The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) has not even started in Vegas but Lenovo has already announced a unique Android tablet and keyboard base that turns it into a Windows notebook. The LePad is a 10.1-inch (1280x800) touch tablet running Android 2.2 that will be offered as a standalone product, but coupled with the IdeaPad U1 base converts into a notebook with an Intel processor and Windows 7 OS.
I first saw the predecessor to this system at last year's CES, but that Linux-based slate never made it to market. The LePad sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (1.3 GHz) and has a custom interface for touch operation on its own. When the LePad is attached to the U1 base, the Intel CULV processor takes over along with Windows 7. This dual processor/ dual OS approach is unique and brings the best of both platforms and form factors to a single product. The integration is solid, as a web page being viewed on the tablet in Android will be viewed on the Windows side when it is slid into the base. A keyboard/dock is also available for the LePad separate from the U1 notebook base. The LePad tablet unit weighs in at 1.6 lbs. and the notebook unit at nearly 4 lbs.
The LePad and U1 base will go on sale in China in the first quarter of this year as separate products. the LePad alone will sell for approximately $520 and the IdeaPad U1 for $1,300, a hefty price. Lenovo is offering no word if the dynamic duo will be offered outside of China nor when that might happen. The LePad tablet will not likely come with access to the Android Market, as Lenovo is touting that applications will be available through Chinese partners.