This morning Lenovo unveiled its next-generation IdeaPad U1 Hybrid device, combining a 10 inch Android-powered tablet with a Windows-powered base station. This evening I got a chance to check out the U1 in person.
The demo unit is running Android 2.2 with a custom Lenovo interface on top. This is how the LePad tablet and U1 Hybrid combo will be sold in China, but when the devices launch in the US later this year, the tablet will run Android Honeycomb with full support for Android tablets.
The 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display looks nice and sharp, and the tablet has a sleek, professional look, but not a lot of ports. In fact, there’s not even a power jack — just the docking port you use to connect the tablet to the docking station. It can only be charged when docked to the keyboard station.
Another thing I was a bit disappointed to learn was that you can’t use the keyboard when the tablet is running Android. The keyboard is basically its own computer with an Intel chipset and Windows 7 operating system. When you dock the tablet and flip a switch, you essentially turn the LePad into little more than an expensive LCD display for the Windows computer.
On the bright side, this means you can actually plug in an external monitor and use the keyboard/base without the tablet. So you really do get two computers in one.
The complete U1 Hybrid weighs about 4 pounds, while the tablet weighs less than 2 pounds.
There’s no pricing info yet for the US version of the U1 Hybrid or the LePad, but they’re expected to sell for about $1300 and $500 respectively in China.
You can check out more hands-on photos and a brief video after the break.