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If you wanted to be one of the first to try out Lenovo’s new ThinkPad X60 Tablet PC, you might have to wait a little longer.

The Raleigh, N.C., PC maker disclosed on its official company blog that due to shortages of the panels used in the X60’s display, the new tablet will not start to ship in bulk until later in January.

Lenovo announced the tablet PC on Nov. 1 and started taking orders immediately. The first shipments of the X60 had been scheduled to roll out of the factory by December. Later, one of the company’s manufacturers told Lenovo officials that there would be a delay due to a shortage in the panel used for the display.

“As we rolled into December, it looked like we’d made it over that hurdle, and were comfortable that we could ship SXGA+ models that month,” Tim Supples, one of three writers on Lenovo’s Inside the Box blog, wrote Jan. 8.

“However, it turned out that the panel in question was still experiencing a shortage, and we had to bump our delivery dates. We expect to be shipping ThinkPad X60 Tablet PCs again in bunches this month,” Supples wrote in the same posting.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs’ review of the ThinkPad X60.

The blog posting did not give a specific date when the X60 Tablet PC would be available on a large scale. On Jan. 11, a company spokesperson declined to comment further about the delays.

“Tablet demand is pretty high, and we’re working through the issues so we can meet that demand as quickly as possible,” Raymond Gorman, the spokesperson, wrote in an email to eWEEK.

Gorman declined to name the company that supplies the ThinkPad’s panel.

The ThinkPad X60 tablet, which offers a number of improvements compared to the ThinkPad X41 tablet, has a list price of $1,799. The new tablet offers users a touch screen that allows them to move the cursor with either the tablet’s pen or a finger. The screen rotates 170 degrees, and Lenovo also offers an “Active Rotate” feature that adjusts the screen to the user.

Lenovo ranks second behind Toshiba, according to Gartner’s list of the top tablet PC makers. Hewlett-Packard and Fujitsu are the other two top producers.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs’ review of the Toshiba Protégé R400 tablet.

The tablet industry is expected to get a major boost when Microsoft finishes rolling out its Windows Vista operating system, which will have all its tablet features rolled into the software. Before Vista, Microsoft produced a separate OS for tablets.

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