updated 10:05 am EST, Fri February 18, 2011
Lenovo LePad global in June for below 450
Lenovo's LePad tablet will ship outside of its home country in June for a price that could break the symbolic $500 mark, a representative said at the end of the week. PCWorld was told it would reach Lenovo's native China by late March but have a global release in June. The Android tablet would come in between $399 and $449, or as much as $100 below the iPad and possibly undercutting most other Wi-Fi only tablets.
It could be the first major, widely available 10-inch tablet below the $500 mark. Companies such as Samsung have had difficulty crossing the barrier even with seven-inch designs such as the Galaxy Tab. The 3G edition has cost as much as $100 more, and a Wi-Fi only edition has yet to materialize in stores even as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been made official.
The LePad has had a troubled history getting to market and has taken on increasing urgency for a company that now is concerned it might be overrun by Apple if it doesn't join in the mobile space. It first unveiled what would become the LePad in January 2010 and struggled with the design enough that, half a year later, it scrapped the one-time custom Linux OS entirely for Android. Plans to make it an inherent part of the IdeaPad U1 notebook were also shelved, turning the U1 into more of a companion.
The shift to mobile has been considered vital enough that Lenovo finally started a mobile division with smartphones and tablets both in mind.