Lenovo debuts computer tablet

David Gura Aug 23, 2011

Lenovo debuts computer tablet

David Gura Aug 23, 2011

Stacey Vanek Smith: China-based Lenovo debuts its tablet computer today. Lenovo hopes its ThinkPad tablet will be the new Apple iPad, but it’s a tough world for tablets. Last week, HP discontinued its TouchPad after less than two months on the market.

Marketplace’s David Gura has more.

David Gura: When you hear the phrase “tablet computer,” odds are, you’ll think of the iPad. Apple introduced the device last year, and since then, it’s sold more than 25 million.

Jayson Noland is with Robert W. Baird and Company.

Jayson Noland: It’s really tough for other companies — even companies the size of HP — to break into that effectively.

Noland says that’s because the Apple tablet came first.

Noland: A great product attracts users, which attracts developers, which attracts more users, and it’s kind of a winner-take-all market.

Other companies entered the race late, and they’re trying to catch up. There are tablets that run on the Android operating system, and there’s the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Carl Howe is a tech analyst with the Yankee Group. He says companies should stop trying to copy Apple.

Carl Howe: I think one of the things that some of the other companies have to do is create new experiences that are different than the iPad.

It appeals to consumers, who want to watch movies and listen to music and read e-books. Starting today, Lenovo is marketing its ThinkPad tablet to business users. And there’s another thing companies may want to keep in mind:

Larry Dignan: Price matters.

That’s Larry Dignan, the editor of the tech site ZDNet. iPads start at almost $500. If a competitor can make a device that’s less expensive, he says, that’ll have broad appeal. Last weekend, HP tried to get rid of those Touchpad tablets it discontinued. They were on sale for just $99. Dignan says they flew off store shelves — and HP’s site couldn’t keep up with the traffic.

In Washington, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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