Lenovo has announced its first family of tablets, with two being launched under the IdeaPad brand along with a ThinkPad tablet that uses Google’s Android 3.1 operating system.

Lenovo had recently released LePad, a 10in Android tablet that can dock with a laptop base, in China only, but rumours of these new tablets for the US had been rife for months and the ThinkPad version (pictured) looked the most interesting of the three when I was shown them recently.

It is business-like in its capabilities – Lenovo has not stinted in adding connectivity, with more ports than you would find on a laptop such as the MacBook Air.

There are connections for mini-HDMI, micro-USB, a dock and full-sized USB 2.0, SD memory card and Sim card slots.

The tablet has a 10.1in screen covered in toughened Corning Gorilla Glass and capable of HD viewing. It also has a wide viewing angle with its In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology.

It is powered by a dual-core Nvidia Tegra processor and has a 2Mp front-facing camera and a 5Mp rear one. It weighs 100g more than the iPad 2 and is 5mm thicker. Battery life is estimated at 8.7 hours compared to the iPad 2’s 10 hours.

I was impressed with its ThinkPad looks – it has the same black rubberised paint finish – and, with its high specifications and great connectivity, it should go down well in the enterprise.

Consumers should also be attracted by the keen pricing, which matches that of the iPad 2 at $499 for the 16Gb version. There are also 32Gb and 64Gb models and 3G versions will be available later.

An extra $30 buys an N-trig digital pen that can be used to make notes using software that will also convert handwriting to text. There is also an attractive case with a physical keyboard available for $99.

Lenovo is also offering the more consumer-focused IdeaPad K1, which, like the ThinkPad, runs Android 3.1, has a dual-core processor and 10.1in screen. For $499, it offers double the storage of the ThinkPad, with 32Gb.

Lenovo says the two are the first Android Honeycomb tablets to feature Netflix video streaming.

They can be ordered on lenovo.com from today, while the third tablet, the IdeaPad P1, running Windows 7, will be available in the fourth quarter.

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