Originally thought to be a legend, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Lenovo’s ‘LePad’ tab will indeed hit the U.S. next year (according to Lenovo’s CEO, Yang Yuanqing). The publication also stated that China will be receiving LePad later (than the U.S.) in 2011, which is the opposite of what the company had led us to believe.
The LePad will join a flurry of tablets scheduled to bombard the market in 2011, which will include RIM’s PlayBook and the Motorola Stingray. Lenovo isn’t scheduled to release their currently Asia-only smartphone, LePhone, until 2012.
By changing its tune on the LePad from a late U.S. release date to a relatively early release, the company is showing some serious faith in Google. Lenovo’s COO Rory Read was cited as saying there were no plans to release a slate for the US market until at least Android’s Honeycomb (2.3) OS comes out, based on the conclusion that Froyo is not “the right base to have a fully functioning pad.”
Samsung obviously didn’t feel that way, and launched its Galaxy Tab with Froyo, and it’s a pretty impressive experience. Still, Lenovo was bent on waiting until a tablet-ready version of Android was ready to go.
Either Google leaked some information to Lenovo about Honeycomb’s tablet-friendly qualities, or explained that the newest Android OS will be released sooner than expected. Either way, Android enthusiasts win.
Information regarding LePad’s specs is scarce, but it is projected that the device will pack an 800 x 480 capacitive touch screen, Bluetooth, WiFi capabilities, and two cameras–the rear having an LED flash. For this tablet to be successful, Lenovo will inevitably need to price LePad accordingly.
With the BlackBerry PlayBook expected to be released starting at $499 or less, the Samsung Galaxy S at $599 and the iPad at $499, the LePad will need to have a reasonable price tag to attract new buyers. Considering that Lenovo isn’t exactly a household name and it certainly lacks the marketing capabilities of Apple and even Samsung, LePad’s success (or failure) may rest on its price.
Looking for more Android tablet news? Check out RIM Flashes its Potential with Playbook Tablet and Dell Announces Android Tablet