With Android 3.0 (also known as “Gingerbread”) almost ready for primetime, word is that Google will soon be sending out tablet engineering samples to selected partners loaded with the latest version of its mobile operating system. Brands such as Acer, Asus, MSI and others are expected to launch their own tablet devices at CES in Las Vegas early next year, but it seems not everyone is rushing in to take a piece of the market Apple has carved with its iPad.
Speaking with a small group of journalists at the company’s Raleigh, North Carolina headquarters, Lenovo president and chief operating officer Rory Read said they may introduce tablet solutions for its commercial and consumer business next year, possibly by the summer, but warned that the time-frame depends on the next major Android release after Gingerbread. Code-named Honeycomb, Android 3.5 is expected to bring a great deal of enhancements aimed specifically at tablet PCs when it launches sometime in 2011.
It seems the main reason for holding back from the tablet market is from having seen current operating systems as unsuited to tablet-style use. In that same vein the company said it has no plans of releasing a Windows 7 tablet, as that’s really an interface optimized for a mouse and keyboard. Read’s comments apparently stem from lessons learned from its U1 Hybrid laptop, an innovative device that combined a full Windows 7 laptop with a removable screen that doubled as a standalone Linux-based slate – the U1 never actually materialized in a commercial product.
As for their plans in the smartphone sector, Lenovo’s LePhone isn’t set for a U.S. debut for another two years, with the company looking to further grow their market share in China before they consider broader availability.