The Museum of Modern Art

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The Museum of Modern Art

Lenovo chose New York City's Museum of Modern Art as the site of its ThinkPad celebration. The first three ThinkPads—the 700, 700C and 700T—debuted in October 1992. IBM made the first ThinkPads, and Lenovo bought IBM's PC unit in 2005.

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Butterfly Keyboard

The ThinkPad 701c featured a distinctive "butterfly keyboard." When the laptop is opened, the keyboard expands out, which enabled IBM to shrink the laptop's footprint while retaining the user experience. It's a part of the museum's permanent collection in its industrial design section, along with other objects whose innovative designs, whether high or low tech, have addressed a societal need. Over the 701c, a display runs an early commercial for the laptop.

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Other innovative objects in the MoMA collection include the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) $100 XO-1 laptop for children in the developing world, and a rubber fitting for aluminum cans that enable health care workers to safely dispose of syringe tips. The low-tech rubber tops have drastically helped to prevent the spread of HIV-AIDs through accidental exposure to infected tips in countries without hazardous-waste disposal systems like that of the United States.

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On display throughout the celebration were Lenovo's little red TrackPoints, a distinctive design feature since the very first IBM ThinkPads. The thinking was that it allowed the laptop to be used on an airline tray-table without a mouse. "The TrackPoint is the center of attention; it draws you into the keyboard. ... It's so efficient, so indicative," said David Hill, Lenovo's vice president of identity and design, after quoting Mies van der Rohe: "God is in the details."

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Colonel Richard Searfoss

Before its big announcement, Lenovo introduced a longtime ThinkPad user, astronaut Richard Searfoss, who described typing on his ThinkPad while weightless and "the sublime beauty of our planet." To Searfoss' right is an image from one of his space missions, of the aurora borealis over northern Canada.

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ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo showed off its X1 Carbon in May but has been coy about the details. At the MoMA event, it confirmed that the notebook—which it calls the world's lightest 14-inch Ultrabook—will ship in August with a starting price of $1,299.

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ThinkPad X1 Carbon Measurements

The X1 measures 8mm in the front and 18mm in the back. It can charge up to 80 percent in 35 minutes, has voice over IP (VOIP) technology smart enough to mute out the noise of keyboard clicks and is made of a carbon fiber so light but strong that it's "what a Dreamliner airlines uses to allow it to get better fuel efficiency," Dilip Bhatia, a Lenovo vice president, told attendees at the event.

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ThinkPad Tablet 2

The big reveal of the evening, saved for last, was the ThinkPad Tablet 2. It runs Windows 8 but can support older software, features a 10.1-inch display, runs an Intel Atom processor and weighs 1.3 pounds. "It even has a full-size USB port," said Bhatia. "It just works."

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ThinkPad Tablet 2 Stylus

The Tablet 2 has a stylus that quietly slips into a corner of the device but makes its mark with, what else, a Lenovo TrackPoint splash of red.

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ThinkPad Tablet 2 Measurements

The Tablet 2 measures 10.3 by 6.5 by 0.39 inches but finds space for a full-size USB 2.0 port (as noted) and a mini High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) slot.

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ThinkPad Tablet 2 Connectivity

Also included is a microSD slot and room for a SIM card. The tablet offers 3G connectivity and the option of 4G via AT&T's Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network.

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ThinkPad Tablet 2 Dock

A dock offers enterprise workers several options for connecting to peripherals.

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The Tablet 2 can be connected to a keyboard. Separated, both pieces can be slipped into the soft leather carrying case at right. It's just one Lenovo-made accessory for the new tablet, which will join what's expected to be an extensive lineup of Windows 8-running tablets.

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