China’s largest PC vendor Lenovo plans to launch a tablet computer in the US and China next year and – in a nod to market leader Apple – has dubbed the device ‘LePad.’ The Wall Street Journal broke the news, although there are no further details on pricing, operating system, screen size or other specs.
Lenovo will follow rivals such as Dell, Samsung and RIM into the tablet market – offering the Streak, Galaxy Tab and PlayBook, respectively – in an effort to battle the early dominance of Apple’s iPad device. According to Strategy Analytics, the iPad grabbed a 96 percent share of the tablet market in the third-quarter this year, a period in which 4.4 million total devices were sold. Juniper Research forecasts that the number of annual shipments for tablet devices will reach 81 million by 2015 as more vendors enter the market. Juniper claims that Apple, “as first to market with its compelling hardware and content combination,” will maintain market lead for the medium term but will see major competition from Android-based devices. In light of Lenovo’s previous support for Android, via its OPhone smartphones for China Mobile, the Google-backed operating system seems the most likely platform for its new tablet. Separately, the company today announced a US$15 million investment program for the apps market.