Lenovo today officially denied any definite timetable or operating system plans around tablet PCs to be shipped outside of China, while confirming that an Android-based LePad tablet will be released in China later this year.
“We plan to introduce our consumer slate the LePad in China later this year and intend to expand to other parts of the world with slate-based products in the future. While the LePad is based on the Android platform, we are evaluating all options for operating systems to address different customers in different markets,” Lenovo said, in an e-mail to TabletPCReview.
Lenovo issued the e-mail in response to requests for confirmation of a flurry of press reports over the past few days, giving varying accounts of where Lenovo is heading with tablets in 2011, including the company’s intentions to completely drop Windows 7 from its future tablet lineup.
In reports popping up all over the Web, Xiong Wen, Lenovo’s senior business director, has been quoted as telling attendees at a trade show in China that Lenovo will deliver two tablets in China this year, and the same two devices in the US next year.
These two PCs include the LePad consumer tablet, along with the IdeaPad U1, a tablet first demo’d at CES 2010 running both Windows 7 and a Lenovo-devised version of Linux dubbed Skylight.
In other reports, executives of the US arm of Lenovo have been quoted as suggesting that Lenovo will deliver the LePad in the US during 2011, but that the release of a hybrid U1 gadget running Windows 7 as one of its OSes could be growing less likely, due in part to touch interface issues.
While not specifically denying any remarks reportedly made by Lenovo executives, a Lenovo PR rep told TabletPCReview that some publications have been “misconstruing” Lenovo’s intentions.
“Lenovo Remains Committed to Windows 7”
In its e-mail response, Lenovo refrained from commenting very specifically about which OS will be supported on its tablets, except to state that the LePad released in China will run some edition of Android.
Lenovo also replied “No” when asked whether plans have been scuttled for a UI hybrid laptop outfitted with both Skylight (or Android) and Windows 7.
“Lenovo remains committed to Windows 7 and for any future products we will make our decision on which operating system is used based up what’s right for our customers,” according to the e-mail.
In addition, the U1 hybrid isn’t an “announced product,” anyway, according to Lenovo. “The U1 hybrid is [a] tablet/notebook that Lenovo showed at CES in 2010. Availability has not been announced for this product, and it’s not our practice to discuss details of unannounced products,” Lenovo told TabletPCReview.