When it comes to the saturated netbook market, manufacturers
are always looking to differentiate their products. For netbooks, that's often
a tough task given that there's not much you can do differently with a
10.1" screen, near full-size keyboard, and an Intel Atom processor.
Dell tried going a different route with its Inspiron
Duo convertible netbook, but reviews for
the device have been mixed.
Lenovo is going a completely different route with its IdeaPad U1 Hybrid and
First off is the LePad Slate. It is a 10.1" (1280x800)
tablet device that runs the Android 2.2 operating system. The LePad Slate
features a 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of flash
memory for storage, and has a battery life of up to 10 hours. When it comes to
functionality and apps, the LePad Slate will be similar to other Android-based
devices on the market like the Samsung
Where things start to get interesting, however, is with the
IdeaPad U1 Hybrid attachment. When a LePad Slate is docked with the IdeaPad U1
base, the pair becomes a fully functioning Windows 7 Home Premium system
complete with keyboard. Users can also use the "Hybrid Switch" to
seamlessly switch between the two operating systems.
The IdeaPad U1 base features a 1.2GHz Intel CULV Core
i5-540M processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and a 320GB HDD. External ports are
limited to just an HDMI connection and a single USB port. Wireless radios,
however, are plentiful with Bluetooth, 802.11n, and 3G wireless support.
The Lenovo LePad and IdeaPad U1 will be available in China
during the first quarter of 2011. The LePad itself will cost roughly $520 USD
while the combo will set you back $1,300 USD.
There is no word on an official U.S. launch for the pair.