Can Microsoft Beat Lenovo’s IdeaPad with Docking Station Keyboard for $500?

Can Microsoft Beat Lenovo's IdeaPad with Docking Station Keyboard for $500?When Microsoft originally announced its intention to mass produce its Surface tablet computer system, it sent the technology world into a tizzy. However, the one question that the press and technology enthusiasts alike begged to have answered revolved around what could be expected in the way of specifications for this new product. The fact that Microsoft failed to answer this question led many bloggers who covered the unveiling to question the rewards of buying into the new Windows 8 toy. So, after reading many of these comments, I recall thinking to myself that this product isn’t ready for consumer scrutiny and that the press conference must have been one of the following:

  • A great dog and pony show.
  • A smoke and mirrors presentation.
  • A Barnum & Bailey sneak peek. (Yes, there is in fact a sucker born every minute.)

Since that press conference, Microsoft has released the following information about its Surface tablet computer:

  • Windows 8, the operating system being installed on the Surface tablet, will be released to the masses on October 26, 2012.
  • Upgrading to the new Windows 8 operating system will only cost you $39.99. This inexpensive upgrade will be made available to consumers currently operating their systems with XP, Vista, or Windows 7.
  • Five companies have been selected to produce the new Windows 8 computers.

So while Microsoft dragged its feet on disclosing its marketing plan and on relating the specifics of what the consumer could expect to be offered with the Surface computer, Lenovo introduced its original IdeaPad. Its unveiling occurred at CES in January 2012, under the code name Yoga.

It appears that Yoga was well received and was able to intrigue viewers with the way that it combined the best features of both a tablet and a laptop. The company was also quite up front with what the consumer could expect from the 16 GB model that is regularly priced at $499. The specifications include the following:

  • CPU — Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060A processor
  • OS — Android 4.0
  • Memory — 1.0 GHz
  • Display — 10.1″ SD LED Glossy multi-touch with integrated camera 1280 x 800
  • Storage — 16 GB
  • ThinkPad 11.b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Front 1.3 MP, rear 5.0 MP cameras

Note: If you are in the market for an Android-powered system from Lenovo, I would wait until Lenovo offers the same unit on sale. Interestingly enough this unit with dock was on sale just this last week for $100 less. I believe this is a fair price point and will make Lenovo competitive with other tablets and laptops currently on the market.

Can Microsoft Beat Lenovo's IdeaPad with Docking Station Keyboard for $500?Another tidbit of information that might interest you in these rival units is that yesterday a CNET blip referenced an alleged price leak from Microsoft that its Surface computers will hit retail stores at a price point of $1,000 to $2,000 (or more). Upon hearing this, my first thoughts were:

  • I can buy a full-blown, full-featured laptop for under $500.
  • The best tablet on the market, the Apple iPad, sells for $500.
  • The Lenovo IdeaPad sells for $500.

With that being the case, why would I want to spend twice as much for a Microsoft product? I totally fail to see Microsoft’s logic behind this type of pricing scheme. I truly don’t believe that Windows 8, with its Metro interface, can offer a big enough improvement over Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android to command double the price.

My feeling is that Microsoft hasn’t done its homework. If the company had, it would realize that it is facing stiff competition from two sources. The first of these, according to androidcentral, is that Intel has confirmed that it will fine tune its Atom processor for Google’s Android. The second source is taken from PCMag, which reported on the little known Chinese-based Shadow Tablet Market. This market is set to produce and deliver a slew of cheap, inexpensive Android-powered tablet computers. Once again, when one considers our currently fragile economic environment, it is easy to see Lenovo’s competitive strategy at play against the Microsoft empire when it comes to positioning its price point in a favorable light. With that being said, my question is why Microsoft would price its newest and greatest out of the middle class market.

