The ThinkPad X41 tablet includes a writable slate with a 12-inch screen as well as a full-size keyboard. Sporting a quad-metal alloy hinge that lets it look like either a slate tablet or a notebook, the tablet weighs in at a mere 3.5 pounds, said officials at Lenovo in Purchase, N.Y. It runs Microsofts Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005.
The Tablet also comes with a digitized pen that does not require batteries, unlike some of its competitors. Besides the features that make it a tablet, the new ThinkPad includes a fingerprint reader as well as all of the functions found on the existing X41 ThinkPad notebook PC.
Microsoft Corp. introduced its first Tablet PC operating system in fall 2002, but IBM avoided the fray because IBMs past efforts at tablets had flopped, and because officials thought the market was too much of a niche at the time. Officials said they still see dont see the tablet PC as a horizontal market product.
But in the past year or so, customers in fields such as health care and insurance have been asking for a tablet, officials said. The ThinkPad X41 was in the works at IBM well before the Lenovo acquisition, they added.
"When Microsoft first came out with the operating system, it did so with the thought that this was a great horizontal platform," said Mike Hagerty, worldwide manager for the ThinkPad X series.
"We didnt think the time was right then. … Were coming in now because we see interest from a few key vertical markets and a fairly high percentage of customers in those industries who are not just running trials, but turning those trials into deployments."
The ThinkPad X41 will be available June 14. Pricing starts at $1,899.
Meanwhile, Itronix this month will begin shipping the Duo-Touch Tablet PC, so named because it includes both a passive touchscreen and a standard, pen-based digitizer. Aimed at and ruggedized for the transportation market, the Duo-Touch Tablet also includes an optional GPS (Global Positioning System) radio, in addition to optional WAN, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.
It is built upon the companys Common Radio Module Architecture, which makes it easier to add and upgrade radios, officials said. It also sports a more rugged case than its predecessors, and was designed to withstand rain, wind, dust, shock and other inclement conditions, said officials at Itronix in Spokane, Wash. The Duo-Touch also runs Windows XP. Its list price is $3,195.