Lenovo Unveils Mainstream Business Ultrabook, ThinkPad T431s
Lenovo this week announced the availability of its latest T-series ThinkPad laptop, and it's an ultrabook.
The ThinkPad T431s Ultrabook is another in a long line of T-series laptops that are the mainstay of Lenovo-equipped office workers. The new T431s is positioned as a high performance, enterprise-class ultrabook. It's got a new chassis compared to previous models, and is made with carbon fiber and magnesium for durability in everyday life.
The T431s is built around third-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, a 14-inch 1,600-by-900-resolution screen, up to 12GB of memory, and a selection of storage options including up to a 1TB hard drive, 24GB mSATA cache drive, and up to a 256GB SSD.
The chassis is a smidge smaller than the ThinkPad T430s and is in the same weight class (3.6 pounds). The T431s has a 180-degree hinge, so the screen can fold flat on your work surface, but doesn't flip over like Lenovo's Yoga designs. The T431s continues the requisite dual pointing mechanisms, with a TrackPoint and glass TouchPad. The TouchPad supports Windows 8 multi-point gestures, and also has a central scroll button for use with the TrackPoint.
Lenovo Downplays RIM Acquisition Report
PC giant Lenovo is downplaying a recent report that the company is looking to acquire BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.
The rumor spread on Friday following a Bloomberg report that cited Lenovo chief financial officer, Wong Waiming, as saying that the company is "looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others." In a statement to PCMag.com on Monday morning, Lenovo said it does not comment on mergers and acquisition rumors or speculation, but clarified Waiming's statement.
"We are aware that Lenovo's CFO Waiming was speaking broadly about M&A strategy in a recent interview," the company said. "RIM was raised as a potential target by the journalist and Mr. Wong repeatedly answered in a manner consistent with all of our previous statements on M&A strategy: Lenovo is very focused on growing its business, both organically and through M&A. When inorganic ideas arise, we explore them to see if there is a strategic fit."
Meanwhile, RIM also issued a statement about the report, but did not directly address the possible Lenovo bid. The company said it is focused at this time on the delivery of its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system, which will be unveiled at a press event on Jan. 30.
Report: Lenovo Considering Bid for BlackBerry Maker RIM
PC giant Lenovo is considering potential acquisition targets, including BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, as part of an effort to bolster its smartphone unit, according to a new report.
"We are looking at all opportunities - RIM and many others," Lenovo chief financial officer Wong Wai Ming, told Bloomberg yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos, Switzerland. "We'll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders."
Beijing-based Lenovo has a team working on possible acquisitions, and has already spoken to RIM and its bankers about different opportunities, Bloomberg reported. Wong did not reveal when the company would make a decision about whether to bid on the struggling phone maker.
RIM last year hired bankers from J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital to help evaluate its strategic options after facing several disappointing financial quarters in a row as it struggles to deal with the popularity of Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google's Android.
RIM did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company declined to comment to Bloomberg about the possible Lenovo bid.
Lenovo Splits Off Into Two Brands: ‘Lenovo’ and ‘Think’
In an effort to better position the company's Think brand against rival Apple, among other reasons, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing has announced via email that the desktop, laptop, and tablet manufacturer will split its primary Lenovo brand into two groups come April 1 of this year, reports Engadget.
The first, called simply, "Lenovo," will concentrate on mainstream and low-end products; the second, "Think," will be Lenovo's flagship brand in the high-end markets – the only company brand that can compete against Apple, Yuanqing suggested.
Similarly, Lenovo itself will split into two separate groups to support its new branding. Lenovo Business Group will concentrate on the company's mainstream desktops, laptops, and tablets, in addition to its smart TVs and smartphones. The company's other half, Think Business Group, will concentrate on the company's high-end Think products (go figure) as well as enterprise businesses and workstations. Senior vice president Liu Jun will head up Lenovo Business Group; senior vice president Dr. Peter Hortensius will take on the new Think Business Group.
