Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has arrived for the Corporate World, but will it be accepted?
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is supposed to be the answer for increasing demand for tablets geared towards the professionally oriented individuals who would like to have the best of both worlds, the tablet for entertainment, fun and leisure, but also the tablet that can – if possible – replace the laptop and be some kind of a BlackBerry on steroids.
BlackBerry manufacturers themselves picked up the call as well, their PlayBook just boomed on the market and attracted many such users.
Lenovo intends to use Android 3.1 (Honeycomb, with the 3.2 version in the making) instead of a proprietary OS such as Blackberry’s version of the QNX for the PlayBook, instantly allowing users the access to countless applications already on the market, besides the ThinkPad typical business applications, such as Good for Enterprise, Cisco AnyConnect and Computrace Mobile.
The inner core
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet has almost the same features hidden within as the entertainment oriented Lenovo Android Tablet the IdeaPad K1, with notable, but not really comprehensible differences. There is the exceptional NVIDIA Tegra 2.0 dual core 1 GHz processor and the 1 GB RAM, the memory information curiously missing on the spec sheet provided by Lenovo. The 10 inch screen with the 1280 x 800 resolution is outfitted with Gorilla Glass, is multitouch capable and has digitizer input, whereby the pen is sold separately. Storage is up to 64 GB, but for some reason the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet does not have the SSD storage the K1 provides, a decision that makes no sense at all, particularly when it becomes evident how much care Lenovo took to outfit this tablet with plenty of security features. It is also not clear why the ThinkPad has a battery life of only eight hours and the K1 seems to boast full 10 hours of fun. Perhaps the digitizer features scavenge more energy than an SSD drive? On the other hand, the ThinkPad has native USB 2.0 and micro-USB ports, besides the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and mini HDMI connectivity, with 3G being offered as an option.
A business ThinkPad or just a thorough make-up job
In direct comparison, not much additional software seems to have been integrated into the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, when compared with the entertainment brother, the K1. Most prominent is the Citrix Receiver, an application that allows secure connection to a desktop computer, allowing the user to work any of their applications they have installed on their base computer through the tablet device – a very neat feature indeed. Furthermore, there is McAfee Mobile Security and the possibility to customize the pre-loaded software through the Lenovo Image Technology Center. Full device and SD card encryption as well as anti theft and lost device disablement provisions are being made available. Lenovo’s proprietary ThinkPlus Services, extendable to up to three years, provide the busy user with worry free coffee spillage hazard and similar accidental damage protection.
All the aforementioned does not really propel the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet towards a must buy. The unfortunate decision to make the digitizer pen a separate purchase extends to the really phenomenal keyboard folio case that makes the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet not only carry the ThinkPad name but show off the well known touch pad with the red-lined buttons, making the tablet visibly indistinguishable from a regular ThinkPad laptop. Being that business people are being targeted, making these necessities an option rather than raising the price slightly and including them in the purchase displays an unexpectedly poor business decision by Lenovo. It is clear that, for instance, the Asus Tablet PC the Eee Pad Transformer, which is an entertainment tablet first, but with extension possibilities such as the keyboard as an option, nevertheless featured the keyboard in all advertisements. This is another not really comprehensible decision, together with the omission of the SSD drive, which forces up the question why did Lenovo not make one tablet, with USB, SSD and whatnot, keyboard and pen optional, allowing the user to configure the freebie applications for the targeted purpose, rather than conceptualizing these two Android tablets as separate devices?
Unfortunately for the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, there is the already mentioned BlackBerry Tablet PC the PlayBook. It does not have the Android OS, but on the other hand the seamless integration with the BlackBerry Smartphone range somewhat seals the deal towards the PlayBook. A business user will take the smaller screen with the slightly lower resolution and the TI OMAP 4420 dual core processor rather than getting used to a completely new system, provided they have been using the BlackBerry Smartphone prior to the tablet purchase. On the other hand, within the Android OS based community, there is plenty of similarly priced competition that feature similar options, including a Bluetooth keyboard, where the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, besides the good Lenovo name and a few really nice features, does not make so much of an preferable impression. In an even bigger twist, the completely business-unsuitable iPad the Apple Tablet PC has been approved by the FAA to be used in airplane cockpits for navigational charts.
By making the digitizer pen and the keyboard folio optional, the company Lenovo made for their new Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet a big public relation faux-pas, because these features would have made the tablet really stand out in the crowd. The decision not to integrate the SSD storage that is found in the K1 tablet is another such mistake, because for a business user the SSD storage with an additional capability of microSD storage would have been another big selling point. On the other hand the provision of the full USB 2.0 port is very much appreciated, as is the business oriented pre-loaded software. Lenovo should have made one tablet instead of the IdeaPad K1 and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet as separate entities. The combined good features of these two tablets would have warranted a slightly higher price, but also an unparalleled tablet that would have smashed the competition to bits. The ThinkPad such as it is will directly compete against the BlackBerry PlayBook and at this point it does not seem to be a much better choice.