After lamenting last week about the unavailability of a solid alternative to the iPad (and even insinuating that I might even buy the iPad 3, whenever it comes out), I stumbled upon something that could be a "game changer". Yes, it is another Android tablet. But no, it's not like the other tablets released by the likes of Asus and Samsung.
The product I am referring to is a tablet made by Lenovo, now famous for its production of the ThinkPad products. The company is allegedly planning to release a ThinkPad-branded tablet on August 23rd. While the specs seem pretty standard (e.g. Tegra 2, 1GB ram, Android 3.1, dual cameras), there are a few things that make it truly stand out:
- Vast array of ports -- one of the missing links of tablets is connectivity and Lenovo addresses the problem head on. This tablet will have a full-size USB port, a mini-USB port, SD card slot, and HDMI port.
- Digitizer pen -- not only does the tablet have a built-in slot for the pen, but the pen allows a much wider array of uses for the tablet. The pen makes is perfect for students to take notes or for artists to draw on. Suddenly, it looks like I won't even have to buy notebooks for school anymore.
- Price -- the retail price is rumored to be less than $500, perhaps at $479 for the 16GB version of this tablet. The base price does not include the digitizer pen, but it'd only be a $30 add-on.
- Business usage -- tablets thus far have been mass-consumption devices. RIM took a step in the right direction with its PlayBook, but flopped on the hardware and software integration. Lenovo is primed to succeed in this area as they can leverage the security of its other ThinkPad products.
The more I read about this product, the more I like it. It's not exactly an "iPad-killer" but it holds tremendous potential. Given all the available information, I will make a premature prediction that this ThinkPad tablet will be the best Android tablet available. The only drawback I see is that age of the hardware, namely the Tegra 2 processor that will soon be replaced by the Tegra 3 ("Kal-El"). If Lenovo somehow sticks a Tegra 3 into this tablet, I will be placing a preorder at the earliest opportunity.
If you need any more convincing, check out the video below: