Lenovo Brings Its Windows 8 Game With New ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo unveiled Thursday its new ThinkPad Tablet 2, the first tablet from the PC giant to be specifically designed for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS.

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is slated to launch alongside the release of Windows 8 in late October, targeted primarily at enterprise users. It runs Windows 8 Pro, the business-focused flavor of the Windows 8 family that Microsoft has said is geared more toward business and technical professionals than everyday consumers.

The new device also touts a number of enterprise-ready security features, such as an optional Fingerprint Reader and biometrically stored passwords, and has a full-sized USB port for users to attach to other in-office devices like monitors or printers.

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What’s more, IT managers can enable VPN access to the ThinkPad Tablet 2 and leverage existing Windows 7 PC management tools to manage application deployments and block users from installing unauthorized apps.

"Because of the security and management system that just works seamlessly with a Windows 7 environment in an IT shop, the ability to access corporate databases and corporate applications is really just seamless," Preston Taylor, senior global product manager in Lenovo’s ThinkPad group, told CRN. "It just works."

The ThinkPad Tablet 2 runs on Intel’s Atom mobile architecture and sports a thin and light-weight frame optimized for on-the-go use. Lenovo said the 10.1-inch tablet measures 0.38 inches thick and weighs in at just under 1.3 pounds, making it lighter than both Apple's new iPad and Microsoft's own Surface tablet.

"This product is as competitive as any other product on the market when it comes to mobility," Taylor said.

Users will also have the option of buying separately a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard and a stylus pen to be used with the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

When the new device launches in October, it will go head-to-head with a number of other Windows 8-based systems from Microsoft partners including HP and Dell. It will also face direct competition from Microsoft itself, after the software giant thrust itself unexpectedly into the mobile hardware market with the launch of Surface, its debut tablet PC, in June.

A price for the ThinkPad Tablet 2 has not yet been determined, Taylor said, but Lenovo plans to make it competitive.