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19 Years Later The ThinkPad Is Actually A Tablet

A lot of people are using Android Tablets for entertainment. For instance the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is an entertainment monster with it’s brilliant screen, size and weight movie viewing, and gaming are a pleasure on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  The Motorola Xoom is also another tablet that is perfect for those looking for an entertainment focused tablet.

Now though tablet manufacturers are turning to productivity.  In a twitter conversation James Kendrick (formerly JK On The Run) and I debated back and forth the actual use of an Android tablet for work.  For journalism, especially Word Press or Blogger based blogging journalists, a tablet is a natural companion.  I had been using an original Samsung Galaxy Tab 7″ for a while to take notes at events, shoot quick photos and even “live blog” but I wanted to take it a step further.  Don’t get me wrong I love my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for movie watching on the road or before bed, and it’s great for Google Books because of the weight you don’t get the fatigue that you do with heavier tablets.

more after the break

So now that tablet manufacturers are looking at productivity you have the Acer Iconia with it’s full sized USB host slot as well as the Toshiba Thrive with a host of great productivity features. The Thrive features a full sized USB port, full sized HDMI port, mini-usb port and full sized SD card slot.  It also has a user replaceable battery and a great, as in we haven’t seen a better one yet, file manager program that allows quick and easy copying and movement between hard drive, USB port and SD card.

The great folks at Lenovo have now officially jumped into the Android tablet game with the Ideapad K1 and the Think Pad. The ThinkPad debuted in 1992 as the name of IBM’s consumer grade laptops.  That division was purchased by Lenovo in 2005 in a deal where IBM still helps with the marketing for the brand.  Of course in 1992 no one had seriously gotten in the tablet business, it was still a few years away from Palm’s big PDA boom as well as the introduction to the failed Apple Newton.

Fast forward 19 years though and the ThinkPad is finally getting a “Pad” like device to go with the name, and just like Toshiba, it’s a productivity machine.  I remember last summer prior to the IFA conference in Berlin, Germany, there were lots of reports that the computer and laptop manufacturers were going to go into the Android Tablet business.  Dell had already announced the Dell Streak and it was just about to be released. However the Dell Streak never caught on the way Michael Dell had hoped.

Android Tablets, or any tablet for that matter, is a natural progression device for any good laptop maker.  HP has even gotten into the game with the Touchpad, Apple has the iPad, Asus has the Eee Transformer, Acer has the Iconia line and now Lenovo.  If developed correctly, as Toshiba has this time around, laptop manufacturers can take their key features which make their laptop lines so successful and put them into a tablet.

That is exactly what Toshiba did and exactly what Lenovo is doing, and even a one up on Toshiba’s Thrive.  Lenovo’s ThinkPad will feature Android Honeycomb 3.1, a dual core processor and all the bells and whistles found in a top tier Android Honeycomb tablet.  On the productivity side of things though the Lenovo ThinkPad will offer a stylus, and not just a digital pen but a capacitive stylus that when bundled with the ThinkPad is just $30.  Lenovo has also included a full sized HDMI output, USB 2.0 Port with hosting and powered bus, micro USB port, SIM Card slot and a 3 in 1 memory card reader (there’s Toshiba’s one up). There is of course an optional docking station and a $100 “Folio” accessory that functions as a case and a familiar full sized ThinkPad Laptop style keyboard.

The tablet will originally be brought to market as a wifi only but there will be a 3G version later on. There’s no official date for release but we hear very early fall.

It only took 19 years but it’s great to see the ThinkPad as an actual tablet.

Source: wired