Lenovo Unveils Tablet Laptop Hybrid

The clamshell notebook and detachable multi-touch slate / tablet PC combo shares a power supply, but each runs on its own operating system.

Antone Gonsalves

January 7, 2010

2 Min Read
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Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Lenovo IdeaPad U1

(click image for larger view)
Lenovo IdeaPad U1

Lenovo on Wednesday introduced a hybrid laptop that's either a clamshell notebook or a multi-touch slate tablet, each with its own processor and operating system.

The two-in-one design makes the IdeaPad U1 unique and more mobile than a standard laptop. Lenovo plans to showcase the device along with a variety of other PCs at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The IdeaPad U1 has an 11.6-inch display and weighs 3.8 pounds. When the display is attached to the body of the laptop, the unit operates like a typical notebook running Microsoft Windows 7.

With a flip of a switch, however, the display detaches, and becomes a multi-touch tablet PC powered by an ARM processor and running a Linux-based operating system. The slate weighs 1.6 pounds.

The two devices share the same battery power and 3G mobile broadband technology and are designed to have all data and documents in sync. For example, a user can surf the Web in laptop mode, switch to tablet mode, and continue from the same point without interruption, according to Lenovo.

The tablet interface provides either landscape or portrait viewing, depending on the application in use. The screen can be divided into four or six sections, with each section running a separate application, such as email, a calendar, an RSS reader, a social networking Web site, video playback or document editing.

Lenovo said the system can support more than five hours of 3G Web browsing. The hybrid comes with an integrated video camera, stereo speakers and microphone.

The IdeaPad U1 is scheduled to be available June 1. The estimated retail price is $999.

On Tuesday Lenovo introduced the Skylight smartbook, a clamshell device with a keyboard and 10-inch display. The thin gadget weighs less than two pounds and has a customer interface for quick access to Internet services and browsing. It also refreshed its line of laptop PCs for mobile pros, adding ultra-portable notebooks and introduced a series of energy efficient machines.

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