According to a December update by NPD DisplaySearch's David Hsieh, Lenovo is one of the four major manufacturers that appears to be planning to increase its 2013 notebook PC shipments. The company will be targeting approximately 31 million units – an increase of four million past its 2012 target. It's a sharp contrast to companies like Dell, which is lowering its expected 2013 shipping target to 16 million devices from 25.3 million in 2012.
Report: Lenovo Planning U.S.-Based PC Factory
In an era when major American technology companies outsource their manufacturing to Asian countries, China's biggest computer maker is reportedly planning a U.S.-based factory to assemble Think-branded desktop and laptop PCs.
UPDATE: Mark Stanton, Lenovo's director of global supply chain communications, confirmed some of the details in this report late on Friday. Specifically, Stanton said Lenovo is currently hiring to fill about 100 assembly line positions at a Greensboro, N.C.-based factory operation that will produce limited amounts of Lenovo desktops, laptops, all-in-ones, and tablets, mainly for corporate and government orders in the U.S. That factory will also employ 15 engineers for a total headcount of 115 in the coming months. He also said that the company's goal is to eventually manufacture 50 percent of its products in-house, but did not confirm the timeline for that happening as reported by DigiTimes, or the locations of other possible manufacturing operations named by the tech site.
Lenovo, which by some accounts took over Hewlett-Packard's spot as the top PC maker in the world this year, is preparing to establish a computer assembly factory in North Carolina, according to DigiTimes.
The Taiwan-based tech journal this week cited unnamed supply chain sources as saying that Lenovo's U.S. factory would "produce desktops and notebooks in small volumes" as part of global goal of increasing its in-house production of PCs from 20 percent of units shipped this year all the way to 50 percent in 2013.
Lenovo Shows Off Convertible Ultrabooks
Lenovo is bending over backward to deliver convertible laptops in time for the upcoming Windows 8 launch. At this year's CES, Lenovo gave us the first peek of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, the first of many touch-enabled convertible ultrabooks set to come to market this month. Well, the Oct. 26 Windows 8 launch is fast approaching, and Lenovo has announced that there are not one, but two Yoga models on the way, as well as a business-centered convertible ultrabook, the IdeaPad Edge Twist.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
The model we've glimpsed before is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, a convertible Windows 8 ultrabook that uses a "multi-mode" hinge to open up into a laptop, and then open further, with the screen moving 360 degrees to become a tablet-style device. The 13.6-inch screen offers 10 points of touch tracking on a 1,600-by-900 resolution IPS display.
The IdeaPad Yoga 13 will be available with either Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, paired with 8GB of RAM, and up to a 256GB solid-state drive. The laptop is equipped with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, and a full-size HDMI output port. Measuring 17 millimeters thick and weighing a mere 3.6 pounds, it meets ultrabook specs, including seven-hour battery life.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is available in Silver Grey or Clementine Orange, and is now available for pre-order. The IdeaPad Yoga 13 will be available starting at $1,099, and begins shipping on Oct. 26.
Lenovo Unveils All-in-One Desktops for Windows 8
At this week's IFA show in Berlin, Lenovo released its latest round of all-in-one desktop PCs with 10-finger touch screens for Windows 8.
These systems will (mostly) be available in time for 2012's holiday shopping season. They belong to Lenovo's high-end IdeaCentre A series and mainstream IdeaCentre B series. All four systems use seamless glass to house their touch screens. This means that off-screen swipes like the ones you'd use in Windows 8 will be quick and easy.
The IdeaCentre A520 is the 23-inch "little brother" to the IdeaCentre A720. The A520 also has an articulated arm holding its monitor, which can tilt and swivel over a 95 degree angle. It can move from leaning forward (for seated users) to a horizontal surface (for sharing between standing users or extended use). The A520 can be equipped with a variety of third-generation Intel Core processors, integrated or Nvidia discrete graphics, up to 8GB of memory, up to 1TB hard drive, and DVD or Blu-Ray drive. It's designed for multimedia enjoyment, as well as for design fans. Its 23-inch widescreen has 10-point multi touch. Therefore, the screen can support two simultaneous players or a single person typing. The A520 goes for $999 base and will be available in October.
