Lenovo Gives Its ThinkPad Laptops, Tablet a Makeover

In addition to adding Intel's Centrino Platform, Lenovo makes improvements to extend battery life and support additional wireless capabilities.

Lenovo is revamping several of its ThinkPad notebooks, including a tablet PC, to include Intels new Centrino Pro mobile platform plus features to improve security and battery life.

Lenovo, which acquired the ThinkPad name when it bought IBMs PC division in 2005, plans to roll out the new versions of its ThinkPad X61 and X61s notebooks and its X61 tablet May 31, company executives said.

The additional features in the X61 and X61s are meant to appeal to a wide range of enterprise customers who work from the road for long stretches of time, while the X61 tablet is geared toward customers in specific vertical markets such as those in the education and health care markets, said Mike Hagerty, a worldwide segment manager for Lenovo.

The Raleigh, N.C., company has been an early advocate of Intels new Centrino Pro platform, which launched May 9. Lenovo was one of the first OEMs to announce that it would use Intels new mobile platform in select models from ThinkPad T and R lines.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels Centrino platform.

"Intel has shown through its various programs that there is a real interest from large enterprise customers that want the expanded manageability, security tools and increased performance that comes with the Centrino platform," Hagerty said. "What Intel is doing with Centrino works very much along the line of what Lenovo has done in terms of hardware improvements and our own ThinkVantage technology."

ThinkVantage is a group of software tools that Lenovo has developed that include protection, recovery and security applications.

In addition to offering the new Centrino Pro platform, the three revamped ThinkPad models include improvements such as a redesigned internal antenna that improves wireless WAN and wireless broadband capabilities.

The three models also offer 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN capabilities as well as support for the draft 802.11n specifications.

In addition, the three models include Lenovos BatteryStretch technology, which allows a user to shut down parts of the notebooks hardware and software application when needed to extend the life of the battery up to 15 percent. On the security side, the notebooks and tablet offer 32-byte hard drive encryption technology and the ability disable the USB ports.

Additional features specifically for the X61 tablet include a new SXGA+ resolution display, which is designed for rigorous outdoor use.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read a review of Vista for tablet PCs.

The X61 notebook offers a choice of either Intels Core 2 Duo T7300 processor, with a clock speed of 2.0GHz, 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz FSB (front-side bus), or the T7100, with a clock speed of 1.83GHz, 2MB of L2 cache and a 667MHz FSB. The X61s uses the lower-watt Core 2 Duo L7500, with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz FSB or the L7300, with a clock speed of 1.4GHz, 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHZ FSB.

The X61 and X61s both offer a 12.1-inch display, up to 4GB of RAM, a SATA (Serial ATA) hard drive with a maximum capacity of 160GB and three USB 2.0 ports. The two laptops support either Microsofts Windows Vista operating system or the XP operating system.

The X61s is the lighter of the two models, and the laptop can be configured to weigh as little as 2.7 pounds, according to Lenovo.

The X61 tablet also uses either a Core 2 Duo L7500 or a L7300 processor and offers up to 4GB of RAM, a SATA hard drive with up to 160GB of capacity, a 12.1-inch display and three USB 2.0 ports. The tablet, which weighs as little as 3.7 pounds, supports either Vista or Microsofts XP Tablet PC operating system.

Lenovo will start taking orders immediately for the two laptops and the X61 tablet, and the PCs will start to ship to customers by June. The ThinkPad X61, X61s notebook and the X61 tablet PC have starting prices of $1,484, $1,474 and $1,779, respectively.

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