Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lenovo puts latest ThinkPads on diet, adds hot swappable batteries 

Lenovo is rolling out a new armada of ThinkPads as it aims to put the lineup on a diet and bridge consumer features with corporate must haves. Even the workhorse ThinkPad T-series is trying to cut down to ultrabook weights.

The No. 1 PC company's ThinkPad strategy plays well with its enterprise base and tries to capitalize on what analysts call a mini corporate PC refresh cycle. Indeed, Windows XP support ends in April 2014 and companies are evaluating Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 in new machines. Most enterprises will have a mix of both.

Speaking on a conference call, Matt Bereda, marketing director of Lenovo's Think Business Group, said the company is still focused on reliability and ease of deployment, but wants to add features that are unique. Lenovo has dabbled with enterprise multimode PCs with the ThinkPad Helix and Twist, but has largely stayed with a script that has worked for 20 years.

Kendrick: ThinkPad Power Bridge: Putting battery life in the hands of customers

The latest batch of ThinkPads, which feature the latest Intel chips, includes the following:

T440s and T440: The T Series will now have touch enabled displays, solid state drives and can cut down to 3.5 pounds with the T440s in a 21mm think frame. The T-440 will weigh about 4 pounds. A T430 today can push 4.77 pounds, according to Lenovo's Web site. The main addition with the enterprise ThinkPads are hot swappable batteries. Lenovo has added "power bridge" technology that allows a user to change batteries without powering down.
The T440s is available at the end of October starting at $1,149. The T440 is available at the end of September with a starting price of $899.

X240: Lenovo's corporate ultraportable play weighs in at less than three pounds and is 20 mm thick. A touch screen is an option and the X240 doesn't require various dongles---a plus for the road warrior. The X240 is available at the end of October starting at $1,099.

ThinkPad S Series, which is designed for small businesses. The SS440 and S540 have touch displays and add thin bezels and what Lenovo calls a "floating design." U.S. availability is unclear.
For good measure, Lenovo also rolled out a 21:9 panoramic ThinkVision monitor. The 2560x1080 display with HD Webcam is designed to be used with collaboration applications and multitasking. The display starts at $799 with October availability.

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