To coincide with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ThinkPad line of products (which was created by IBM in 1992), Lenovo has announced its Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2. Why 2? The first ThinkPad Tablet actually ran Android, the successful PC OEM is switching over to Windows 8 for the follow up. Lenovo has been working on this device for a while, as we were shown an early prototype of it at CES (where we first saw Lenovo's Yoga). That's likely before Lenovo and other OEMs learned of Microsoft's own plans with its Surface tablets, and it's interesting how the Tablet 2 differs from Microsoft's approach.
Like the x86 version of the Surface, Tablet 2 will run the full Windows 8 Pro, but off of the Intel Atom platform and not Ivy Bridge. That means that while it'll be able to run most existing Windows programs, it probably won't be fast as the Surface "Pro". Lenovo's press release says that Tablet 2 will run Intel's "upcoming" Atom processor mobile platform, though it's unclear whether that means something based on Cedar Trail or the next-gen Valley View platform rumored for 2013. Hopefully it's the latter. But by going with Atom, Lenovo is able to design its tablet to be 9.8mm thick and 1.3 lbs. Like the higher-end Surface, it'll have support for an (optional) digitizer pen. It'll also have a mini HDMI port, USB 2.0 port, MicroSD slot, fingerprint reader, and both NFC and 3G radios. The 10.1" IPS LCD screen will have a resolution of 1366x768, compared to the expected 1080p display on the Surface.
And one important way it'll differentiate from Microsoft's Surface Pro--the ThinkPad Tablet 2 will go on sale in October around the time of Windows 8's release. Microsoft has said that its x86 tablet won't be ready until a few months after that. Lenovo isn't ready to announce pricing for the Tablet 2, and may be awaiting Surface RT pricing from Microsoft to price the Tablet 2 competitively.