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Lenovo says businesses don't want slate devices

Lenovo's business customers say no to slates, indicating that the iPad may hit bumps in this market.

Lenovo refreshed its tablet-capable business laptop on Tuesday and made a very conscious decision not to bring out a slate device, saying customers don't want it.

ThinkPad X201
ThinkPad X201 Lenovo

Lenovo updated its x series tablet with a new x201 model that packs Intel's newest low-power Core i5 and i7 processors. In addition to the performance improvement that comes with the faster Core i series chips, the x201 also boasts better battery life over previous models, according to Mika Majapuro, senior worldwide product marketing manager at Lenovo.

Lenovo will stick with the tried-and-true Laptop-based convertible tablet designs and not bring out a slate device due to negative feedback from customers, an indication that Apple's iPad may face resistance at businesses. "We of course build plastic mock-ups that we show (to customers)...we had a slate form factor," Majapuro said. "The feedback was that for (our) customers it will not work because of the need to have (a physical) keyboard."

The most prominent example of a pure slate device is the Apple iPad, which has a virtual keyboard. Majapuro said the response from customers to slates was a surprise. "It was amazing to me. At first I didn't want to believe (our customers) but the keyboard was such a big need for them," he said.

Dual-screen ThinkPad W701ds
Dual-screen ThinkPad W701ds

Majapuro said Lenovo even got feedback from high school kids. "These were 14-year-old kids, who, I thought, would be most willing to try a virtual keyboard but they said no, we want the physical (built-in) keyboard."

Lenovo also announced 17-inch ThinkPad models, including the W701 and W701ds (dual screen) ThinkPad. These also come with new Intel Core i series processors.

Available in March, the X201 will start at $1,200, while the the W701 will start at $2,200.