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Undiscouraged by Microsoft's Surface, Lenovo is readying a productivity-oriented Windows 8 tablet of its own. Although the company showed a prototype of the device during Computex Taipei in June, few details were made available and things would have likely remained quiet until later this year, but some leaked documents hit the Web yesterday, prematurely exposing most of the device's features.
Tentatively called the ThinkPad Tablet 2 (it didn't even have a name in June), the 10.1-incher is equipped with a 1366x768 anti-glare IPS display that supports input from up to 10 fingers and pens with an optional digitizer. It's powered by a 32nm dual-core Intel Clover Train Atom SoC that includes an HD SGX545 graphics chip for 1080p video and DirectX 9. It also packs 2GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 will offer more than just Wi-Fi, with mentions of Bluetooth 4.0 as well as optional NFC and WWAN (LTE or HSPA+). Other connectivity includes a Mini HDMI port, a microSD card slot, one USB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack and a connector for the keyboard dock, which appears notably compact as it lacks a touchpad in favor of a trackpoint for cursor control.
Lenovo also includes a 2MP front camera and an 8MP rear camera with an LED flash, an optional fingerprint reader, dual microphones with digital noise reduction, GPS, a magnetometer, an ambient light sensor and it's said to last for up to 10 hours per charge. The device measures 262.6 x 164 x 9.8mm and weighs 650g -- 0.4mm thicker and 12g lighter than the cellular-enabled third-generation iPad.
The marketing documents lack information on pricing and availability, but Lenovo is confident enough to say its upcoming slate is "best in class," with one slide specifically targeting the iPad. The company acknowledges that Apple has the upper hand when it comes to display resolution, app store and voice controls, but Lenovo's solution is superior in ways that should be appealing to business users.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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