Well, Lenovo is certainly making up for lost time today. After first revealing its IdeaPad U1 about a year and a half ago at CES 2010 and some juicy ThinkPad tablet leaks, the company's finally ready to release its tablets into the market (or at least two of them). It's got a duo of Honeycomb 3.1 tablets — the IdeaPad K1 for consumers, that ThinkPad tablet for business professionals — and a single Windows 7 IdeaPad P1. Sure, Lenovo may seem late to the tablet game, but it looks like it's put the extra time to good use with an exclusive Netflix partnership and some real hardware differentiators on the ThinkPad Tablet. Hit the break for all the details you could possibly want as well as some short hands-on videos.
ThinkPad Tablet (16GB $499, August)
We hate to say we told you so, but, you know, we told you so. The ThinkPad tablet is almost exactly what we reported back in April — it's a 10.1-inch Honeycomb 3.1 tablet meant for the business crowd (though, we aren't really sure why you need to separate markets when it comes to tablets). It features a pretty impressive spec line-up with a 1280 x 800-resolution IPS display, Wi-Fi and 3G options (seems like the latter will hit a carrier very soon after launch), a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 24.1Wh battery. It's not the thinnest tablet on the block, but the .55-inch thick and 1.6-pound slab does house mini-HDMI, full-size USB 2.0, and micro USB ports. Also nestled into the edge are SIM and SD card slots.
But the accessories are the most captivating aspect of this package. For an extra $30, the ThinkPad Tablet will be available with an optional stylus and an N-Trig active digitizer that allows for taking precise notes on the screen. (And unlike the HTC Flyer there's an actual home for the pen on the edge!) As you can see in the video, there's a few apps that take advantage of the pen and there will be an app that converts handwriting to text, which is a giant step ahead of HTC's Flyer (or Evo View 4G). Taking a cue from the ASUS Transformer's book, the tablet is also available with a $99 keyboard portfolio dock, which has the classic ThinkPad nub smack in the middle of the chiclet panel.
Beyond all those hardware features, Lenovo's loaded up the slate with what appears to be some useful third-party apps. Not only are they partnering with Netflix, which makes the ThinkPad Tablet and the K1 the first Honeycomb tablets certified for the streaming movie service, but it's also packaged the ThinkTab (our name, not theirs) with enterprise friendly apps, including Cisco VPN and Computrace. We're planning to do an in-depth review of the ThinkPad tablet closer to its August release date, but check out the images and video below in the meantime.
IdeaPad K1 (16GB $449, July 20th)
Back in January, Lenovo launched the LePad in China, and well, the K1 is really the same thing. It's got virtually the same innards as the ThinkPad as well — an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800-resolution display (no IPS here) — but ditches the full-size ports for a mini-HDMI connector and MicroSD reader. That buys the .52-inch tablet a slightly trimmer body, but it still weighs a rather hefty 1.65 pounds with its integrated two-cell battery. (Remember the Galaxy Tab 10.1 weighs 1.24 pounds.)
On the software end, you can clearly see that Lenovo's employing its own Launch Zone Android 3.1 skin — though, it really seems more like a widget than a full-on software layer. On top of that, it's loaded it up with that aforementioned Netflix app and a slew of others, including Zinio, Kindle, mSpot, etc. Lenovo's also bundling both Android tablets with its own App Shop, confirming yet again that manufacturers are working hard to clean up the mess that is the official Honeycomb Market — naturally, the Lenovo spokesperson in the video is a bit more polite in his reasoning.
No where to be found is the IdeaPad U1 keyboard dock, which was originally supposed to house the organs of a regular laptop and transform the tablet into a Windows 7 PC. Lenovo had no details to share on that long-awaited product.
Oh, but those itching for some Windows 7 tablet action won't go neglected. (Assuming there's anyone actually itching for that.) There's always Lenovo's last slate offering — the IdeaPad P1. We don't have all that many details on this one, but it tips the scales at two pounds, packs a 1.5GHz Intel processor (we're thinking it'll hail from the Atom Oak Trail family), and there's an optional stylus. By and large it seems to be the same tablet Lenovo showed back at CES, but it still won't be hitting until Q4. Why anyone would buy a Win 7 tablet when Windows 8 is said to be on the way next year is a tough one, though we guess there's always updating. Either way, Lenovo's clearly not grasping for tablet offerings here, and something tells us it may not even be done with the options yet!
