Lenovo looks at tablets to expand mobile operations

Lenovo plans to put Google's Android 3.0 OS, codenamed Honeycomb, in tablets.

Lenovo will focus on consumer tablets and also look at enterprise tablets as it tries to rev up its mobile operations, a company executive said on Friday.

The company is also looking to put Google's Android 3.0 OS, which is code-named Honeycomb, on tablets later this year, said Rory Read, president and chief operating officer at Lenovo, during an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

At CES, Lenovo showed its first tablet, the LePad, which has a 10.1-inch screen and runs on Google's Android 2.2 OS. The company also showed the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, a device that turns the LePad into a netbook. The LePad serves as the monitor, but can be detached as a tablet.

"We have the LePad; we're launching into China. We've got the Hybrid. When Honeycomb is finished from Google in May, something like that, [a] couple of months after that we'll release it to the rest of the world," Read said.

Company officials have said they will launch multiple Android tablets worldwide this year.

Lenovo is taking a measured approach to building tablets to ensure they succeed, Read said, adding that the company just does not attach a bunch of applications to it. The company in the past has reworked its tablet hardware and software to bring better devices to customers.

The company last year showed off a tablet with an Arm processor and the Linux OS. The tablet was never released, and for LePad, Lenovo has included the Android OS. The company has also partnered with mobile carriers and content partners in China to include localized gaming, news and other content.

"When we did the first versions of the [tablet], we used a different operating system and a different chipset. That's why we've taken some time to rework it. Android has really picked up and we'll play off the Android application market on a global basis. That's why we need to have the Honeycomb work finished to really take it to the next step."

Read envisions tablets as one of the building blocks that will enable seamless information exchange between devices. In the future, devices like tablets, TVs, cameras and PCs will converge to enable easy exchange of video, pictures and content.

"The game is not the next twelve months. People are all over the tablet and the next device. The game is the next three to five years and that integration across devices," Read said.

Lenovo's mobile strategy took shape at last year's CES, when the company announced the LePhone smartphone. The company is ultimately hoping to tightly integrate its mobile strategy into its core operation as a PC maker.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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