As Hewlett-Packard retreats from the tablet market, Lenovo continues its assault. The first ThinkPad Tablets are now available for purchase, the company said today.
The 10.1-inch ThinkPad may have a better shot at success than HP's now-defunct webOS-based TouchPad. It is built around Android, the most popular alternative to Apple's iOS, and is aimed at business, not the dicey consumer tablet market.
Part and parcel of Lenovo's appeal to business is the pen-based handwriting recognition technology to "digitally write, draw, and create content," according to Lenovo.
In the productivity department, typically a tablet weak point, the ThinkPad comes with Documents to Go by DataViz, allowing viewing and editing of Microsoft Office documents while synchronizing with desktops via USB or Bluetooth. And the tablet supports Citrix Receiver for accessing PC desktop applications when outside the office.
There is also manageability software for IT managers. Good for Enterprise "delivers secure corporate e-mail, and IT managers can...configure security and device settings with custom corporate preloads from Lenovo's Imaging Technology Center," Lenovo said.
Though HP's TouchPad also tried to appeal to business, it didn't come out of the gate as a strictly business-oriented product like the ThinkPad. Part of the reason for the TouchPad's quick demise was the exposure to the consumer market at stores like Best Buy. Retail outlets in the U.S. have not been able to move large numbers of non-Apple tablets in the face of the iPad's popularity.
And speaking of the iPad, ThinkPad hardware features not found on minimalist designs like the iPad include a full-size USB port, full-size SD card slot, and mini-HDMI for connecting to external displays.
Lenovo rates the battery life at 8.7 hours based on a Wi-Fi connection. The Corning Gorilla glass display uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology and offers a 178-degree viewing angle. Like many other Android tablets, it uses a dual-core Nvidia Tegra processor.
It is available for purchase immediately through business partners and online, a Lenovo spokeswoman said today. Three models are being offered for $499 (16GB), $569 (32GB), and $669 (64GB). There is also an option for mobile broadband and a keyboard folio case with optical TrackPoint.
For consumers, Lenovo already offers the Lenovo IdeaPad K1.