Lenovo has been actively trying to get into the mobile market, and they’ve had quite a positive response with their IdeaPad A1 and K1 consumer tablets and the business-oriented ThinkPad Tablet, which are expected to sell pretty well to businesses, professionals and consumers who want quality and unique features that are not present on other tablets (like pressure sensitivity and encryption).
The company has also made efforts to manufacture smartphones, and they already have the LePhone on sale in China – sadly the rest of the world will never see it, but it’s probably OK since it doesn’t have any unique features to boast about, being just an ordinary consumer smartphone running on Android.
That phone, however, has a successor, which is highly likely to be released worldwide, under the same meme-worthy name – we’re talking about the LePhone S2, of course. Off the top, it looks like yet another slab of a smartphone, but you’ll find one pretty unique feature, which is still unconfirmed – the ability to run both Windows Phone 7 (which is officially the main OS) and Android, making it one interesting smartphone for everyone.
Now, the ability to run both operating systems is nothing new, however this would be the first time a big company did it officially, and if released in that configuration, it would be much less buggy than the semi-baked modded devices out there.
The Lenovo LePhone S2 looks pretty good on the outside, although its plastic materials make it a bit cheap. It’s got rounded corners, a big black glass on the front covering the screen and a shiny chrome back cover with a color accent (different colors available). It definitely looks like a consumer smartphone, unlike Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet, and I don’t think it has any enterprise features, either.
The hardware specs are also at a pretty mediocre level, with the new handset being powered by a single core 1 GHz processor (Qualcomm’s second generation Snapdragon, MSM8255, to be exact). There’s a respectable 512 MB of RAM onboard, which should keep things relatively speedy, and 2 GB of storage space that can be expanded using a micro SD card of up to 32 GB in size.
The display has the usual 800×480 resolution and is not very good in direct sunlight, with the glass reflecting most of the light straight back into your eyes. Other hardware features include all the standard stuff you’d expect – Wifi, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer and magnetometer and support for HSPA networks (up to 7.2 Mbps/5.76 Mbps download/upload using HSDPA and HSUPA). Interestingly, the camera on the back is 8 megapixels and it supports 720p HD video recording, although its shooting quality is unknown, and there’s a front facing VGA unit, as well.
The LePhone S2 will ship with Windows Phone 7.5 Mango – it’s interesting, actually, that Lenovo chose to go with Windows – I guess Microsoft offered them some good incentives. The phone will be released in China initially, which doesn’t really have any WP7 penetration to speak of, so it would be in Microsoft’s best reasons to make it happen. Lenovo also says that they will release it in other countries, as well, including the US, but how accurate that is remains to be seen.
The LePhone S2 isn’t a bad phone, and it will most likely be marketed as an affordable consumer handset from a reputable company – I believe that would make a lot of people consider buying it.