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Can a $200 Tablet from Lenovo Take on Apple
Can a $200 Tablet from Lenovo Take on Apple's iPad?

By Jennifer LeClaire
September 1, 2011 1:51PM

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Did Hewlett-Packard's hot-selling $99 TouchPad define the market for non-iPad tablets? Lenovo plans to find out with its Android-powered $200 IdeaPad Tablet A1. The dual-core Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet A1 comes pre-loaded with more than 40 apps, but the $200 price may not matter. An analyst defined a tablet as a want, not a need, and quality matters.

The Hewlett-Packard Touchpad sold like proverbial hotcakes when the electronics maker slashed the price from $499 to $99. Now Lenovo is entering the market with a tablet priced at what it hopes is the sweet spot: $200.

Lenovo just launched the IdeaPad Tablet A1 running Android 3.1. The new tablet features a NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core mobile processor for high-speed multitasking and web browsing. Adobe Flash Player is built in for gaming, and the device is touting low power consumption for longer battery life.

The A1 weighs just over a pound and a half. It comes pre-loaded with more than 40 apps from the likes of, Adobe Systems, Electronic Arts, Rovio and DataViz. Some of the notable apps are Angry Birds, the Kindle e-book reader, and Documents To Go.

Pricing Not the Only Factor

"There's no question that price matters, but what we learned from HP -- who discounted a $500 tablet to $100 -- is that people like $500 tablets that sell for $100. That's all you can take away from that," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, speaking from the IFA show in Germany.

He noted that $200 tablets already exist -- consumers can buy them at Walgreen's, but few do. As Greengart sees it, consumers looking for tablets want high quality. That, he said, is because a tablet isn't a device that most consumers need. Rather, it's something they want. And if a tablet is a want rather than a need, consumers aren't going to buy a tablet that doesn't live up to their expectations.

"I have not looked at the Lenovo tablet, so I don't know if it will live up to people's expectations as to what a tablet ought to be. But price alone is not enough," Greengart said. "Apple has done such a great job creating a good product at a reasonable starting price of $499 that competing solely on price and not providing a high-quality product is not going to work."

The Business Tablet

Lenovo also debuted the ThinkPad Tablet, a 10.1-inch tablet running Android 3.1. Lenovo promises the device will let users work productively and securely and enjoy plenty of entertainment in off times. The ThinkPad also takes a page from HP's TouchPad with a stylus, albeit a supercharged one.

The ThinkPad Tablet also draws from some popular features on other ThinkPad-branded devices that play to mobile users. Beyond the digitizer pen, the tablet sports a full-size USB port and an SD card slot, mini-HDMI for connecting to external displays, and a keyboard folio case with optical TrackPoint.

Lenovo touted more than a dozen partners and pointed to more than 250,000 apps in the Android Market as well as the Lenovo App Shop. But that doesn't touch the offerings from Apple's App Store.

Tell Us What You Think



Posted: 2011-10-05 @ 2:46pm PT
Lenovo is known for quality. I think this analyst should watch out before he's shown to be a fool. I'm not looking for a tablet, but the $200 price point for a Lenovo is where I'll pick one up.


Posted: 2011-09-02 @ 12:36pm PT
Pen input is such an obvious natural successor to the basic notepad which would become obsolete because all your scribbles doodles and sketches would never be mislaid again and the paper saving would be a cost saving bonus in the office.


Posted: 2011-09-01 @ 9:50pm PT
I think people underestimate tablets, likely to sell 200-250 million units next year.


Posted: 2011-09-01 @ 2:18pm PT
Absent a real keyboard tablets are Fad devices whose luster will fade.


Posted: 2011-09-01 @ 2:14pm PT
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