Lenovo Launches Three New Tablets
Tablet family gives consumers and business customers a variety of choices First Google Android "Honeycomb" 3.1 tablet certified for streaming from Netflix Global tablet portfolio delivers thousands of apps and services for consumers and business customers alike
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – July 20, 2011: Lenovo today announced its first family of tablets – the IdeaPad Tablet K1 for consumers, the ThinkPad Tablet for business customers, and the IdeaPad Tablet P1 for home and office use. The new Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 and ThinkPad Tablets are the Company’s first mobile internet devices featuring Google’s Android* 3.1 operating system, and the industry’s first tablets certified to deliver Netflix* video streaming. The Lenovo Android tablets also provide access to thousands of apps in the Android Market as well as apps tested for the Lenovo device in the Lenovo App Shop.
"Tablets are extremely personal technology devices. That’s why we’ve created a family of tablets that has something for everyone, including entertainment-friendly features and content for consumers, or business- friendly features to enhance productivity for professionals as well as security and manageability for IT Managers," said Liu Jun, senior vice president and president, Mobile Internet Digital Home business group, Lenovo. "So whether it’s the IdeaPad for entertainment or the ThinkPad for business, we have listened to our customers and are delivering Android tablets designed to meet their particular needs."
As the first Android-Honeycomb tablets certified for Netflix, Lenovo tablets can help turn every night into "movie night." With a full 1080p HDMI output coupled with Digital Rights Management (DRM) built directly into the IdeaPad and ThinkPad tablets, Netflix members can instantly watch movies and TV shows streaming from Netflix directly to a big screen TV,
"We’re very excited to see that TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix, will be available on Lenovo’s family of Android tablets," said Bill Holmes, Netflix vice president of Business Development. "This is not only an important development for our company as we seek to expand the benefits of our services to more people, it also means that consumers now have greater choice in selecting a tablet device that best fits their entertainment needs."
Building on Lenovo’s heritage of innovation, quality and reliability in PCs, Lenovo’s new tablets deliver an accelerated mobile experience. The IdeaPad and ThinkPad tablets feature NVIDIA* Tegra* 2 dual-core mobile processors that offer extreme multitasking, noticeably faster web browsing with build-in Flash, console-quality gaming and low power consumption for improved battery life.
"The Tegra 2 dual core processor is the perfect fit for Lenovo’s tablets," said Michael Rayfield, general manager, Mobile Business, NVIDIA. "Consumers can now enjoy the whole web with Flash*, console quality gaming, high definition video, and streaming Netflix. These are a must have for today’s tablets."
IdeaPad K1 Tablet: Open the Box and Play
Weighing just 1.6 lbs, the highly mobile IdeaPad K1 tablet offers integrated Bluetooth* and 802.11 Wi-Fi connectivity. The IdeaPad Tablet offers several key features and tools as standard, for flexibility, power and security to enjoy digital content anywhere. Simply put, the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet helps users who want:
More out of the box: Lenovo's Android 3.1 tablet is preloaded with more 40 apps from partners like Netflix, Amazon*, Adobe*, Electronic Arts*, Rovio*, Zinio*, Dataviz*, and others (over $50 in value), including favorites like Angry Birds*, Kindle* E-book Reader and Documents to Go*, gives users more right away:
More entertainment: Users can browse all websites and watch online videos with ease thanks to Flash 10.3> Plus, with DRM, they can rent movies in every available format. At a later date shortly after launch, users will also be able to buy movies via an Over-the-Air update.
More social networking: Users can access an entire network of friends and social sites all in one place, with Lenovo's exclusive SocialTouch* app, which effectively creates a one-stop social connection. And since one picture is still worth a thousand words, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 tablet comes with a two-megapixel front-facing and a five-megapixel rear-facing webcam.
More true HD: Users can watch movies and videos in breathtaking HD on a 1280 X 800 resolution screen. The mini HDMI connection allows full 1080p HD viewing when connected to an HDTV or monitor, resulting in a powerful visual experience.
More cloud sharing: Users can sync, store and share files, music and photos with more integrated cloud storage, and less reliance on their hard drive.
More Apps: Users can access thousands of apps in the Android Market and apps tested exclusively for premium function on the IdeaPad Tablet in the Lenovo App Shop.
ThinkPad Tablet Brings Android to Business
The ThinkPad Tablet combines the superior media and entertainment experience of the IdeaPad Tablet K1 with the security, reliability and manageability features ThinkPad is known for, to create the first true business- class tablet. Designed as a companion computing device for professionals on the go, the ThinkPad Tablet includes an optional digitizer pen, a full-size USB port, full-size SD card slot, and mini-HDMI for connecting to external projectors and displays, as well as an optional ThinkPad quality Keyboard Folio Case with optical TrackPoint.
Data remains safe on the ThinkPad Tablet with layered data security, and the device is easily supported by IT managers thanks to a suite of business partner solutions that include anti-theft software and the ability to disable the tablet if the device is lost or stolen with Computrace*. Additional security features include virtual application support with Citrix*, simple zero-touch deployment with LanDesk* and secure email support available from Good Technology*.
