Lenovo Tablets Shape Up For Work Or Leisure

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Lenovo’s tablets support Android or Windows 7 and are positioned both for consumer and business spheres

Lenovo is plunging into the tablet market with three new devices that run Google Android or Windows 7.

Unlike other tablet manufacturers, which seem dedicated to challenging the Apple iPad with devices aimed primarily at the consumer market, Lenovo seems keen on tailoring its offerings to both the consumer and business spheres.

Lenovo’s tablets include the IdeaPad Tablet P1, which features a 1.5GHz Intel processor powering Windows 7, and the IdeaPad Tablet K1, whose dual-core 1GHz processor from Nvidia supports Google Android 3.1. Both 10.1-inch devices are aimed at consumers, although Lenovo is also positioning the P1 as a business tool. The K1 includes some 40 preloaded apps, including Amazon’s Kindle app and Documents To Go, along with a proprietary social-networking app called SocialTouch.

While the upcoming Windows 8 is expected to be fully optimised for the tablet form factor (and support system-on-a-chip architecture, in particular ARM-based systems), Windows 7 does not have a substantial presence in the tablet market, despite its support for touch screens. That being said, some business users who need Windows to the exclusion of other systems, and who want a relatively lightweight tablet, could gravitate to such an offering.

Tablets Come With Business App Support

Lenovo’s third device is a 10.1-inch ThinkPad (pictured left) tablet, also powered by an Nvidia dual-core 1GHz processor, which runs Google Android 3.1. The ThinkPad offers front and rear cameras (two megapixels and five megapixels, respectively), an optional keyboard dock, and eight hours’ battery life.

In a bid to appeal to consumer audiences, Lenovo claims its Android tablets are the first certified for Netflix, which could possibly sway some US cinéastes who use the devices primarily as portable entertainment hubs. It is rumoured that Netflix may be coming to the UK soon to do battle with the likes of Amazon’s LoveFilm.

The K1 and the ThinkPad can access Android Market and Lenovo’s App Shop, which is billed as an online storefront for applications tested specifically for those tablets.

But Lenovo’s always had its centre of gravity in the business realm, and its tablets’ other features seem tailor-made for beleaguered IT administrators struggling to integrate the touch-screen devices more seamlessly into their company’s daily workflow. The ThinkPad offers layered data security, for example, coupled with business partner solutions such as anti-theft software and Citrix’s virtual application support. The IdeaPad P1 comes with Microsoft Security Essentials.

Unlike other tablets on the market, Lenovo is also emphasising the optional use of a digitiser pen – an electronic input device. The company is pricing the ThinkPad at 459€ to 629€ (£404 to £554). If it follows the US marketing, it will be available in Wi-Fi only, 16GB and 32GB versions, with or without the pen. All variations of the device will hit UK shops sometime in September.

The 32GB IdeaPad Tablet K1 (pictured right) will retail for £369 and will be generally available  in August. The IdeaPad Tablet P1 will reach market sometime in the fourth quarter.

Lenovo faces substantial competition in its bid to enter the tablet space. In addition to the Apple iPad, devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Hewlett-Packard’s TouchPad are bidding for consumers’ dollars. However, those other tablets have yet to replicate the iPad’s success, despite massive advertising campaigns. Lenovo’s challenge will be to somehow leverage its brand presence in ways that make its tablets a viable alternative for both consumers and businesses.

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