Lenovo Jumps into Tablet Market: 10 Features They Need to Succeed

News Analysis: Lenovo has showed off two new tablets that look promising. But they will need some important features to become a success in the increasingly crowded tablet market.

Lenovo is the latest company to jump into the tablet fray with its ThinkPad and IdeaPad K1 tablets. The company also unveiled its P1 Windows 7-based tablet, but this column will only focus on the prospects for the Android models.

At first glance, the ThinkPad and K1 are quite similar, offering 10.1-inch screens, Android 3.1 and the 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2processor. However, the ThinkPad option is designed for enterprise users, while the K1 is made for consumers.

By joining the tablet space, Lenovo is now going up against Apple and the countless number of Android tablet makers out there. Now Lenovo, like all the others that came before it, will need to find a way to differentiate its products and appeal to customers who might not want to buy an iPad.

Admittedly, doing so is difficult in today's crowded tablet space. The chances of Lenovo overcoming even the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to earn the second spot in the tablet space behind the iPad 2 are slim. But it doesn't mean it's impossible. With the right strategy and a few tweaks, Lenovo's tablets have a chance at becoming a success.

Read on to find out what Lenovo should do to make its K1 and ThinkPad tablets successful.

1. Focus on the screen size

One of the major advantages of Lenovo's tablets is their screen size. According to the company, both the ThinkPad tablet and the K1 offer 10.1-inch screens. The iPad 2, on the other hand, comes with just a 9.7-inch display. The difference might not be great, but in both the consumer and enterprise markets, larger screens are preferred. Lenovo must keep that in mind and make that a key component in its marketing.

2. Android 3.1 is integral to success

If Lenovo's tablets shipped with Android 3.0, they would be failures out of the gate. But by offering Android 3.1, the tablets are on the same level as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which also runs the operating system. Google's first foray in the tablet space with Android 3.0 was a bit of a misstep, but most critics agree that version 3.1 is a fine improvement. Lenovo should make it clear to customers that unlike some other Android tablets, its products are running the best version yet of Google's tablet platform.

3. A clear delineation

By selling two tablets, Lenovo is putting itself in an unenviable position. Rather than simply try to make customers get excited about a single tablet, the hardware maker must try and sell two different products aimed at two separate markets. In order to be successful at that, Lenovo needs to make it abundantly clear to customers that the ThinkPad is for businesses, and the K1 is for consumers. They should also be different enough to convince a tablet buyer that they should buy two tablets, one for their home and another for the office. If they seem too similar, Lenovo's tablets could have trouble finding a suitable marketplace.

4. Talk about pricing

According to Lenovo, it's selling the K1 tablet for just $499 for 32GB of storage. Apple's iPad, on the other hand, retails for $599 for the same amount of storage. The company's 16GB model goes for $499. That is a major selling point for Lenovo. As the economy still continues to struggle to turn around, consumers looking to get a tablet want the best value for their cash. Making them aware of its K1 pricing might help Lenovo appeal to those customers.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...