Can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet? According to the folks at Lenovo, you soon won’t have to. On the eve of CES 2011 at a press event in Las Vegas, company reps were on hand to present the updated and ready-for-sale IdeaPad U1 Hybrid, which combines a Windows-running laptop with an Android 2.2-running LePad tablet. In laptop mode, the LePad serves as the screen for the laptop. If you want to do some tablet computing, however, you just pull the LePad off and use it on its own. We reported on a previous incarnation of the system a year ago, but this time we got the chance to see it up close and personal.
The LePad features a 1.3 GHz Snapdragon processor and a capacitive touchscreen. A USB connector links the tablet to the laptop, and users can toggle between the two with the flip of a switch below the laptop’s tablet-mounting surface. The laptop remains booted when the tablet is removed, allowing users to work on a Windows project in laptop mode, temporarily remove the tablet to do some Android work, then put the tablet back into the laptop and continue where they left off with Windows.
Lenovo plans to begin selling the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid in China this month, at approximately US$500 for the LePad alone, and about US$1,300 for the whole system. When it does become available in other parts of the world, the tablet’s operating system will be upgraded to Android 3.
Below is a video in which one of the company representatives demonstrates the "dual nature" of the setup.