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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet now on sale

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet (August 2011)

Hot on the heels of Hewlett-Packard announcing it was getting out of the tablet and mobile device market (and maybe PCs too!), Lenovo is stepping up to the place, announcing it’s new “business-class” ThinkPad Tablet is now on sale with prices starting at $499. The ThinkPad Tablet sports Android 3.1, a 10.1-inch display, anywhere from 16 to 64 GB of storage, and can be used with an optional digitizer pen for handwriting input.

“The ThinkPad Tablet gives mobile professionals the most intuitive user experience available on a tablet today, thanks to its unique pen-based handwriting recognition technology,” said Lenovo ThinkPad business unit VP and general manager Dilip Bhatia, in a statement. “We wanted to replicate the way people work naturally with pen and paper by allowing them to digitally write, draw and create content while also optimizing the ThinkPad Tablet for business with a layered security solution and full IT management.”

The ThinkPad Tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and the 10.1-inch display sports a healthy 1,280 by 800-pixel resolution. No mobile broadband options are available, but the ThinkPad Tablets do pack 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi The ThinkPad tablet also sports a full-sized USB port for storage and other peripherals, a full-sized SD card slot for removable media, a mini-HDMI output for connecting to a bigger display for presentations and other “business-class” purposes. There’s also a front-facing camera (of unspecified resolution).

Lenovo hopes the ThinkPad Tablet will appeal to corporate types to manage enterprises’ IT assets—and want those assets locked down. In addition to connecting to the Android Market, the ThinkPad Tablet will be able to access the Lenovo App Shop, which will offer quick access to “leading apps” that are certified to work on the tablet and guaranteed malware-free. The tablet also features layered security options, including full storage encryption (that extends to the SD card too), remote wipe capabilities (via Computrace), and full VPN support for secure remote connections back to headquarters. IT managers can also configure the device’s settings and security via preloaded configurations, and can use LANdesk to deploy and manage software on the tablets.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is available in three configurations: the only differences between them are built-in storage—16, 32, and 64 GB, respectively—and suggested price: $529, $599, and $699 with digitizer pen, $499, $569, and $669 without. The ThinkPad Tablets are on sale now; Lenovo says they should start shipping August 29.