Lenovo to Upgrade ThinkPad Tablet to Android 4.0 in Q2

Lenovo plans to upgrade its popular ThinkPad Tablet to the latest version of the Android 4.0 operating system in the second quarter this year, the company said on Monday.

The ThinkPad Tablet was launched in July last year as a business tablet. The tablet retails starting at $479 and runs on Android 3.1, which is code-named Honeycomb.

Lenovo in the past has said that upgrades to Android 4.0 would be delivered over the air to its ThinkPad and IdeaPad tablets, but had not provided specific guidance on dates.

The upgrade will provide users access to the latest version of Android 4.0, which provides user interface, connectivity, application and multimedia improvements. The OS, which is designed for both smartphones and tablets, also improves encryption layers for data and e-mail security, which could appeal to enterprise users. The new OS also provides administrators more stronger remote control over tablets.

However, the Android 4.0 upgrade may not enable some hardware-specific features such as Android Beam, which uses NFC (near-field communications) technology to share Web content, maps and directions between tablets by simply tapping. The ThinkPad Tablet does not have NFC features yet.

But the upgrades should provide Lenovo a leg-up over other competition from Cisco, which sells the enterprise-focused Cius tablet with Android. Cisco did not immediately respond to requests for comment on when it would upgrade the Cius.

Upgrades to Android 4.0, which is code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, are already trickling out for a few tablets. Asus is already delivering upgrades over-the-air to Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablets, but some users are experiencing install problems.

The ThinkPad Tablet has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 1.65 pounds (0.75 kilograms) and provides eight hours of battery life.

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