Chinese PC maker Lenovo said it launched its first tablet computer, the LePad, in China on Monday, marking the company’s entrance into one of the hottest emerging areas of the gadget sector.
Lenovo said the LePad will go on sale across China in its company stores as well as electronics retail chains, with online retail outlets already taking orders for the device.
The tablet has a 10.1-inch screen and a 1.3Ghz processor and uses Google’s Android 2.2 OS. Lenovo has said the tablet will also go on sale worldwide in June, although the company has not said in what specific markets.
The LePad comes in four configurations. The company has priced the Wi-Fi only version with 16GB and 32GB of memory at 3,499 yuan (US$534) and 3,999 yuan, respectively. A 3G version with Wi-Fi with 16GB of memory will be priced at 4,599 yuan, with the 32GB version priced at 5,299 yuan.
Lenovo has dominated the Chinese market, while at the same time growing to become the world’s fourth-largest PC maker. But the company is extending its reach into mobile devices and has begun developing tablets and smartphones.
Tablet shipments worldwide are projected to reach 54.8 million units in 2011, an increase of 181 percent from the previous year, according to research firm Gartner.