Going back to the Shadow Tablet Market, you may recall a recent article that I posted, entitled How Good is an $89.99 7″ Android 4.0 Tablet Computer? The article contained a positive review of a no-name cheap Android-powered tablet computer with a keyboard/case that I had purchased from Amazon for under $90. In the article, I noted how surprised I was to see how well this inexpensive system functioned using Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as the fact that I found (despite its low-end hardware) that I actually had more fun using it than I had using my Amazon Kindle Fire.

My favorable experience may also explain why it is estimated that this no-name, no-brand, white-boxed market will account for over 40 million tablets being sold in 2012. Also of interest is the fact that the newest of these non-branded tablet computers will use an Android operating system — some even offering Google’s Android Ice Cream Sandwich. For us geeks out there, this says a lot since ICS is a vast improvement over previous Android versions. However, we also accept the fact that it is just a step upward since the latest Android release, Jelly Bean, comes pre-installed on the new Google Nexus 7. One can’t help but note that Jelly Bean is a pleasure to use and works extremely well on the Nexus 7.

What Does All of This Information Mean for Microsoft?

First, let me say that there are already enough articles written about the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 8. However, since one of my one of my fellow writers here at LockerGnome asked me if I was going to upgrade my Windows 7 computers to Windows 8, let me share my thoughts with you.

Remember, my computer days go way back. In fact, my first computer came installed with Windows 3.11. Until now, I have upgraded or purchased a computer with every version of Windows (except for Windows ME). However, since none of my laptops support touch screen technology, I have no intention of upgrading to Windows 8.

Given this, can Microsoft compete with Lenovo? I don’t know, especially since Microsoft has not confirmed pricing for any of its Surface computers. One would hope that Microsoft comes in with a pricing scheme to keep it competitive in a tight tablet marketplace, but it is coming into the tablet game late; it has a lot of catching up to do. In other words, Microsoft’s success or failure will be determined by how well the company demonstrates a real desire to be competitive with the likes of Lenovo, Apple, Amazon, and Google.

What do you think?

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Source: Lenovo

Source: CNET

Source: androidcentral

Source: PCMag

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • vincze

    you are perfectly right. I’m going to buy a 10” chinese tablet for 150 Euros, running Android 4.0….

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    Your points are justified, but your entire article is based on an illogical rumour from some Swedish site. The reason I say its illogical, is because it goes against everything we know and expect from Microsoft. They have traditionally been cheaper than their competitors. They also said that their tablets would be comparable to what is currently on the market. In other words the Surface will be equivalent to the ipad and the Surface Pro equivalent to an ultrabook. The inexpensive upgrade to windows 8 may be our first indication at the price point they are trying to achieve.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bharatkumargupta Bharat Kumar Gupta

      actually these guys are right, not one site but i ve also read couple of websites that says this surface tablet will be in and around 800 $ which is a fail.

  • mr.sour

    i belive that the $1000+ version is the i5 ultrabook tablet surface version not the arm based one that will be competing with the catorgory of tablets you mentioned.

  • Curtis Coburn

    I see a typo. “, since one of my one of my fellow writers” Just saying.

    I don’t see the Surface going to be a big hit. As you said, Microsoft didn’t do it’s homework. The previous tablet that Microsoft has made was the Sleet device. They were made by Smasung, and those (in my opinion) are not worth it. The price for those start out at over $1,000. For that price, you can buy a pretty powerful Desktop, or an iMac, or about 2 iPads.

    In my opinion, I am not seeing Microsoft trying to sell to the average user. I think they are trying to sell to some small majority of people. And that can do that, it’s just that people will not choose to buy a $1,000 tablet over something cheeper.
    What Amazon has done was a great thing. They were targeting the right people. They know what people want. Most people want to buy something that works well for a cheep price. People don’t want to buy something so cheep, that it sucks, but something cheep that works well. Amazon was right on game with that. And now Google, (doing it’s homework) makes the Nexus 7. A cheep powerful device, that can fit 90% of the needs of an average user.

    I think if Microsoft wants to be in the game, they need to try something like what Amazon and Google have done.

