Lenovo, the world’s fourth-largest personal computer maker, is setting up a seperate tablet and mobile devices division, they are also moving into the TV market. This is the same company that was ahead of the pack at the 2010 CES with a removable tablet notebook. The only problem was that the device failed to make it to market, but it did give other vendors a good idea of what could be done with a notebook and removable display screen.The Chinese company who took over IBM’s PC division said that its new mobile Internet and digital home division will focus on creating tablets, smartphones and Web-connected home electronics, such as television sets. Research group Gartner expects 55 million tablet computers will be shipped this year, most of them iPads, but there will be room for rivals to vie for sales of the remaining 10 million to 15 million devices they said.
Lenovo and others have long offered laptops with swiveling screens that can also function as tablets, now major companies like Samsung, Lenovo, Motorola Mobility and Toshiba are releasing their own tablets with expectations that the category will finally take off this year and they can grab a share of the action.
Earlier this month at the 2011 CES Show Lenovo showed me the LePad, that runs Google’s Android operating software. When combined with a keyboard dock, the tablet becomes a laptop computer running Microsoft’s Windows 7 PC software. The LePad and dock — the combo is called the IdeaPad U1 — are set to roll out in China during the first quarter; Lenovo has not said when the product will be released in Australia.
Lenovo’s new unit will be headed by Liu Jun, who has been responsible for product development as the head of Lenovo’s product group. Peter Hortensius, who had run the company’s Think product group, is taking Jun’s old post. The group is also set to launch a range of Internet enabled PC’s with the company also looking at delivering a version of Google TV.
Hortensius said that the company decided to split tablets, smart phones and other Web-centric mobile and home devices into their own group so there is a clear focus on these electronics at Lenovo’s senior level. The products seem different enough from PCs that it is worth focusing on them separately, he said.
While the iPad was the first to crack the tablet code with consumers, Lenovo, like many other companies, is confident that there’s room for other tablets, too. Hortensius expects there to be a “lot of winners and losers” in the market this year.