In a briefing with reporters today at its North Carolina headquarters, Lenovo’s president and COO Rory Read said that the Chinese PC maker hopes to have an Android 3.0-based tablet on sale in the US by the summer of 2011.
The tablet will most likely be called “Le Pad” or something similar, as Lenovo already has rolled out a popular “Le Phone” smartphone in China (though it could be also called Happy/Happiness Pad, as “le” in Mandarin means happy).
Read said that Lenovo will not proceed with a tablet until Android 3.0 is proven to be ready (and will push back that summer 2011 date if 3.0 isn’t on schedule), and will skip not only Android 2.2, but also Windows 7 altogether, saying that neither are made for touch-based tablet computing. Lenovo’s director of new technology, Howard Locker, was quoted as saying:
“The challenge with Windows 7 is that it’s based on the same paradigm as 1985—it’s really an interface that’s optimized for a mouse and keyboard. It has to be optimized for touch. How do you do that?”
1985 – ouch. That said, Lenovo has integrated touch into some of its PCs running Windows 7, but battery life is especially an issue with tablets, Locker also said.
Another interesting piece of news from a PC Magazine article on the briefing, was that the U1 Hybrid laptop, which was demoed to much buzz at CES 2010 (i.e. before the iPad came out), never got past the prototype phase. Lenovo said today that the detachable screen/tablet that was running on a U1 at CES on a modified version of Linux, was scrapped in favor of Android. So rest in piece(s) U1 Hybrid laptop, we never knew you.