Two of the most interesting devices I’ve seen this year are the Lenovo Skylight smartbook and IdeaPad U1 Hybrid notebook with a detachable display that works as a standalone tablet. And while both will miss their original shipping deadlines since Lenovo decided to scrap the custom Linux distribution powering the devices and replace it with Google Android, it looks like we should still see both of these products hit the streets before the end of the year.
Lenovo President Rory Read tells CRN that the Skylight and the IdeaPad U1 should both be available before the end of 2010. As expected, the primary reason for the delay is that Lenovo is retooling both machines to use Android instead of the Skylight OS largely because the “ecosystem around Android is really picking up speed.”
In other words, there’s better support for Android, and hopefully we’ll see some good third party apps for these devices thanks to the large developer community already working with the Android platform.
One thing I’ll be curious to see is whether Lenovo manages to keep one of the nifty features found in the pre-production version of the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid running Windows 7 and Skylight OS. When you were surfing the web with the device in notebook mode using Windows 7, you could remove the tablet and continue browsing on the same web page even though you had switched to Skylight OS. This made the combination laptop/tablet device a nice grab-and-go solution, and I hope Lenovo figures out how to do something similar with Android.