Lenovo to sell LePad tablet in U.S. and China next year

Lenovo will sell a tablet product, called LePad, in the United States and China next year, according to CEO Yang Yuanqing. The Chinese computer maker is relatively new to  the mobile market, but is trying to make a splash with handsets and now tablets.

Yuanqing disclosed the product to the Wall Street Journal, and said it will go on sale in China early next year. However, he stayed mum on pricing, what operating system it will run and whether the company will partner with carriers.

In May, Lenovo debuted its first smartphone, LePhone, in China, and said it hoped to sell 1 million units of the gadget this year. The smartphone runs a tweaked version of Google's Android 2.1 software and includes support for push email and other content services. The Chinese search engine Baidu replaced Google as the phone's primary search engine. The LePhone has a 1 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon processor, 3.7-inch AMOLED screen and dual 3-megapixel cameras.

Lenovo faces a steep hill in tablets; the company will compete against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), LG, Hewlett-Packcard, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung and others. Indeed, Samsung's Android-powered GalaxyTab went on sale this week at T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will launch the tablet Sunday, and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) will launch Samsung's gadget Nov. 21. Research firm Gartner expects tablet sales to jump from 19.5 million this year to 54 million in 2011.

In other tablet news, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said the company is working with Google on Android tablets for next year.

Interestingly, he criticized Samsung's GalaxyTab. "You can't just do another product," he told CNet. "Look at the Samsung GalaxyTab. It's a tablet that uses a phone operating system on a large display. A tablet is not a large phone."

Huang said forthcoming tablets using Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 processor "give you the benefit of higher performance and much, much better multitasking and better graphics," which can allow products to differentiate themselves from the iPad.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this CNet article

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