Lenovo is preparing to update its ThinkPad notebook lineup with an ultraportable laptop model called the ThinkPad X200s and a tablet, the ThinkPad X200, which will eventually replace the older ThinkPad X61 tablet PC.
While the two new ThinkPad notebooks will not be officially released until Sept. 23, Lenovo previewed the ultraportable and tablet models at Pepcom's holiday showcase in New York. Both notebooks will be available by October.
With a 12.1-inch widescreen and an SSD (solid-state drive) option, the ThinkPad X200s will be able to compete against the likes of the Toshiba Portege R500-S5007V, an ultraportable laptop that came out earlier in 2008. The ThinkPad X200s weighs about 2.4 pounds, but users can add an extended nine-cell battery option that increases the weight by about a half pound but will extend the battery life up to 13 hours, according to Lenovo.
While nearly all the major vendors offer ultraportable notebooks, these PCs remain a niche in the overall PC market. IDC defines the ultraportable category as laptops weighing less than 4 pounds and with a 12-inch display or smaller. These laptops are also more robust and offer more features, including a larger display, than the low-cost "netbooks" such as the Asus Eee PC that are beginning to enter the market.
The ThinkPad X200 tablet notebook, which has a touch-screen, will also feature a 12.1-inch widescreen display, but the tablet will weigh about 3.5 pounds. Lenovo is also equipping the X200 tablet with a 128GB SSD option-the traditional 2.5-inch hard disk drive is the more standard feature-and several other improvements, including 10 hours of battery life and a dual-swivel screen, which will allow for easier shifting from notebook to tablet form. (It should also make the notebook easier for lefties to use.)
Tom Ribble, the director of ThinkPad product marketing, said the notebooks will fulfill needs in different markets.
While the ThinkPad X200s ultraportable is geared toward enterprise users and salespeople who travel a good portion of the week, the ThinkPad X200 tablet is designed for vertical markets such as health care and insurance, although Ribble added that tablets are starting to be used more in higher education and are becoming more popular with some students.
The ThinkPad X200s, which will have a starting price of $2,242, will use a combination of Intel low-volt and ultralow-volt processors, including the newer Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 (1.86GHz) , SL9300 (1.6GHz) and SU 9300 (1.2GHz) chips. It also features up to 4GB of DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory and up to 200GB of data storage with a traditional HDD (128GB with the SSD) and will come with Microsoft Windows Vista.
The ThinkPad X200 tablet, which starts at $2,323, will also use a combination of low-volt and ultralow-volt Intel processors. In addition to an SSD, the tablet features a traditional HDD with a data storage capacity of 200GB.