Lenovo may be consistently updating their tablet PC range - in fact their latest press release pointed out that their first ThinkPad was in fact a tablet - but that doesn't mean they're going blithely down the same path as Apple and the rest. According to CNET, the company have tested the slate form-factor waters with their customers, but the allure of the legendary ThinkPad keyboard is simply too great.
"We of course build plastic mock-ups that we show (to customers)...we had a slate form factor. The feedback was that for (our) customers it will not work because of the need to have (a physical) keyboard" Mika Majapuro, senior worldwide product marketing manager, Lenovo
Interestingly, the feedback was consistent not only from enterprise customers, but from a younger market that Lenovo polled. Asked whether they'd be interested in a Lenovo slate, a group of 14 year old high school students apparently said they too would prefer to have a physical keyboard.
Slate form-factor devices have traditionally found sales success in vertical markets, with users finding the concept intriguing but text-entry a chore. However, the iPad is expected to change that somewhat with its consumer-centric functionality, although appeal to enterprise customers will likely be slow, just like the iPhone before it.