Ultralight ThinkPad Offers Rapid Recovery

By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2004-02-09

IBM is set to launch a lightweight, ultraportable notebook that features, among other things, a new one-touch file recovery system.

Depending on configuration, the ThinkPad X40 weighs as little as 2.7 pounds, making it 14 ounces lighter than its predecessor, the X31, and maintains the 12.1-inch display.

"This is the most active ThinkPad, the one thats most likely to be jostled about," said Jeff Samitt, worldwide segment manager for the ThinkPad X Series, in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

To help protect the X40, IBM has outfitted it with the companys new Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore tools. The tools, which IBM first discussed in November 2002, save files in a way that allows them to be restored at the touch of an emergency button, Samitt said. The X40 features a GUI in a preboot state that enables users to access the Web when prevented from accessing the operating system.

The X40 includes a hard drive protection feature that locks the read/write heads if the computer is dropped. In addition, the platters in the hard drive are smaller than those in previous models, meaning they bend less in case of shock.

"We will welcome the new recovery features," said Frank Calabrese, manager of desktop strategy and services for Bose Corp., in Framingham, Mass., and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. Bose uses hundreds of ThinkPads, including the T41p, T30 and X31 models. "It just [helps] reduce the number of concrete poisonings we have with our laptops," Calabrese said.

Still, Calabrese said Bose, a longtime IBM customer, is in no rush to upgrade. "We create our own core image. ... We do extensive testing with our OS builds," he said. "[When a] manufacturer says something is image-compatible, its compatible with the image they ship, not necessarily the image they deploy."

The X40 runs an Intel Corp. Pentium M processor, and its hard drive capacity ranges from 20GB to 40GB.

The X40 is compatible with IBMs ThinkPad X4 UltraBase Dock docking station, which gives customers the option of another drive or battery. The docking station includes a key lock for additional security. The X40 comes with a variety of integrated wireless LAN options and supports Bluetooth technology. Pricing starts at $1,499. The X40 is already available in Asia. It will ship in the United States Feb. 24, officials said.

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