Lenovo’s new IdeaTab sports Android 4.0, grows tablet market

by Kristen Nicole

And the Android 4.0 tablets keep coming. After a slow start since Google released Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich last year, more device makers are unveiling tablets around the updated OS. Lenovo is the latest, outing the IdeaTab S2109 measuring 8.9mm thick with a 9.7-inch, 4:3 aspect display. While the size is similar to its rivaling iPad, the S2109’s 1024x768 IPS panel is no match for Apple’s new Retina Display. The 10-hour battery life is worth noting, and while there’s no official word on S2109’s processor, it’s expected to feature something similar to its S2 sibling, which runs a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4. No details on pricing or availability, but Lenovo’s IdeaTab S2109 already faces some heady competition.

Growing tablet competition

Google, for one, is hoping to unveil its 7-inch, co-branded tablet this summer, offering up another ICS device for a growing pool of “new-age” Androids. Google hopes to make an example of its own device, promoting their operating system designed to combine the best of smartphones and tablets, along with Google’s other apps and services, like Gmail, Google Play, Google+ and possibly even GDrive for storage. There’s a range of Android tablets already on the market, coming in a variety of sizes and prices, and it’s expected that this strategy will work for tablets as well as it did for smartphones, eventually taking over the iPad’s dominant market share.

But there’s growing rumors that Apple’s looking to curb Android’s broad appeal with a 7-inch iPad of its own. A recent article by Thomas Claburn explores the many reasons why Apple should create a mini iPad for portability, price variation and the rising competition from Android. There’s no telling if Apple will actually go the route of a mini iPad, given iOS’s monolithic approach to devices and its operating system. One reason iOS devices are so attractive to developers is the limited variation in OS standards across devices, unlike Android smartphones and tablets, which must account for a range of screen sizes and resolutions. Even if Apple does consider a mini iPad, it must keep its developer community in mind.

Android rivals spar for developer love

And the developer community remains a priority for other Android rivals, including RIM and Microsoft. While RIM has enabled sideloading for PlayBook owners to get more Android apps on their tablets while waiting for native versions, it’s destroying their developer relations as these free side-loads diminish official releases. As a result, RIM decided to drop sideloading support from the PlayBook in its upcoming update. Microsoft, on the other hand, has taken to paying developers to create apps for Windows Phone, and its partner Nokia could prove useful for the developer community with the Lumia 900 in terms of distribution and technology.

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