Lenovo kills off the U1, switches internal OS out for Android in future devices

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It appears that Lenovo’s U1 hybrid tablet/laptop, which we saw at CES, is being scuppered. My guess is that the Skylight OS, a custom implementation of Linux, just wasn’t good enough to compete with the tablets on the market — and possibly the cost of continuing to support such a project was too much. Whatever the case, the U1 is off the table, as is the Skylight smartbook, though they say they’ll continue to support “innovative new concepts.”

RIP, U1. I guess you were too weird to live. We were all sort of suspicious about the U1’s workability when we heard about it, and indeed it was rather sluggish in person — a combination of an overambitious interface, a slow processor, and an unimpressive resistive touchscreen. But as it was a prototype, we gave it the benefit of the doubt, and the nearly instant switching between tablet and laptop mode was pretty great. Maybe we’ll live to see it in another form. Until then, farewell, sweet hybrid.

After careful consideration of market conditions and user feedback, Lenovo has decided to focus its resources on building a family of next-generation mobile internet devices based upon open technologies such as (but not limited to) the Android kernel, similar to the Lenovo smartphone, which is available for sale in China now.

As a result of Lenovo’s strategic shift towards open standards such as an Android kernel based environment, the Company has shelved its plans to release the initial version of the Skylight smartbook that featured a proprietary Linux based OS.

Lenovo remains committed to working with our strategic partners to deliver innovative products in the growing mobile internet space, including the aforementioned smartphones and smartbooks, as well as exploring innovative new concepts that continue to “push-the-envelope” like the U1 hybrid PC.

[via Laptop and Engadget]

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