updated 07:40 pm EDT, Sun April 24, 2011
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet to use Honeycomb and pens
Lenovo's plans for Android tablets beyond the Le Pad should take it into professional models based on a leaked presentation from Sunday. Called the ThinkPad Tablet, it would be the first known Lenovo slate with Android 3.0 and would make software customizations beyond just including the PC builder's already known Family UI interface. This is my next's copy of the slides showed "seamless integration" with corporate environments that would load up Cisco remote security tools, Computrace to find stolen tablets, as well as local security tools from McAfee and Symantec.
The 10-inch tablet would be a virtual clone of others launched so far with a 1280x800 resolution, an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and capacities ranging between 16GB and 64GB, but Lenovo would again try to cater to professionals with features unintentionally borrowed from other Android 3.0 producers. Like the HTC Flyer, it will have a stylus (though optional) for hand-drawn notes. A keyboard dock like that with the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer should also come and will have a trackpad to match. Whether or not it will have its own battery wasn't evident.
Lenovo would opt for a high-quality IPS screen like Apple and ASUS, though the tablet would be bulkier than the new generation at 1.6 pounds and 0.55 inches thick. Battery life might also top out at eight hours. A mirroring of Lenovo's usual expansion strategy would see it ship options for 3G and 4G data as well as provide full-size and micro USB, HDMI, and SD card slots.
Test samples of the ThinkPad Tablet would be ready by June, but shipments wouldn't start until July or August. Pricing would be a competitive $499, but whether or not Lenovo planned to make the tablet readily available in stores or would limit it to online sales was still left to speculation.
Android tablets in the workplace are still very young and have virtually no presence in a climate so far dominated by the iPad. Lenovo may be the first to seriously test Apple's workplace position by relying both on enterprise-level software and the assumptions that go behind its brand name.