Lenovo Announces ThinkPad Tablet for Businesses

Lenovo on Wednesday announced the ThinkPad Tablet for businesses, which runs on Google's Android 3.1 and blends consumer features such as a camera with business-oriented manageability tools.

The tablet has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 1.65 pounds (0.75 kilograms) and provides eight hours of battery life, Lenovo said. The business features enable system administrators to easily deploy and protect the device.

Lenovo also announced a consumer tablet called IdeaPad K1, which has Android 3.1 (code-named Ice Cream Sandwich). Lenovo already offers a 10.1-inch tablet called LePad, which runs Android and went on sale in China in March.

The ThinkPad and K1 have some common hardware features. The tablets have Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor and a 2.0-megapixel front camera and 5.0-megapixel back camera. The tablets also have mini-HDMI (high definition multimedia interface), USB 2.0 and SIM card ports and an SD card reader.

But the business features set the ThinkPad Tablet apart from K1, said Dilip Bhatia, vice president of the ThinkPad business at Lenovo. The tablet can be remotely disabled by IT administrators if lost or stolen, and Lenovo has partnered with Computrace to protect data on the device. Other security features include layered data encryption and support for Cisco VPN (virtual private network) to securely access corporate networks.

"It serves both work and play with key security and manageability features," Bhatia said.

The ThinkPad Tablet can run software such as IBM's Lotus Notes Traveler, a push e-mail service. Users can write using a stylus, and the tablet includes software that can convert handwritten notes to text. Other features include a touch-enabled drag-and-drop utility to move data from a USB key to internal storage or an SD card.

The tablet is expected to be available in the U.S. in August, a Lenovo spokeswoman said. The company said it will become available worldwide in the third quarter, though no specific date was provided. A 16GB Wi-Fi model is priced at US$499, and for an additional $30 users can buy a model with a digitizer pen.

With the tablet, Lenovo hopes to ride on the success of ThinkPad laptops, which are targeted at businesses. Enterprise tablets are already available from Cisco, which recently shipped the communication-focused Cius tablet, and Hewlett-Packard, which offers the Slate 500 based on the Windows 7 OS.

The IdeaPad K1 consumer tablet focuses on entertainment and is certified to work with Netflix, which can stream high-resolution 1080p movies directly to the device, said Ninis Samuel, global director for mobile and digital home product marketing at Lenovo.

The K1 interface provides quick access to key entertainment features. The Launch Zone application provides one-touch access to Web browser and other multimedia applications. An application called Social Touch puts e-mail and social network contacts in one place.

A device will become available on July 20 starting at $449 for 32GB of storage.

Lenovo also announced the IdeaPad P1 tablet, which has Windows 7 and an Intel Atom processor with a clock speed of 1.5GHz. That tablet is targeted at consumers and businesses, and will become available in the fourth quarter this year.

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