    • Eric Meyer

      I see a typo, “cheep” – should be cheap. Just saying

    • cesiumdeth

      I see a typo. “small majority” Just saying.

  • http://twitter.com/tWiZsHiZ sHiZ.us community

    We do not know how Surface is going to do when it hits the market. There are two many factors to look at. One, iPad and Android devices have been in the market for awhile now and are very successful. Two, Microsoft Surface is not just a tablet. A lot of businesses may purchase a Surface so they can use tablet like features and also access Desktop functions as well. iPad and Android does not offer the Desktop experience.

    My opinion and my money: I never bought a tablet before because it is limited. Somehow, I knew that when Microsoft comes out with a tablet, it will include the desktop along with tablet. I am very excited about this because I do run a small business. I would love to have the tablet experience, METRO, at the same time have the ability to use Desktop apps, DESKTOP. I want both all-in-one. I want to get the full Windows 8 Pro version 128 MB Surface. I will never buy an Android or iPad because it does not offer what I want. Again, my money.

    I do not like Android that much, I’ve played with it before. A friend of mine wiped the memory of his tablet and lend it to me. It was okay. iPad, it is solid, sweet, fast, and responsive. I will never buy one.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    $800? Ah, that is comparable to the price for an ultrabook. Which is most likely the Pro version and a complete PC. $800 for the regular surface is absurd to think of. The high price that many are hearing about is most possibly for the many versions of the pro. E.g. 31 GB and a 64GB etc etc. I’m sure the price for the ARM version is very hush hush.
    All these articles I’ve read and the information they contain lack any common sense and seem anti-microsoft focused. They don’t even try any reasonable doubt. They heard something ridiculous and ran with it and attacked.
    You guys need to put yourselves in their shoes If your product is the underdog and have a hard road ahead of it what would you do? Be competitive with prices and features (which has always been microsoft’s strategy) or release a stupidly expensive product that is over priced for the mobile parts its built with.
    Think people think.

  • Robert Fletcher

    All of this is pure speculation until Microsoft officially announces its prices and its partners announce the prices of the Windows 8 tablets. I also don’t think it is correct to compare Windows 8 Pro to Android. They are not on the same level and Windows has the largest library of software and games at the moment. They have decades of software to draw from. The fact is that a Windows 8 tablet will be able to do much more then an ipad or a android tablet. This is not to say that Apple iPad is not an amazing device or that the Android tablets arent amazing devices either. I’m just saying that if the Windows 8 Pro tablet costs in the range of $600 – $1200 for a Windows 8 Pro version, I’m buying one. That is if the tablet can run all of the software that i currently own including the games, which it should be able to do. Laptops are quite thin these days and performance is almost as good as a desktop.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1292299949 Nino Brunori

    Why when you can get a Ainol NOVO7 Android 4.0 Tablet PC – Xburst Capacitive 1080P Pad – 8GB for $100 or

    PiPo Max-M1 Tablet PC Quad Core GPU/Dual Core CPU 9.7″ Android 4.1 Jelly Bean 16GB 1G RAM Dual Camera for around $210.

    Quite a difference when you stay away from a brand name like Lenovo.
    Tablets are cheap and a $100 android tablet will run the same software as a $500 android tablet.

    As far as Windows on a tablet, so what. When you think of why you use a tablet in the first place and anything extra like an office product and email you have alternatives.

    Another, almost guarantee, is if you don’t buy a brand name it’s not going to be locked down. There isn’t some financial or DRM incentive to keep you from watching or playing your personal multimedia collection. I returned a Sony device that did exactly that. It would allow you to play any type of video file off local media but outright refused to play the same file streaming from my NAS. So, I bought an $88 android mini box that plays anything and doesn’t care where it streams from.

    I say stop being cornered into paying top dollar for a locked in experience of what THEY want when it’s supposed to be a consumers market. Seriously, why would I buy an i-product that has been over DRM’d or a device that calls home and some tech can delete files on YOUR device remotely without your permission or knowledge.