Lenovo thinking about ThinkPad tablet for enterprises

A ThinkPad tablet would be a complementary offering to the company's laptops

Lenovo could introduce a ThinkPad tablet for enterprises, depending on corporate adoption and customer demand for such a device, a company executive said on Tuesday.

Tablets are currently more consumer-focused and designed to view media, but many enterprise customers are interested in tablets as mobile devices that could complement PCs, said Peter Hortensius, senior vice president of the Think Product Group at Lenovo, in an interview.

"As it makes sense we'll absolutely enter that market," Hortensius said. "I think we have a great foundation from which to build for that."

Hortensius said it made "sense" to enter the tablet market, but the company would also keep a close watch on enterprise adoption of the devices. For tablets to be useful in enterprises, the devices need long battery life, great usability and more input capabilities to create content, Hortensius said.

The tablet would be an expansion of the ThinkPad line of products, which is primarily focused on laptops for enterprises and small businesses. Tablets took off earlier this year as devices on which consumers can read e-books, play games and watch movies. The tablet market is dominated by Apple's iPad, which in some cases is being used in enterprises to record data and make presentations.

Enterprise tablets for specific applications have been announced by companies like Cisco, whose Cius tablet is designed to work with Cisco's unified communications and collaboration tools. Hewlett-Packard has also announced a tablet for enterprises based on the Windows 7 OS.

Lenovo has already announced and shown tablets, albeit targeted at consumers. Lenovo in June announced LePad, a consumer tablet using the Android OS. In January the company also showed off an IdeaPad U1 Hybrid laptop, which included a detachable touch screen that turned into a tablet. However, the U1 release has been delayed indefinitely by the company.

Lenovo earlier this year said it is refocusing its strategy around mobile products like smartphones, and a tablet could provide a path for Lenovo to expand the reach of ThinkPad to new areas and audiences.

The ThinkPad brand celebrated its 18th anniversary on Tuesday, and Hortensius said the company will continue to evolve the products by adding capabilities and extending it to new audiences.

The company in particular has done a lot of work around improving the security and battery life of its laptops.

"We've managed in many ways to get it better," Hortensius said.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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