Lenovo Planning Tablet PCs for 2011: Report

Lenovo will launch tablet PCs in the United States starting in 2011, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal.

Lenovo will launch a tablet PC in the U.S. market starting in 2011, according to a Nov. 12 report in The Wall Street Journal. That would mark yet another manufacturer entering the burgeoning tablet market, currently dominated by Apple's iPad.

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing offered few details about the tablet to the Journal, but suggested the device will also launch in China. In the meantime, Lenovo apparently aims to outsize Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer: "We will keep growing faster than the market average, than the competition," Yang told the newspaper.

If the report proves accurate, it would suggest Lenovo also plans to challenge the likes of Samsung and Research In Motion, which are producing tablet devices to compete with the iPad.

RIM plans to market its PlayBook tablet PC for less than $500 in North America, according to news circulating earlier this week. The 7-inch device will likely arrive on store shelves in the first quarter of 2011, sold through a combination of carriers and stores such as Target and Best Buy.

In the meantime, Samsung is attempting to bulldoze its way into the tablet market with the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, which is offered on five major U.S. carriers. J.K. Shin, president of Samsung's mobile business, reportedly told an audience during a Nov. 4 press conference in Seoul that he expects sales of 1 million Tab units by the end of 2010.

Samsung could also produce future tablets with varying screen sizes. "Various tablet sizes will be launched by many companies next year," Shin told the press conference. "In order to cement our strong presence in the tablet market, Samsung is preparing other kinds of tablet devices."

Analysts generally expect the tablet market to expand rapidly over the next few years.

"The tablet wars are up and running," Neil Mawston, a Strategy Analytics director, wrote in a Nov. 2 statement accompanying the research firm's newest report on the tablet market. "Apple has quickly leveraged its famous brand, an extensive retail presence and user-friendly design to develop the tablet market into a multibillion-dollar business. Android, Microsoft, MeeGo, WebOS, BlackBerry and other platforms are trailing in Apple's wake, and they already have much ground to make up."

Strategy Analytics estimated the iPad's hold on the worldwide tablet market at 95.5 percent. However, competing devices are only beginning to enter that market, suggesting that market-share percentages could change rapidly if one of them proves a hit.