Lenovo is putting a renewed focus on small and midsize businesses with the March 23 introduction of the ThinkPad Edge 14 and 15 laptops, which offers 14- and 15-inch displays and 4G wireless technology. "We're creating a full SMB program, starting with products like the ThinkPad Edge 14- and 15-inch laptops," said Jerry Paradise, Lenovo's director of worldwide ThinkPad marketing, in a statement.
"We have seen strong demand already for the ThinkPad Edge 13 inch, and we'll continue to expand the ThinkPad Edge lineup going forward, extending the same leadership in innovation, quality and reliability in SMB that we're known for with large enterprise customers," Paradise added.
The ThinkPad Edge laptops offer a choice of Intel Core i5 and i3 Series Celeron processors, as well as Microsoft's Windows 7 operating systems.
In addition, the ThinkPads offer spill-resistant keyboards and multitouch touchpads; voice-over IP (VOIP) accessories, such as a 2-megapixel Webcams and HD LED screens; a variety of DVD/RW, VGA and HDMI out options for viewing video; a 7-in-1 multi-card reader; 6-cell batteries for 4.5 hours of juice; and a fingerprint reader.
These ThinkPad laptops also offer a wealth of connectivity options, including WiFi, 3G and 4G access, where available. While they come equipped with a broadband module for AT&T's LaptopConnect service, for the AT&T 3G network, on March 24, Lenovo announced it will also be equipping all ThinkPad models, including the Edge laptops, with the option to access Sprint's 3G and 4G networks - a capability made possible by Qualcomm's Gobi technology.
"Adding Sprint to our network of supported carriers gives customers even more 3G choice and expanded connectivity points with the fast speeds of Sprint 4G," said Dilip Bhatia, Lenovo's executive director of ThinkPad marketing, in a statement.
While AT&T has updated its 3G network to HSPA 7.2 and plans to begin rolling out 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology in 2011, Sprint, through Clearwire, currently offers the competing 4G technology, WiMax, in nearly 30 U.S. markets.
Even Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has said, however, that LTE is likely to become the more popular of the two.
"LTE will most likely be the larger of the two 4G standards, but for us, we couldn't wait," Hesse told an audience at CTIA on March 24. "Because of our spectrum position, we have the option to add other technologies later, but this allows us to get into this technology quickly."
ThinkPad Edge notebooks will come in a choice of Heatwave Red or Midnight Black finishes and include Lenovo ThinkVantage Technologies - tools, such as Rescue and Recovery, for recovering lost or damaged documents, and Access Connections, for dealing with connectivity issues, that SMBs, with their limited or non-existent IT staff, are likely to appreciate.
The 14-inch Edge weighs in at 5.1 pounds and the 15-inch at 5.6, while both models will start at $599 and begin shipping this April.
Competitor Dell has focused for several years now on the SMB market, and its unique challenges, with its Vostro line of products.