Lenovo's Android-based IdeaPad Tablet K1 unveiled last month is slated to begin shipping to U.S. customers on Aug. 15 at a price of $499.99 for the model with 32GB of storage memory. And Lenovo's Android-based ThinkPad Tablet for business professionals is scheduled to become available on Aug. 23 for $479.99.
Both of the new media tablets run Google's Android 3.1, Honeycomb, which is specifically tailored for mobile apps on media tablets. Lenovo also plans to launch a third tablet that will run Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system for desktop PCs and notebooks during this year's holiday shopping season.
"We've created a family of tablets that has something for everyone -- including entertainment-friendly features and content for consumers," said Lenovo Senior Vice President Liu Jun. "We have listened to our customers and are delivering Android-powered tablets designed to meet their particular needs."
Netflix Upgrade Options
First down the chute is the 1.6-pound IdeaPad Tablet K1 with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor from Nvidia, integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, front-facing (two megapixels) and rear-facing (five megapixels) cameras, and a high-resolution 10.1-inch touchscreen. In addition to 32GB of solid-state storage, Lenovo also will be providing each tablet customer with 2GB of free cloud storage.
The IdeaPad K1 gives users the ability to rent and stream movies via the Mspot movies app that comes pre-loaded. Subscribers also will be able to stream TV shows and movies from Netflix following the addition of a Netflix system update.
If the IdeaPad does not arrive without a pre-loaded Netflix app and fails to automatically update itself to the new software, users will be able to manually install the Netflix update themselves. "On the IdeaPad K1 home screen, go to the system settings [and] tap the icon on the right side of the launch zone in the center of the home screen," a Lenovo spokesperson said Thursday.
Tap in succession About Tablet and System Updates and then tap System Updates again. "It will check for updates, and you should see a little download progress bar down by the clock," Lenovo's spokesperson said. "When it's done, update/restart and Netflix will be in the apps menu list."
Mixing Business with Pleasure
The business-minded ThinkPad Tablet combines the same media and entertainment hardware and software capabilities of the IdeaPad Tablet with the security, reliability and manageability features for which Lenovo's ThinkPad line is well known. For example, Lenovo's device integrates robust security features such as SD card encryption, lost device disablement, and antitheft software.
In addition to pre-loaded apps such as Documents To Go as well as McAfee's mobile security suite, the ThinkPad tablet will offer the same Netflix streaming capability as the IdeaPad K1 when the enterprise-class device becomes available on Aug. 23, Lenovo's spokesperson said. Optional accessories for the ThinkPad Tablet, which features a 16GB solid-state drive, include a digitizer pen for drawing or writing notes directly on the screen and a keyboard folio case with an optical trackpoint.
Lenovo eventually intends to make an app available for the company's tablet lineup that will enable movie-rental downloads to be viewed offline. "However, we are not able to provide details on this future service or the partner involved at this time," said Ninis Samuel, global director of mobile product marketing at Lenovo.