With product names like ThinkPad and IdeaPad, one would think Lenovo would've gotten into the tablet game ages ago, but those products were traditionally laptops. While Samsung, HTC, RIM, and others have raced ahead with iPad competitors, Lenovo has bided its time, flirting with Windows 7-based and dual-OS
tablet concepts as recently as January 2011 CES. Now, however, the company has gotten serious and is committing to an Android Honeycomb tablet, the IdeaPad K1.
The 10.1-inch, Honeycomb 3.1 IdeaPad K1 ships in July. Starting at $449 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version (3G pricing has not been set), the 1.6-pound tablet has a silver exterior and a rubberized back. Measuring 13mm at its thickest point, the K1 tapers to a somewhat thinner profile on one side. Like a multitude of other Android-based tablets, the IdeaPad K1 features two cameras, a 2-megapixel one on the front and a 5-megapixel camera on the back. It offers a full SD card slot and support for full-sized USB input. Inside, the Idea K is running an Nvidia Tegra 2 and has an IPS-based, 1,280-by-800 screen. It's also one of the few Android tablets to offer a physical home button on the device face.
Though the device features the most up-to-date, tablet-friendly Android interface, Lenovo has added its own optional on-screen control center that offers one-touch access to the Internet, mail, music, video, and ebooks. Lenovo is also unveiling its own curated app store. Company execs said they're not looking to make money through the store; they simply want to offer "reliable and safe" apps. Google's own Android Market is famously unpoliced and the company has, on occasion, had to reach out and remove misbehaving apps.
The IdeaPad K will also ship with some built-in apps, including Docs to Go and Norton Mobile Security (though Lenovo couldn't tell me if it was a trial or full version). Lenovo spent some time building custom apps for the Honeycomb platform, including a file management utility that lets you drag and drop files from a plugged in USB key to folders on the tablet. There's even a custom Lenovo social aggregator app, which brings together all your social feeds in one, seemingly threaded conversation. Consumers also get 2GB of free cloud-based storage with each Lenovo tablet.