January 5, 2011 – Chinese computer colossus Lenovo on Tuesday unveiled an IdeaPad computer that serves as a laptop for work tasks then converts to a touch-screen tablet for play time.
The IdeaPad U1 hybrid, with a “LePad” slate that serves as a laptop screen but unplugs to become a tablet computer, made its debut on the cusp of the Thursday opening of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“It is one device to balance life and work,” Lenovo product manager Leo Li told AFP.
“A keyboard is more important and Windows software more powerful for a lot of things you need to work, especially productivity and creating content,” he continued. “At the same time, people want to enjoy music, see videos, go to websites, read e-books, and play games in their personal lives.”
The LePad tablet is powered by Android software backed by California Internet giant Google and a Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm.
Once plugged into the keyboard base, the computer switches to Windows 7 operating software by Microsoft and a beefier Intel processor.
Lenovo is targeting consumers who embrace today’s mobile lifestyle.
“Use the light-weight slate when you’re mobile, and then simply slide it into the U1 base when you need to create and edit content,” Lenovo Idea Product Group vice president Liu Jun said.
LePad has a 10.1-inch (26 centimeter) color screen, weighs less than two pounds (one kilogram) and connects to the Internet using 3G telecom service.
It has a front-facing camera for video chat and promises as many as eight hours of battery life.
IdeaPad U1 with LePad will be available in China by the end of March but won’t be available in the United States until next-generation Android mobile software is available for use in the tablets.
IdeaPad U1 with LePad will be priced at 8,888 Chinese yuan (1,340 dollars) and the tablet will be sold separately for 3,499 Chinese yuan (528 dollars).