Lenovo's IdeaPad U1 hybrid tablet laptop delayed to 2011

Lenovo's IdeaPad U1 was originally slated for a June 1 release this year

Lenovo's IdeaPad U1 -- a hybrid PC that can function as both a laptop and a tablet -- will be launched in China early next year, pushing back its release date from this past June.

The Chinese PC maker delayed the product because it did not meet company standards, according to comments made by Lenovo's Chief Marketing Officer David Roman to The Wall Street Journal. The company later confirmed the statement. Roman also said the computer could be redesigned before launch.

Lenovo announced the IdeaPad U1 this January, calling it "the industry's first hybrid PC for consumers." The device debuted as a Windows laptop with a detachable touchscreen that can be used as a separate tablet PC.

The computer featured an 11.6-inch screen and weighed 3.8 pounds (1.7kgs). It ran on Windows 7, but when detached the device operated on Linux with a reported 16GB of flash memory. Once detached, the tablet can connect to the Internet through a 3G connection.

The retail price of the device was estimated at the time to be US$999. But after the device was announced, Lenovo stalled on its release date.

Instead, the company later announced in July that it was planning on releasing its own tablet PC called the "LePad", which will use the Android mobile operating system. The company has said the LePad will be released at the end of this year.

Roman said Lenovo has yet to decide if the IdeaPad U1 will be sold as a hybrid PC or whether it will sell the tablet portion of the computer as a stand-alone device.

Lenovo will release the tablet computers amid growing competition in China. Last week Apple officially began selling its iPad to the mainland market. Other Chinese companies have also begun developing their own devices as well.

ZTE, one of China's largest phone and network suppliers, said earlier this month it was developing a tablet computer to be named the SmartPad V9. The tablet will run on the Android 2.1 operating system and features a 7-inch touch screen. The device will be launched later this year in Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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