LAS VEGAS--We thought we had seen everything Lenovo was ready to throw at us at CES 2011 in the laptop/tablet universe, but a surprise new addition was unveiled late last night: a Windows version of the LePad slate coming later this year, tentatively called the IdeaPad Slate.
The 10-inch tablet has nearly the same hardware design as the LePad, with different internal components: the same flash storage, but a next-gen Intel Atom CPU instead of the LePad's Qualcomm Snapdragon. The Windows tablet, at this point not officially named, has a stylus for pen input as well as multitouch, which works much like other digitizer pens we've seen (not pressure-based).
Unlike the Android-based LePad, the Windows slate won't work with the U1 Hybrid laptop. However, it does have a software user interface shell developed by Lenovo that's similar to the Skylight operating environment we saw on the LePad. The IdeaPad Slate has a USB port, HDMI, and an SD card slot, giving it a relatively full set of inputs.
The co-development of Android and Windows tablets shows one thing clearly: manufacturers are hedging their bets, and still don't know which way the tablet era will go.