updated 11:10 am EDT, Wed April 2, 2008
Lenovo IdeaPad U8
Lenovo today with Intel's help confirmed that it will be one of the first companies to produce a Mobile Internet Device (MID) based on Intel's Atom processor with a new all-in-one device. The IdeaPad U8 will serve as a hybrid communicator and media player and will pack multiple control schemes to match: users can tap a 5-inch touchscreen to navigate menus, browse the web via Firefox, or other complex functions, but also use a unique optical joystick that substitutes as a mouse pointer and lets an owner steer the device with one hand.
A number pad on the device also reveals its role as a cellular device. The U8 will include support for 2G (EDGE) and 3G mobile data as well as calling; a front camera is also built-in for video chat that will likely be supported through Yahoo Messenger in addition to a back camera for capturing photos and movies. Wi-Fi has not been mentioned, though the handheld will support GPS navigation.
Most features of the IdeaPad have not been discussed, including its likely release date or its price. However, the MID is being aimed in part at China and will likely see a launch there within the next few months as well as in English-speaking countries.
Other companies are expected to follow in Lenovo's footsteps, which are based in part on Intel's guidelines for creating MID devices. LG, Toshiba, and other manufacturers have also developed prototypes, while Apple is reportedly designing a multi-touch tablet that recent reports have suggested may use an Atom processor at its heart.