Offering a 10.1" WXGA (1280x800) display weighing a mere 1.6 lbs, the ThinkPad Tablet also comes with an IPS display for a 178-degree viewing angle and scratch-resistant Corning* Gorilla* Glass. This business-class device keeps professionals connected, productive and entertained while they’re away from the office and their home.
Simply put, Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet helps business professionals get things done:
Get more on the go: When work happens on the go, ThinkPad Tablet allows users to view and edit Microsoft Office documents with the preloaded Documents to Go app by DataViz. Or they can jot down notes that automatically convert to handwritten text with the optional ThinkPad Tablet Pen. When even more versatility is required, users can plug in the Keyboard Folio for fast, comfortable and accurate typing and mouse control.
Get better connected: With WiFi connectivity, 2GB of free cloud storage, a standard size USB port and SD Card Reader, and Lenovo’s unique file copy utility, sharing media files and documents with other people and electronic devices is easy. Presentations may look even better when connecting to an external monitor via the built-in mini-HDMI port. Users can conveniently sync key files and folders with their tablet every time they plug into their Windows 7 PC. When paired with Apps like ooVoo, dual HD cameras allow for crystal clear video conferencing. Users can keep in touch with friends and business contacts using Lenovo’s exclusive SocialTouch app, which puts social networks, email, and calendar notices all in one easy-to-use interface.
Get down to business: ThinkPad Tablet can connect to a range of devices and networks without hands-on help from IT administrators. Users can utilize corporate network passwords to access their device and connect to corporate email; with the specially certified app, Good for Enterprise. IT managers can easily create access unique corporate preloads from the Lenovo Image Technology Center as well as share and distribute company purchased or developed apps to numerous devices through a custom, corporate-controlled app store. Most importantly, users will have the ability to protect confidential data with robust security features including SD card encryption, lost device disablement and anti-theft software.
Get solid protection: ThinkPad Tablet customers will have access to Lenovo’s full portfolio of enterprise-level services, such as ThinkPlus Support, which provides business customers direct access to advanced technicians with tablet and Android specific experience, and Tablet Protection, which gives business customers coverage for non-warranted damage from operational and structural damage due to drops, minor spills, electrical surges and other accidental damage incurred under normal operating conditions. In addition, Lenovo’s Imaging Services help save IT departments from having to do custom images for each machine, and ensures that even with flash images, the warranty is protected and the tablet is ready-to-go right out-of-the-box.
IdeaPad Tablet P1 with Windows 7 Does Double Duty in the Office and on the Couch
Lenovo’s 10.1" IdeaPad Tablet P1 with Microsoft Windows* 7 features a 1.5GHz Intel* processor so users can be more productive with Office* documents, or get creative with photos while on the move.
The IdeaPad Tablet P1 boasts a multitouch touchscreen display and optional stylus pen for added flexibility, easy access to Web content thanks to full Flash support and HD playback, and Microsoft Security Essentials for an extra layer of security. At just 14.5mm thin and weighing less than 2lbs, the IdeaPad Tablet P1 with Windows 7 offers portability, power and versatility for the office, in the home and on-the-go.
Lenovo App Shop -- Premium Ecosystem of Apps and Content Services
In addition to the thousands of apps available at the Android Market, Lenovo tablet users have access to apps in the Lenovo App Shop -- a unique app marketplace, which features popular applications that have been tested specifically for Lenovo IdeaPad and ThinkPad Tablets. The Lenovo App Shop offers apps within a broad range of categories including music, movies, books, productivity, social networking, weather, printing and more.
The Lenovo App Shop will also support enterprise applications and a private corporate application store to help businesses more easily integrate tablets into their daily operations. In addition, Lenovo will offer country- specific applications, currency, and languages.
Pricing and Availability
The 32GB model IdeaPad Tablet K1 is priced at $499, and can be ordered in the U.S. starting July 20, 2011, through select business partners and retail stores nationwide, or via lenovo.com. The product will be generally available in the U.S. in August 2011 and generally available worldwide during the third quarter 2011.
The 16GB ThinkPad Tablet is priced at $499 without the digitizer pen, and at $529 including the digitizer pen, for Wi-Fi models. There is also an optional keyboard portfolio carrying case available for $99. At a later date, shortly after launch, ThinkPad Tablets with 3G will become available.ThinkPad Tablet can be ordered in the U.S. starting July 20, 2011, online at lenovo.com or through business partners nationwide. The product will be generally available in the U.S. in August 2011 and generally available worldwide during the third quarter 2011.
The IdeaPad Tablet P1 will be available in the fourth quarter 2011.