Lenovo tablet to hit streets soon
Source: Global Times [08:36 March 07 2011] By Liang Fei
The booming tablet PC market will soon see Lenovo joining the competition at the end of this month, Chen Ji, a public relation’s official with the company said Sunday.
Lenovo’s version of a tablet PC, LePad, made its debut at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. LePad offers a 10.1-inch display and weighs roughly 0.76 kilograms.
Media reports said that the gadget would come in three colors, white, black and red.
Yang Yuanqing, CEO of the company, said over the weekend that he is confident that sales of LePad will surpass those of the Apple iPad in the domestic market, according to a Reuters report.
"We are faring better than them (Apple) in China, be it our products or our channels. But we’ll have to work harder in overseas markets," Yang was quoted by Reuters as saying. And the company plans to begin selling its LePad globally by June, said the report.
Ji Chendong, an IT analyst with Frost & Sullivan, commented that Lenovo does enjoy advantages in brand recognition and sales channels in the domestic market, but the future for LePad may not be all roses.
"The key to excelling is to offer a better user experience," said Ji.
Li Yi, secretary general for the Mobile Internet Industry Alliance, said that LePad would face fierce competition in the domestic market, especially when a new model of iPad came out last week and the prices on earlier models dropped.
"What’s amazing about Apple is that they can produce good products and at the same time keep costs down, and this has made Apple’s iPad the absolute leader in the market," said Li.
Analysts agree that price for LePad should be kept at 60 to 70 percent of that of iPad’s, in order to possibly have a competitive edge.
LePad is based on the Android 2.2 operating system, which according to Li would be another minus for the product. Li said that Android 3.0, which Google recently launched, is designed for tablet PCs, and earlier versions were actually for smartphones.
"Most consumers of tablet PCs are very concerned about the operation system, and they will care if it is not the latest version," commented Li.
But Ji Chendong of Frost & Sullivan, holds that the average consumer could not tell the difference between the two versions of the operating system, and LePad could also launch updated models in the future.
Domestic sales of tablet PCs this year are expected to total 4.5 million, according to Analysys International, an Internet based consultancy.
Li estimated that iPad would account for more than 40 percent of the domestic market, and LePad could possibly gain 20 percent of the remaining market share.