ThinkPad slate pre-orders to start August 2 at $499

It's easy to lose interest in tablets amid the deluge of largely identical-looking Android offerings. Lenovo's upcoming ThinkPad Tablet is a more intriguing animal, though. As luck would have it, the guys at Android Authority have gleaned some fresh details about the tablet and posted a little hands-on preview.

According to their story, Lenovo will start taking orders for the ThinkPad Tablet on August 2... and will only charge $499 for the device. Shipments will reportedly kick off later in August. Considering the price premiums often associated with ThinkPads, that's nice to hear. It sounds like the base config will have 16GB of storage capacity (just like the similarly priced iPad 2), Bluetooth, GPS connectivity, and a 3250 mAh battery good for "nearly 9 hours under moderate to heavy usage, even with WiFi turned on."

More interesting are the add-ons, which will include a $30 digitizer stylus, a $99 "Keyboard portfolio case" (which has a standard ThinkPad chiclet keyboard with an optical TrackPoint), and a suite of apps geared toward business users. Among the apps will be Microsoft Office document editors, note-taking software with handwriting input support, and encryption software.

Judging by the hands-on video, that portfolio case looks pretty slick and sturdy, even if it adds a decent amount of bulk to the machine. The way it opens up reminds me more of the original iPad Case than the Eee Pad Transformer with its keyboard dock, though, because it looks like the whole contraption only folds out one way.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
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