As expected, tablets are already making news at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show with Lenovo showing off its LePad Tuesday night. The LePad tablet will go on sale first in China, with other products to follow later this year for the US

Lenovo shows its first tablet, the LePad

Lenovo has shown off its first tablet computer, the LePad, and will launch more tablets later this year in a bid to carve out some share in the emerging market dominated by Apple’s iPad.

The LePad has a 10.1-inch screen and runs Google’s Android 2.2 OS on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It was shown Tuesday evening at an event for press and analysts at the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The LePad will go on sale first in China later this quarter, priced between US$399 and $449, said Leo Li, a Lenovo senior product manager. The company isn’t certain yet if it will sell the product overseas, but it may offer a version in the U.S. that connects to the Android Market, he said.

Lenovo also plans to launch several other Android-based tablets in the U.S., perhaps in the second half of the year, Li said. He didn’t provide details.

Lenovo is the dominant PC maker in China and the first LePad has features aimed specifically at that market, including localized gaming, news and other content. It supports Flash, as many online gaming and video applications in China are driven by that technology.

Lenovo also showed the IdeaPad U1, a hybrid device that turns the LePad into a netbook-like product. The LePad serves as the monitor but can also be detached to function as a tablet. It runs a Windows OS and has an Intel Atom processor. The U1 will be priced at about $1,000. Company officials could not provide details about availability.

A version of the U1 tablet was shown at last year’s CES, but the device was scrapped when development began on the LePad, Li said.

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