updated 08:25 pm EDT, Tue June 14, 2011
Lenovo IdeaPad and ThinkPad tablets confirmed
Lenovo's IdeaPad and ThinkPad tablets were confirmed by company president Rory Read in an interview that also had Lenovo keeping out of the US smartphone race for now. Both of the tablets would have 10-inch screens, ship with Android 3, and cost between $450 to $900 depending on the model, he told Dow Jones. The IdeaPad K1 should be ready by July and could be followed by the pro-oriented ThinkPad edition as soon as August.
A 10-inch Windows 7 tablet was still coming late in the year in spite of Windows 8 expectations. Read also confirmed at least one seven-inch tablet, though he didn't admit to its using Android.
He emphasized that Lenovo's long delay in getting tablets out was to polish the experience and get a "strong" design. Unlike Motorola and Samsung, both of which went with stock Android to rush out competitors to the iPad, Lenovo's IdeaPad (also known as the LePad) uses a customized interface Read hoped would stand out. "We only have one opportunity to make that first good impression," he said.
Lenovo wouldn't into US smartphones, the executive added. He called the American market a "very crowded space" and didn't see any offerings for another 12 to 18 months. The company already has its Android-based LePhone but wanted to get a bigger foothold in China before going abroad.
While the subject of Apple didn't come up directly, Read was more willing to side with the iPad maker on the survivability of netbooks. Tablets could make up about 15 percent of computer sales within three years. The president saw crashing netbook revenue as the end of the category rather than a blip or adjustment that companies like Acer and ASUS have hoped for. "Netbooks are pretty much over," he argued.