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CES 2010: Lenovo Targets iPhone With 'LePhone'

Gordon Kelly


CES 2010: Lenovo Targets iPhone With 'LePhone'

Lenovo has had a wealth of news so far this week (though just you guys wait until we get to the rash of Samsung announcements), and while we'd long expected the much anticipated Skylight smartbook this came somewhat out of the blue...

The strangely named 'LePhone' is the company's first major play in the smartphone market (we don't really count the OPhone) and could be a handset to give the recently launched Google Nexus One nightmares.

The similarities are striking with a matching 3.7in 800 x 480 OLED capacitive touchscreen display, the same 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset at its core and Android is the OS at its heart. Where things differ however is (at present) the LePhone will launch with v1.6 rather than 2.1 of the open source software though it also has 8GB of native memory alongside its HSDPA, WiFi and aGPS as opposed to the Nexus One's paltry 512MB, while both have microSD expansion slots.

Lenovo has chosen the route of so many other Android handset makers and produced its own custom UI overlay. Much like HTC's Sense, the Lenovo UI focuses on social networking with contacts integrated from Facebook, etc much in the style of the Palm Pre. In demo the interface was still a little jerky, but there is plenty of time for this to be polished up before release.

When will that be? According to Lenovo it is China that will see the LePhone first and a launch will be within in the next couple of months. A confirmed international launch is then to follow "in the first part of 2010".

Promising stuff and it makes you wonder if, impressive as it is, the Google Nexus One could end up being a me-too device faster than anyone anticipated...

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