Another day, another iPad competitor. This time, Lenovo is pushing a tablet that's comparably sized to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) alternative and more business-savvy than Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ ) now-defunct TouchPad.
The new ThinkPad tablet family will begin shipping on Aug. 30. All three options -- ranging from 16 to 64 gigabytes of storage capacity -- are based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android operating system, and blessed with software for managing business on the go. The news dovetails with reports that AMD (NYSE: AMD ) has hired a former Lenovo executive to be its new CEO. Chief among AMD's concerns is getting more competitive in the mobile market itself.
Among the options is Citrix's (Nasdaq: CTXS ) Receiver, which allows tablet users to access PC desktops remotely. Other apps include Documents to Go for working with Word, Excel, and Google Docs files, and McAfee's Mobile Security software. Add it up, and you've got a compelling package for business users. Procurement executives will surely be pleased.
Yet it may not be enough. Thanks to the Internet, cloud computing apps, and advances in data portability, consumers have never had more control over tech purchasing decisions than they do now. Who cares if my company buys PCs? So long as my Mac provides the data my managers need, the underlying platform is irrelevant. Compatibility isn't the selling point it once was.
For Lenovo, this means competing on features, functions, and price. That may be a problem. Both the iPad and peer offerings from Samsung and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) allow for connecting to 3G (or in some cases, 4G) networks. None of Lenovo's tablets are even 3G-ready.
Worse, the company's pitch for "25 free apps" rings hollow when Apple's store holds hundreds of thousands of apps that appeal across a wide spectrum of casual and business users. Apps are the key to mobile success, and Apple is engaging developers at a level even Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) can appreciate.
A serious iPad challenger will emerge someday. Lenovo could even be the company to come up with it. They just aren't there yet. Do you agree? Disagree? Weigh in using the comments box below. And if you're in the mood for more mobile stock ideas, this free report takes an in-depth look at a company poised to reap a windfall from the rise of mobile computing. Click here to get your copy now -- it's 100% free.