Bluetooth 2.0 wireless technology, IEEE 802.11n technology and an embedded WWAN.
Lenovo is betting that the ThinkPad X60 will appeal to professionals in the health care field, government services, as well as academia and higher education.
The new X60 tablet, which carries a listed price of $1,799, will start shipping in December 2006, although Lenovo will immediately start taking orders on certain models.
Among tablet PC makers, Lenovo ranks second behind Toshiba, according to an analysis of sales in the second quarter of 2006 by Gartner. Hewlett-Packard and Fujitsu, according to Gartner, round out the top four.
By the end of 2006, PC markers will have sold nearly one million tablets, said Leslie Fiering, a research vice president at Gartner.
While some analysts have expressed doubts about how readily enterprises will adapt tablet PCs, Fiering said that Gartners research shows a slow but steady growth of tablets.
Tablets have made the most gains in vertical markets, such as higher education and health care, although the PCs have not made a significant showing in mainstream businesses.
This lack of interest by traditional enterprises is partly due to the average price of a tablet PC as well as performance and design, Fiering said.
"Weve always been very bullish on tablets," Fiering said. "Right now, they are appearing in enough verticals to keep the sales alive."
These tablet PCs should also get a boost when Microsoft releases its Vista operating system, which will have all its tablet features rolled into the software. Previously, Microsoft issued a separate OS for tablets called Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
The ThinkPad X60 will ship with the Windows Tablet OS, but Hagerty said the tablets are Vista ready. Like Fiering, Hagerty believes Vista will help boost tablet sales.