CHINESE COMPUTER COMPANY Lenovo has teamed up with Qualcomm to offer multi-carrier capability to its Thinkpad tablet, which Lenovo claims makes it the first Android tablet to feature the technology.
The Thinkpad will now come with an option to include Qualcomm's Gobi 3000 wireless internet chip, which will allow users to connect to any of the major mobile broadband carriers in the US without the need to change hardware.
The chip will also support global roaming on the EVDO (Evolution-Data Optimized) and HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) networks.
The technology won't be a major selling point for those who don't travel much, but given the portability of tablets more people will be taking them on holidays and business trips and will want 3G access.
"Our Gobi 3000 solution was designed to simplify 3G connectivity for mobile computing devices, like Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet," said Fram Akiki, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. "With Gobi, Enterprise IT departments have the flexibility to purchase 3G-enabled tablets, deploy to offices around the world, then allow each region to provision on an as-needed basis to their preferred carrier."
We checked the Lenovo online store and found that only the 32GB and 64GB versions offer the Gobi chip, leaving those interested in the 16GB model out of the loop. It also bumps the price up by $130, so you will have to weigh up how often you travel with your tablet before making the investment.
This feature is not yet available for UK or European carriers, but it is likely only a matter of time until users will be able to switch from one network to another as they travel across Europe. µ