Lenovo Debuts Smartbook, SMB Laptops

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Lenovo will unveil in excess of 20 new products at International CES this week including a smartbook and a high-performance ThinkPad line called The Edge.

The smartbook, dubbed the Skylight, is a category that Lenovo is still attempting to decipher. Unlike a netbook that uses an Intel Atom processor, the smartbook is powered by a Qualcomm ARM-based Snapdragon processor and will not use a Windows operating system, said Charles Sune, Lenovo's worldwide segment manager for ThinkPads.

The smartbook category is still developing, Sune said, and he is not yet certain of the usage model, but generally speaking, Lenovo expects smartbook buyers to be people who are unsatisfied with the Web experience delivered by their smartphone or PDA, but do not need a full-blown notebook.

The initial model will feature a 16GB solid-state hard drive, but the user can add extra removable capacity via a fold-out USB port on the keyboard. All units are 3G and Wi-Fi ready.

It is expected to ship during the spring with a $499 suggested retail.

In the netbook category, Lenovo has its first netbook Tablet PC, the IdeaPad S10-3t. This netbook is equipped with a 10.1-inch multi-touch display that can rotate 180 degrees so the owner can use it as a tablet and more easily view movies and photos.

The device is bundled with Lenovo's Direct Share software that lets users wirelessly synchronize their files with another PC. There is also navigation software for planning a route or finding a specific place.

The IdeaPad S10-3t will ship in the first quarter with a $499 starting suggested retail.

Lenovo will also show introduce the G460 and G560 entry-level laptops and the K320 gaming desktop. Pricing, shipping and specifications were not available at press time.

The final pure consumer-targeted products to be released at CES are the IdeaCentre A300 and C310 all-in-one PCs.

The A300 has a 21.5-inch HD display and an optional TV tuner and can be equipped with either an Intel or AMD processor it will come with up to 4GB of DDR3 memory.

The C310 adds multi-touch screen capabilities to its 20-inch hard drive.

These will ship in the first quarter with the A300 carrying a $650 suggested retail price and the C310 $700.

Lenovo is very high on the all-in-one category because it is now the fastest-growing segment of the desktop business.

The Edge laptops split the difference between Lenovo's IdeaPad consumer line and the ThinkPad business models in that the Edge models were designed for the small-business owner who buys at retail, said Sune.

“The very small business with one to 10 people represents one-third of the small-business volume. They buy at retail and want a consumer-oriented notebook,” Sune said.

The Edge line will come in 13-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch display capacities. The line features a new industrial design the foregoes the ThinkPad's historical lineage of black, square boxes and come in flat black, glossy black and Heatwave red color schemes. Sune said this is the first ever red ThinkPad.

The 13-inch version will come without an optical drive. It ships this month with a $549 suggested retail. The 14-inch and 15-inch models will ship during the second quarter. Pricing has not been set.

In addition to the new exterior appearance, Lenovo re-worked the keyboard. The keys have been reorganized into six, instead of seven, rows. The former key design incorporated an edge, which has been eliminated creating more space allowing for larger keys.

The function keys now handle the computer's multimedia functions and Skype is pre-loaded.

Another first for the Edge line is the inclusion of AMD Turion or Athlon processors. Sune said AMD's lower-cost processors help make the Edge more price competitive and hopefully attractive to the price conscious small business buyer.

For the business market this month Lenovo also will ship the x100e ThinkPad ultra-portable with a $449 suggested retail price. Sune said while it is as small as a netbook — it features an 11.6-inch display — it is intended as a primary use computer.

Purchasers will have an option to have either an AMD Neo processor and come in red or black. There is a solid-state drive and 3G option.


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