Lenovo IdeaTab Tablet Thinner, Lighter, Less Pricey Than iPad

Lenovo's IdeaTab is a $350, 9.7-inch tablet that's slightly thinner and lighter than the iPad, runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and offers a dual-core processor.

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Lenovo continues to prove it's ready to make a name for itself with U.S. consumers. On May 30, it enhanced its tablet lineup with the addition of the IdeaTab S2109, a 1.27-pound, one-third-inch-thin slab of multimedia savvy running Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich.

Behind the scenes is a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core processor and 1GB of system memory. It offers 720p high-definition video playback, or full 1080p HD via a micro-HDMI (micro-High Definition Multimedia Interface) output to an HDTV or external monitor. To enhance the sound, whether for gaming or movie watching, there are four SRS surround-sound speakers.

Battery life is said to be up to 10 hours€”or 700 hours of standby time€”and there are connection ports like a micro-USB and a micro-SD, in addition to the micro-HDMI.

The 9.7-inch tablet has an In-Plane Switching (IPS) display that Lenovo calls "beautiful" and "extra-bright," though it's hard to imagine it matching the new iPad, with its 9.7-inch "resolutionary" Retina display, as Apple likes to call it.

In addition to weight and depth (the iPad comes in at 1.44 pounds and 0.37 inches), the IdeaTab bests the iPad on price. While the Apple starts at $499, the Lenovo starts at $349.

Will $50 help to win over hearts, if even eyeballs? Apple is expected to control a majority share of the tablet market through at least 2015, but that still leaves a good portion of market share for the Android supporters to squabble over€”and further fight to hold ground against models running Microsoft Windows 8, expected later this year.

Lenovo broke ground on a new facility in China early this month, where it plans to invest $800 million on mobile Internet product research and development, as well as sales, looking to capture more of the smartphone and tablet markets.

Around May 8, in China, it also introduced the Lenovo Smart TV, the first to run Android 4.0 and a dual-core, 1.5GHz processor from Qualcomm. The television's Six In One Smart Remote Controller integrates touch, voice, a gravity sensor, a smart keyboard, an "air mouse" and traditional remote functions.

"As a global leader in the PC industry," Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a statement at the time, "our customers look to us to provide new technologies, and as we drive further into the PC-Plus era, we will continue to introduce new products worldwide."

At a New York press event in April, a Lenovo team joked about the company's lack of brand recognition stateside, saying people often mistook it for a pharmaceutical company, despite its being the world's second-largest PC maker. The team then went on to show off a range of products that it hopes will help to imprint the Lenovo brand in consumers' minds. These include the IdeaPad Yoga€”an incredibly flexible, four-in-one device€”and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook, a pencil-thin, 14-inch Ultrabook.

No wallflower either, the IdeaTab, Lenovo said in a statement, injects a "healthy dose of swagger" into the Lenovo tablet line. Yao Li, director of Lenovo's Innovation Product Operations, went on to call its features "amped-up" and the IdeaTab itself an "entertainment maven's dream device."