Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 to start at $629

ThinkPad Tablet 2 will run Windows 8 and be available on Oct. 26

Lenovo's highly anticipated ThinkPad Tablet 2 with Windows 8 will be priced starting at $629, the company said.

The tablet will have a 10.1-inch screen and become available on Oct. 26, alongside Microsoft's launch Windows 8 for PCs and tablets. The $629 base price is just for the tablet and does not include accessories, said a Lenovo spokesman at an AT&T event in New York City on Thursday evening.

The tablet weighs less than 1.3 pounds (589 grams), measures 0.4 inches thick and offers up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. The accessories, which will be sold separately, include a keyboard dock that can hold a tablet and function as a wireless Bluetooth keyboard.

With the new tablet, Lenovo is switching over to Windows and Intel (Wintel), which is dominant in PCs but not yet established in tablets. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 has Windows 8 Pro and an Intel Atom processor code-named Clover Trail, which operates at a clock speed of 1.86GHz. The tablet succeeds the original ThinkPad Tablet, which shipped in the middle of last year with an ARM processor and Google's Android 3.1 OS code-named Honeycomb.

ThinkPad Tablet 2 was officially announced on Aug. 8, but pricing was not provided. The $629 price is an indication that starting prices for Windows 8 tablets with Clover trail processors will fall within the $500 to $700 range. Hewlett-Packard earlier this week announced the self-repair-friendly ElitePad 900, which had an initial price tag of $699 that was later withdrawn.

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 tablet will compete with Windows 8 tablets from companies like Dell, which has announced the 10-inch Latitude 10, and Clover Trail products from ZTE, Acer, Asus, Fujitsu, LG Electronics and Samsung. The tablet pricing may also depend on the screen size and SSD (solid-state drive) storage capacity.

Microsoft, Acer and Asus are also releasing Windows 8 tablets with Intel's more demanding Core processors based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture. The tablets are also meant to function as laptops and in general may have less battery life because Core processors are more power hungry than the tablet-specific Clover Trail chips. Acer earlier this week announced that its Iconia W700 Windows 8 tablet with Core processors will start at $799.

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 will also be available with 3G and LTE mobile broadband capabilities, which could alter the price. The spokesman did not detail how data plans would be packaged and priced with tablets.

Other features in the ThinkPad Tablet 2 include front and rear cameras, wireless video streaming and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port. The tablet will also accept input from a digitizer pen, which will be available separately.

Lenovo is aiming the tablet at home and office use. It will existing Windows applications and drivers, making it easier to connect printers or cameras. Existing Windows applications will not run on Windows RT, a tablet OS also being released by Microsoft for tablets and PCs with ARM processors, which are used in most tablets today, including Apple's iPad.

The tablet can be remotely managed, making it an easier fit in enterprises. A range of management tools will help IT managers remotely deploy applications and also prevent users from installing specific applications. The tablet also has a fingerprint reader.

Lenovo is also considering releasing devices with Windows RT, the spokesman said. He did not provide a timeline on when such devices would be released.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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