The IT Tablet
It takes more than just a couple of hardware tweaks to turn a consumer product into a corporate tool. Lenovo's ThinkPad tablet design addresses this fact.
According to Kevin Beck, WW competitive analyst at Lenovo, two concepts drove the tablet's design. Whereas consumer-type tablets are made primarily to consume and display content, the ThinkPad is made to create and edit content. That's why the keyboard and digitizer pen are necessary accessories.
The second major design concern addressed security challenges of IT managers. The ThinkPad uses active directory schemes similar to what you'd find on Windows-based PCs. That means, for example, that you can simply type in a password to authenticate your identity instead of swiping or entering a passcode like you would on a typical Android device.
Android's continuing evolution also means that the ThinkPad tablet can encrypt all local media the same way. In the past, Android would let you encrypt internal memory, but you had to install a third-party app in order to encrypt any add-on media, such as an SD card. With Lenovo's system, you can encrypt all data in the same manner, which drastically reduces workflow headaches for IT pros.
Unlike consumer tablets, which ship with identical, pre-installed software, corporate clients can order their ThinkPad tablets to spec. That is, they request certain pre-installed apps that work best within their organization's scheme, and Lenovo customizes that shipment of tablets just for that company. Furthermore, Lenovo built a support ecosystem just to service corporate ThinkPad clients, so when issues arise, they'll have the help they need to get back to work.
And work is really what this product is all about. With so many fun models on the market, it's easy to see why the tablet business is booming. The next step, at least in Lenovo's eyes, is to see whether tablets can actually get serious and help run a business. The well-armed ThinkPad tablet may certainly convince a lot of IT and corporate types that it can.