Lenovo is hoping to shake up the tablet market with three new devices scheduled to hit its home base of China as early as December.
Ranging in size from 5 to 10 inches, the new tablets will be branded under Lenovo's LePad name in China but will be known as the IdeaPad in other countries, follow-ups to the current IdeaPad K1.
At a mere 5 inches, the LePad S2005 is somewhat of a cross between a phone and a tablet in size, prompting Engadget to dub the device a tabletphone.
Outfitted with Android 2.3, the S2005 is powered by a Qualcomm dual-core 1.2GHz chip, according to Lenovo's Chinese Web site (English translation). The screen offers an 800x480-pixel display with a 178-degree viewing angle. A 1.3-megapixel camera graces the front, while a 5-megapixel camera can be found in back. The S2005 also includes a Micro-USB port, a Micro-HDMI port, and HSPA+ cellular connectivity.
And although Engadget christened the S2005 a tabletphone, the device functions strictly as a tablet, similar to. So consumers would still need a third-party VoIP service like Skype to make phone calls. Lenovo is marketing the device as a tablet.
No price has been released, but Engadget claims that the device will reach Chinese consumers in just a couple of days, so all could be revealed then. The sitethat Lenovo was working on such a gadget last week.
Some may question who would buy a tablet so close in size to a smartphone, especially since Dell failed in this area. Lenovo seems to be hedging its bets by also releasing 7-inch and 10-inch tablets.
Powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core chip, the new S2007 (English translation) and S2010 (English translation) tablets will initially come with Android Honeycomb 3.2, but Lenovo plans to provide upgrades to Ice Cream Sandwich down the road. The S2007 will offer a 1024x600-pixel display, while the S2010 will bump that up to 1280x800 pixels. Both screens will offer an IPS display, Lenovo said.
A 1.3-megapixel camera faces front, while an 8-megapixel camera is on the rear. The two larger-size tablets will also be equipped with dual-mode 3G (China Telecom's EV-DO plus China Unicom's WCDMA) for both data and voice calls.
The tablets differ in battery life. The S2007 houses a battery that can last up to eight hours on Wi-Fi, while the S2010 uses a heftier battery that can stay charged for up to 11 hours.
A Lenovo representative confirmed to CNET that all three tablets will be available in China over the next couple of months. There are no current plans to launch them in other countries, but the representative said Lenovo will continue to assess their market potential.
To tie the new tablets and other Lenovo devices together, the company is launching a new service called Lenovo Cloud. Offering 200GB of online storage, Lenovo Cloud will automatically back up and sync data from multiple devices. Users will also be able to view content across as many as four devices at the same time. Those devices will include not just tablets and smartphones, but also Lenovo's new smart-TV product, dubbed LeTV, which is due to reach consumers in the first quarter of 2012.
"Changes in the industry have brought huge innovative opportunities to [the] PC field," Lenovo Group Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a statement. "The PC is no longer just the traditional keyboard and screen, but has extended into tablets, smartphones, smart TV, and other forms."
Updated at 11:00 a.m. PT with information directly from Lenovo.