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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet goes on sale

iPad competitor touts business chops

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Mere days after HP threw its TouchPad tablet under the bus, Lenovo has tossed its new iPad-killer candidate into the marketplace.

The 10.1-inch Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, which went on sale on Tuesday, has a focus and features that give it a far better chance than HP's megaflop to claw some market share away from Apple's "magical and revolutionary" fondleslab.

Lenovo ThinkPad tablet

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet: all business (plus Angry Birds, Netflix, Kindle, mSpot Music...)

While the HP TouchPad – and, for that matter, Apple's iPad – was aimed at a broad market, Lenovo is banging the business drum for the ThinkPad Tablet, calling it "the first true business-friendly tablet", targeting it towards "business users" and "mobile professionals", and touting its "business tablet ecosystem".

That Android 3.1–based ecosystem includes Good Technology's Good for Enterprise mobile app suite, Cisco AnyConnect secure VPN client, Absolute Software's Computrace Mobile device tracker, DataViz' Documents To Go, Printer Anywhere's PrinterShare, McAfee Mobile Security, and more.

And for those times when you'd rather not look at yet another spreadsheet, Angry Birds is one of the "more than 25" apps that come preloaded on the ThinkPad Tablet.

Two hardware options also support the Lenovo tablet's business focus: the ThinkPad Tablet Keyboard Folio ($100) and the ThinkPad Tablet Pen ($39.99). Both do pretty much what their names suggest – the Folio protects the tablet when closed, then unfolds to prop it up on an angle behind a keyboard, while the pen maks it possible to hand-write notes and annotations, and more-accurately make onscreen selections.

Unlike the Cupertinian slab, the ThinkPad Tablet has a reasonable collection of links to the outside world: one full-size and one micro USB port, a mini-HDMI port for external video, a dock connector, and an SD Card slot. As does the tablet's internal storage, the SD Card slot provides full encryption.

The tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor running at 1GHZ, its 1280-by-800 in-plane switching display is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass, and it has two-megapixel front-facing and five-megapixel rear-facing cameras. The whole shebang weighs about 1.6 pounds and is 0.57 inches thick.

Wi-Fi models can now be purchased on Lenovo's web site for $499 (16GB), $569 (32GB), and $669 (64GB); they'll begin shipping next Monday. Wi-Fi plus 3G models are not yet available. ®

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