The IdeaCentre B340 and B345 are mid-level, all-in-one touch-screen desktops, both with a 21.5-inch screen. The B345 and B340 are meant for part-time touch-screen use, since both are more conventionally designed with an easel-type chassis. The B340 comes with an Intel Core processor, 1,920-by-1,080 resolution screen, and Nvidia GeForce graphics. The B35 subs in an AMD CPU and AMD Radeon graphics in a similar package. Certain configurations can be optioned with 3D vision (with glasses) or TV tuners. The B340 and B345 will start at $599 and be available in October.
Lenovo Announces Three New Android Tablets
Windows 8 and a rumored iPad mini may be the talk of the town, but that's not stopping the steady flow of Android tablet releases. At this year's IFA in Berlin, Lenovo talked up the newest members of its IdeaTab family. Joining the IdeaTab S2109 , which failed to impress us earlier this year, will be the IdeaTab A2107, A2109, and S2110.
The smallest of the bunch will be the IdeaTab A2107, with a 7-inch screen that places it in competition with Google's Nexus 7 tablet . The A2107 will be powered by an MTK Cortex A9 processor, but Lenovo offered no word on exact clock speed. The standout features include a built-in roll cage for added durability, microSD expandable memory, and a built-in FM radio tuner. The tablet will feature up to 16GB of built-in memory, and the microSD card slot will be a welcome addition for media hoarders. Still, Lenovo remained mum on important details, like screen resolution and price, and it's hard to imagine the A2107 offers very many advantages over Google's flagship tablet.
Lenovo did, however, offer a more detailed picture regarding the A2109. As its name suggests, the A2109 will feature a larger, 9-inch screen with a 1280-by-800-pixel resolution. Powering the tablet is a 1.2-GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, which puts it in line with current generation Android tablets. The A2109 will feature an aluminum body, 16GB of internal storage, micro HDMI out, and front- and rear-facing cameras. Though its components aren't going to wow, its starting price tag of $299 makes it a decent bargain compared with most large-screen tablets.
Dell, Lenovo, Samsung Prepping Windows RT Devices
Microsoft today confirmed that Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung will be producing Windows RT devices.
Product details and exact release dates were not revealed. "You will need to stay tuned for more details; PC manufacturers will be unveiling their products as we approach the Windows 8 and Windows RT launch," Mike Angiulo, vice president of Microsoft's Ecosystem and Planning team, wrote in a blog post.
"Dell's tablet for Windows RT is going to take advantage of the capabilities the new ecosystem offers to help customers do more at work and home," Sam Burd, vice president of Dell's PC product group, said in a statement. "We're excited to be Microsoft's strategic partner, and look forward to sharing more soon."
Microsoft's Windows 8 OS has been designed with touch-screen mobile devices like tablets in mind. Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 that is optimized for the ARM-based processors that power the vast majority of tablets and smartphones currently on the market.
"Delivering Windows RT PCs has been about building out a new system for the first time—a completely new ecosystem of PCs providing opportunities for PC makers to bring to life a new generation of PCs with new capabilities, starting with ARM-based processors," Angiulo wrote.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Coming With Windows 8
When Windows 8 rolls out in October, Microsoft will have at least one big name offering Windows 8 tablets. Lenovo just announced the ThinkPad Tablet 2, a Windows 8 tablet designed for enterprise applications and daily life.
The 9.8-millimeter thick tablet is filled with promising parts and features, like an upcoming (planned, but unannounced) Intel Atom mobile processor, a 10.1-inch touch display designed for use with fingers and stylus, and 3G and 4G wireless connectivity with the recently announced pay-as-you-go Lenovo Mobile Access. Optional features, like Near Field Communication, TPM security and fingerprint reader only further flesh out the newly announced tablet.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is slated to come with Windows 8 Pro, and designed to integrate easily into existing enterprise IT structures with desktop support for existing applications and VPN access. Internal and external encrypted storage is also available, as is an optional SmartCard reader.