Lenovo plans to announce four new computing devices May 26 with a focus on thin, light and affordable. None veers far from previous Lenovo offerings, but they are better-suited to consumer demands in the current economy.
Perhaps following the cue of the Adamo by Dell, which offered the novel idea that Mac users shouldn't be the only ones enjoying good design, Lenovo has made an effort on the style front, as well as on the price tags.
A spokesperson for Lenovo said the new offerings, due out in June and July, offer "stylish design at prices you don't usually get stylish design for."
The new IdeaPad S12 is Lenovo's first 12-inch netbook and it features a full-size keyboard, six hours of battery life, Wi-Fi connectivity and an ExpressCard slot for accessing 3G networks.
It measures less than an inch thick, weighs 3 pounds, has a starting price of $449 and will ship in June.
As with other netbooks, the emphasis is on e-mail, Web surfing and media, and the S12 comes with surround-sound audio from Dolby Headphone technology, a 4-in-1 multicard reader, VAG or HDMI ports for watching video on an external monitor, 160GB of storage and 1GB of memory.
The processor is an Intel Atom, and users have a choice of integrated graphics from Intel or Nvidia.
When asked whether a 12-inch display was as large as Lenovo planned to go with its netbooks, a Lenovo spokesperson declined to answer. "We're not here to decide where the industry is going, but to deliver what customers want," he told eWEEK.
Two new laptops are additionally being offered, the IdeaPad U350 and the Lenovo G550.
The U350 is an attention-grabber, with thin, silver good looks somewhat akin to the aluminum MacBook. It features a 13.3-inch high-definition screen, is less than an inch thick and weighs 3.5 pounds.
Customers can choose between Intel Core 2 Solo and Pentium ultra-low-voltage processors, up to 8GB of DD3 memory and up to 500GB of hard drive storage.
Additional features include Ambient Light Sensor technology, which automatically adjusts the screen's brightness to suit its environment, Dolby Sound Room surround-sound technology, Lenovo's OneKey Rescue System for recovering corrupted data and VeriFace facial recognition technology.
The U350 starts at $649 and will begin shipping in July.
Dipping down a bit on the price point, the G550 15.6-inch laptop, a lighter and thinner redesign of Lenovo's G Series line, has a starting price of $599.
Despite the large screen, the weight is less than 5 pounds; and because of the large screen, Lenovo was able to include a numeric keypad on the keyboard, as it does with its 17-inch models.
The low-voltage processor is an Intel Centrino2, and users have a choice of Nvidia graphics. Connectivity comes via built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet and optional Bluetooth, there's an ExpressCard slot, and its available memory is up to 4GB of DDR3, 800/1066MHz DRAM.
VeriFace recognition technology and a built-in camera are also available, and users have a choice of a silver or glossy slate exterior finish.
Last but not least is the IdeaCentre C300 all-in-one desktop with a foldaway stand. The C300 features a 20-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and built-in Wi-Fi, an Intel Atom processor, six USB ports, a firewire port and a 6-in-1 multimedia card.
Lenovo is positioning the C300 as a PC that students could hang in dorm rooms or families could use on kitchen counters or living room desks. Come July, it will be offered in a choice of red, black or white, for a starting price of $449.
In January, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Lenovo previewed the ThinkCentre A600, a predecessor to the C300, fully loaded and with a starting price of $999.
"We launched the A600 in January, and that has everything premium in it," a Lenovo spokesperson told eWEEK. "But we felt there was also a need for more everyday computing."