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Lenovo eyes iPad-alternative opportunity

LePad to run Android 3.0?

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The status of Lenovo's rather cute'n'skinny Skylight netbook may be uncertain, but the Chinese computer maker has at least committed itself to release an iPad alternative by the end of the year.

Apparently, Lenovo has confirmed the debut of "LePad" - Lenovo's answer to the iPad in much the same way its LePhone targets the iPhone - and that it will be based on Android, IDG reports.

The LePhone is sold only in China, but there's no sign yet that the LePad will be similarly restricted to this one territory, big though it is.

The Skylight was originally due to go on sale in the US this past April, but a month later - and with no sign of the machine in shops - Lenovo said it was putting the project on hold, at least in the form shown up to that point, equipped as it was with a less well-known brand of Linux.

It implied the Skylight might yet make it to market with an alternative OS. Android may seem the most likely, but Google's other endeavour, Chrome OS, shouldn't be ruled out, especially since the latter seems more geared toward keyboard-based devices than Android really is.

The LePad, however, will be Android and probably used Android 3.0 - aka 'Gingerbread' - due late 2010/early 2011 and expected to appear in other tablets, most notably Asus' Eee Pad.

LG is working on one too.

Gingerbread is said to require a 1GHz CPU and be able to support 1280 x 760 screens - if that doesn't show it's tablet-centric, we don't know what does. ®

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