Lenovo Group believes that less can be more.
The Raleigh, N.C., PC maker is scheduled to roll out its latest small form factor desktop on Jan. 29—the ThinkCentre A55—which company officials said is 64 percent smaller than its traditional desktop offering. The new PC will also offer a range of new features that Lenovo hopes will attract users concerned about the amount of space a traditional desktop can take up in cramped office.
Like other OEMs, Lenovo is using the launch of its latest product to offer customers a chance to have Microsofts Windows Vista operating system bundled onto the PC. Microsoft released the enterprise version of its new OS on Nov. 30, and the consumer version is scheduled for release on Jan. 30.
With the new ThinkCentre A55, Lenovo will include both Vista Business as well as Vista Home Basic with the new PC. Users will also be able to order models that use Windows XP Professional and XP Home.
For Lenovo, which recently found itself in third place among PC vendors in terms of worldwide shipments, the new PC is a chance to appeal to those high-end enterprise customers who still find value in the ThinkCentre line, which the company inherited when it acquired IBMs Personal Computing Division in 2005.
Since that time, Lenovo has pushed both its ThinkPad and ThinkCentre lines as enterprise-class machines, while its 3000 line of desktops and notebooks have been geared toward small businesses and consumers.
However, by offering a small form factor desktop with Vista, Lenovo is also trying to appeal to verticals, such as the health care and education markets, as well as small businesses that are concerned about space. Although Gartner estimates that it might take 18 months for large enterprises to adopt Vista, small businesses, niche markets and consumers will likely adopt the new OS sooner.
"We are seeing an increased adoption of small form factor desktops in settings such as health care, education, financial institutions and call centers," said Tom Tobul, executive director of desktop marketing for Lenovo, in a statement from the company.
Unlike its previous small form factor PCs, Lenovo is offering a wide range of features and configurations with its new A55. For example, according to the companys Web site, the previous A55 tower only offers an Intel Celeron D 346 processor. The new A55 small form factor will offer Intels Core 2 Duo processor, as well as the Pentium D, Pentium 4 and the Celeron D processor.
The new A55, which is 25 percent smaller than an average desktop, also includes an Intel 946GZ Express chip set, an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3000 graphics chip, a choice of 667MHz or 533MHz DDR (double data rate) memory, and a choice of Serial ATA hard drives that range from 80GB to 500GB.
The desktop has both CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives.
Lenovo is also offering its ThinkVantage technologies, a group of PC software tools that include protection, recovery and security applications, with its new desktop. The company has been pushing these tools since the launch of Vista in November.
The ThinkCentre A55, which goes on sale in February, will start at $579, the company said in a statement.