Lenovo wants to replicate the 2011 success of Asus’s Transformer Prime tablet, showing off its own IdeaTab S2 tablet with keyboard dock. No pricing or availability was announced Sunday evening at the Consumer Electronics Show, but the hardware appears capable, will run Google Android 4.0 out of the box, and runs for 20 hours with an optional keyboard dock.
The 10-inch tablet is about one-third of an inch thick and weighs 1.1 pounds, making it one of the lightest 10-inch slates on the market. Instead of a quad-core CPU — something I expect to see quite a bit at CES this year — Qualcomm’s dual-core 8960 chip powers the S2, which should be plenty powerful enough. Like many other hardware-makers, Lenovo is putting it’s own software twist on the user interface with what it calls the Mondrian UI. The tile-like UI reminds me of Microsoft’s finger-friendly Metro interface.
Perhaps most appealing to potential tablet buyers is a hardware keyboard dock, reminiscent of Asus’s popular tablet. With it, Lenovo says the S2 can run for 20 hours on a single charge, tapping the battery integrated in the dock. It’s a clever idea: Gain the usability of a keyboard and extend battery life at the same time.
I’ll be meeting with Lenovo representatives later this week and plan to get some hands on time with the S2, so watch for additional details. If Lenovo prices the S2 competitively and delivers the product soon, it will be interesting to see if it can capture some of the positive momentum Asus found last year with a similar Android tablet.