Lenovo planning Android-based convertibles


— 11:11 AM on January 14, 2013

Tablets were everywhere at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Lenovo uncorked a couple of fresh Windows 8-based convertibles, including one that draws from Intel's new family of lower-power Ivy Bridge processors. The firm reportedly has more convertibles on the way, and they won't run Windows. DigiTimes' sources say Lenovo is working on new notebook/tablet hybrids that run Google's Android OS.

Lenovo already makes an Android-based tablet, the IdeaPad A1107, but that's a budget 7-incher with a 1024x600 display resolution. The new convertibles will apparently be part of Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga family, which means they should feature keyboards attached via 360° hinges. Those hinges allow Yoga systems to fold flat, with their screen and keyboard facing outwards in a sort of inside-out configuration.

DigiTimes' sources aren't sure whether the new Yoga models will feature x86 processors from Intel or ARM-based designs from another firm. An ARM-based SoC would seem like a natural fit for an Android device, and Lenovo already makes an 11.6" Yoga with Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor. That 64GB system runs Windows RT and sells for $750 online. I wonder how much it would cost without the Windows license—or with the Tegra 3 swapped for one of Intel's tablet-optimized Atom chips.

Intel has been talking up Android x86 optimizations since last fall. While a few Atom-based Android smartphones have popped onto the market, we haven't seen the combo make its way to the tablet world. Running Anrdoid on an x86-based convertible seems a little wasteful, though. If the hardware is Windows-compatible and there's a keyboard attached, Android might not be the best choice of operating system. A dual-boot setup would be more interesting for such a device.

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