CES 2011: Lenovo unmasks LePad tablet and IdeaPad U1 hybrid dock
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The Consumer Electronics Show or CES at Las Vegas this year has been seeing some cool products debuting, Lenovo has not stayed far behind in the race. One of the products unveiled by the company that deserves notice is the LePad tablet. The veil on this tablet has been lifted almost six month ago, post the company disclosed plans to develop an Android based tablet.
The LePad has been introduced together with a hybrid dock that effectively transforms the pair into a netbook running Windows. Along with the LePad tablet and its dock, the CES was also used as a platform by Lenovo to showcase a prototype tablet called the IdeaPad Slate that runs natively on Windows 7. The Intel Atom processor has been used in the IdeaPad Slate instead of the ARM processing capabilities, and although appearance wise it is similar to the LePad, but it does not support OS switching as the LePad does.
The LePad appearance wise bears close resemblance to the iPad, considering both devices showcase a matte silver rim surrounding the black glass bezel that coats the front of the LCD. Processing of the LePad is enhanced by an intelligent 1.3GHz Snapdragon CPU. Initially upon demonstration the LePad featured Google’s Android 2.2 OS, which was not suitable for the 10-inch touch screen that the LePad sports, however this version will still be available in the Chinese market. Lenovo however has made rectifications by developing its own in house user interface to compliment the screen size of the LePad. The American launch is being postponed until Google provides an optimum Android solution for the device.
The IdeaPad U1 hybrid which is the LePad and its dock, allows for multiple functionalities. When the LePad is isolated from its dock, an OS built for touch input can be worked with. And when it is connected to the dock, it seamlessly switches to Windows 7. Thus the LePad differentiates itself from Samsung's Sliding PC 7 which may be less expensive than the LePad but invariably restricts users to the desktop OS in both the tablet and netbook modes.
Price and shipping
The Chinese market will see The LePad and IdeaPad U1 soon enough in the first quarter of this year. The standalone tablet being pegged at a price tag of RMB 3,499 or around $520 USD, and the tablet/dock U1 package is to be sold for RMB 8,888 i.e. roughly around $1,300 USD. A simple keyboard dock, pretty much identical to the IdeaPad Slate dock, although customized for Android, can be purchased for a market price for around $100 USD. This simple keyboard dock can prove useful for users do not require the Windows feature but can do with a full keyboard.