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Lenovo Selling Branded Notebooks, Desktops

Chinese PC maker Lenovo may be selling its newly branded notebooks and desktops through Office Depot, but it is denying that it has any interest in pursuing mainstream consumers with its new branded computers

The company announced on Feb. 23 it would start selling Lenovo-branded notebooks and desktops geared mainly toward small business in the U.S. market. The vast majority of its sales will go through resellers and value-added resellers, but Bob Galash, Lenovo’s desktops marketing VP, said Office Depot will carry the company’s desktops and notebooks. The company, which purchased IBM’s computer business in May 2005, has been selling ThinkPad notebooks into the enterprise business market since the acquisition, but this marks the first time desktops and notebooks will carry the Lenovo name outside of the Chinese domestic market.

“We have an openness to retailers when they sell to small businesses like Office Depot,” said Craig Merrigan, Lenovo’s branding and strategy VP, adding, “we are not planning a major foray into big-box retail.”

Lenovo executives at a press conference held here were careful to avoid saying when and if the company would increase its consumer footprint in the United States.

Galash would only say that Lenovo sells a complete line of consumer computer products in China, including gaming PCs, and the company is constantly evaluating the international market presence.

The new notebooks fall under the Lenovo 3000 line. The first model out is the C100, shipping in early March with a $599 suggested price. The N100 will follow in late March with and the 3-pound ultra-portable V100 during the second quarter. Pricing was not released for the latter two models.

The C100 comes in several configurations but is based around a 15-inch display. It can be powered by a variety of Intel Pentium M and Celeron processors ranging from 1.5GHz to 2GHZ; it can take up to 1GB of memory, and it features CD-RW and DVD burners and up to a 100GB hard drive.

With the 3000 line Lenovo departs from the ThinkPad’s standard square chassis and black color scheme, instead incorporating rounded edges and a titanium casing; however, once the notebook is opened, the interior retains the old IBM look. This will change over time, the company said.

The desktops come in a tower form factor and are now shipping with the J105 tower, costing $349 and the smaller $399. The J105 can be equipped with either an AMD Sempron or Athlon 64 processor and features a 250GB hard drive, up to 1GB of memory along with a variety of optical drives. The J100 differs by using Intel processors.