The Lenovo U1 is shipping this January! The Lenovo U1 is shipping this January! The Lenovo U1 is shipping this January… to China.
This is good news for fans of the tablet/netbook hybrid first unveiled at CES last January, which sports one of the more innovative designs TabletPCReview has seen in a long time, as the move could mean a US launch is looming (perhaps Lenovo is waiting for Android 3.0). The U1 is a Windows 7 netbook with a screen that pops out to become a fully-functional tablet complete with dedicated processor and OS.
When Lenovo first showed off the device, the tablet ran a custom Linux operating system, but Lenovo shelved the unit, pushing it back its original April 2010 release, in order to swap in Android.
As TabletPCReview reported in June, following conversations with Lenovo reps, when the company first began developing the U1, Android was not yet a player in the mobile OS landscape. But because of the changing market, Lenovo was forced to adapt quickly. As Lenovo explained, the move was not entirely difficult because of Lenovo’s Android experience with the LePhone, a popular smartphone in China that runs Android.
Lenovo will also be launching the 10.1-inch LePad tablet to the Chinese market in December. Lenovo did not reveal the LePad device specs when it was announced in July, but Engadget is reporting that the LePad is actually the tablet portion of the U1 (tablet sold separately?).
In comments made in regards to the LePad and its market rival, the iPad — which recently launched in China — Lenovo chairman Liu Chuanzhi said, “We [Lenovo] are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.”