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CES 2010: Lenovo Unveils Hybrid Laptop Tablet

Gordon Kelly


CES 2010: Lenovo Unveils Hybrid Laptop Tablet

While it is hard to take the main focus away from the Skylight smartbook, Lenovo has also used CES to announce a rather intriguing hybrid.

The 'IdeaPad U1' cashes in on two current fads mixing an 11.6in multi-touch tablet with a thin and light laptop. It does this by essentially making the display of the U1 detachable, or providing the tablet with a laptop shaped keyboard dock - depending on your perspective.

The U1 means business on the performance side too. In tablet form, the U1 runs a custom version of Linux and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm ARM Snapdragon chipset and 512MB RAM, ie: lightweight OS and long battery life (up to eight hours). Strap it into its keyboard shell however and you'll suddenly get the benefit of an Intel Core 2 Duo SU processor with up to 4GB RAM and the option of Windows 7 which lasts up to six hours - clever stuff.

On the connectivity side there is integrated 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and HDMI, while you'll also find a 1.3MP webcam, card reader, eSATA, VGA and a pair of USB ports. The problem however could be the cost, with the IdeaPad U1 starting from $1,000 (£623) and it won't arrive until June. This isn't bad, but it is substantially more than circa 1Kg CULV based machines that offer similarly long battery life. That said, this intriguing device is more likely aimed at the niche market and if you are smitten by its particular charms then there's little likely to compare...


January 6, 2010, 2:44 pm

That is astonishingly pointless. I could perhaps understand it if it was a dockable tablet which just gained more battery and a keyboard and some ports when you attached it to its base, but having it run a different OS in that mode just sounds needlessly complicated. Even if it is set up to share files across the two seamlessly, your UI and application set's going to be completely different. One OS at a time, please?


January 6, 2010, 3:19 pm

Great idea, lousy execution. Problem is when you undock the screen you're suddenly running an entirely different OS and applications with no guarantee your data will be available for editing or work properly. And on top of that is the price, over a grand is ridiculous, if you're going to spend that much why not get a top spec CULV machine for around £600 and invest in something like an iPod Touch and a MiFi adaptor for on the go computing? Far more portable day-to-day and when you need the full OS and a keyboard you just chuck the laptop in a bag. It's not as if a tablet that size is pocketable after all, you're still going to need a bag for it if you're going out of the house / office.


January 6, 2010, 3:20 pm

Totally agree with Mawich. However, it would be cool if we could just buy the top bit!


January 6, 2010, 4:40 pm

I love the idea, and I can sort of see the reason for the different OS (battery life, size etc) but I just can't see how the switch over will work. You're reading a PDF ebook, you dock it, the internal storage is mapped as another drive - maybe. But email? proper work? I'll keep my fingers crossed, but against the Timeline tablet I know where my money would go.


January 6, 2010, 5:46 pm

Which bit is the 3G in?


January 6, 2010, 7:39 pm

The article doesn't say you have to run a different OS - the base could also by running linux in which case both the tablet and the 'base' computer could be running exactly the same OS. It would also presumably be possible to dual boot windows7 and linux on the base to maximise compatibility. The ARM chip in the tablet couldn't run windows 7 anyway. Personally I don't think this is much of an issue as I don't see many people using the tablet for office work (I would want the keyboard!) - it's more likely it would be used for web browsing and e-mail in which case the underlying OS is (virtually) irrelevant. I think this could be an exciting product!


January 6, 2010, 9:28 pm

This concept would work well for a Chrome OS computer where everything is saved on the cloud.


January 6, 2010, 10:07 pm

@ TR comment submission - Am I not allowed to link to a site providing useful information on here. BTW if this does make it past the submission system. This is the only site I have come across that does not allow you to link to other sites. Many sites use these comments to make their own content richer by linking to the article within the actual page.


January 6, 2010, 10:10 pm

Nope, sorry that was me - was bulk moderating and pressed the wrong button. Please resubmit it.


January 6, 2010, 10:24 pm


Thanks for the reply. I would like to let you know that out of about 6 comments in the past couple of days I have had 3 comments not passing moderation, all of which contained a link to another site, hence why I said the above.


January 7, 2010, 1:17 am

@Ryan - WiFi and 3G is in both parts

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