Lenovo plans Android tablet PC in growth push

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Lenovo Group, the world’s No.4 PC brand, said it will roll out its own tablet PC, becoming the latest technology company to jump on the bandwagon for computers styled after Apple Inc’s popular iPad.

Lenovo was developing a tablet PC, known internally as LePad, that would run on Google Inc’s Android operating system, Lenovo spokeswoman Wu Hwa said on Wednesday, adding that no launch date had been set and the name of the product may change.

“We want the tablet PC to be compatible with our LePhone smartphone, which is why we’re using Android,” Wu said.

LePhone is Lenovo’s smartphone offering in China, sold by China Unicom, which also runs on Android.

Tablet PC shipments are expected to grow by an average 57.4 percent per year between 2010 and 2014, research firm IDC said, making the sector a lucrative growth area for companies selling heavily commoditized laptops.

The tablet PC has already caught the attention of major PC companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc and now Lenovo, as they look to diversify beyond laptop PCs that typically offer low profit margins.

Apple’s iPad, launched in April, sold 3.27 million units in the second quarter, prompting research firm iSuppli to revise upwards its full-year shipment forecast for the product to 13 million units from 7.1 million units.

“iSuppli believe that the only limitation on iPad sales now is production and not demand,” iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander said.

Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Chris Lewis