At work, I have substituted the box under my desk, the one I keep accidentally kicking, with a Lenovo ThinkCentre Edge 91z all-in-one PC that sits on the desk in front of me. It has just one cable – for power. The PC‘s innards have been incorporated into the rear of the monitor, so no monitor cable is needed; the keyboard and mouse are connected by wireless and the built-in WiFi means no ethernet networking cable is needed. The iMac has the same capabilities, making these two devices the Mac and PC state-of-the-art approaches to compact desktop computing.
The trend of employees wanting to bring their better-looking and feature-rich consumer devices into the workplace has provoked a reaction from those supplying the safe but staid business laptops we know and suffer. Faced with competition from tablets and ultra-slim notebooks, such as the iPad 2, MacBook Air, Samsung Series 9 and Sony Vaio Z, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba have produced ultraportable notebooks with extra style and consumer features – the subject of this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section.
The phrase “a war with iPhone” slipped from the mouth of Lenovo’s chairman, Liu Chuanzhi, when the Chinese electronics company launched its smartphone handset – the LePhone – last year. With the recent launch of its first tablet – the LePad – the company hopes to take on Apple again, albeit only in the Chinese market.
Intel has found a multi-national backer for its Classmate PC, with Lenovo promising wider distribution of the laptop for schoolchildren. Intel and Lenovo announced today their partnership would begin with the deployment of 158,000 Classmate+ laptops to students in Argentina this spring. The model is the same as existing Classmates, but Lenovo says its scale as a PC maker means it can offer it in many different hardware configurations, depending on each country and education body’s requirements. It will cost in the region of $300-$400.
Following Dell’s Duo, with its flipover screen, Lenovo has come up with another take on the hybrid tablet/netbook with the Ideapad U1 and its detachable LePad slate. The concept may look familiar – Lenovo first showed it at CES 2010, but we finally have a release date and proper specifications for the machine, which make interesting reading.
It took a while for tablet rivals to emerge to Apple’s iPad, but Lenovo has wasted no time in coming out with a laptop competitor to the new MacBook Air.
The IdeaPad U260 will go on sale on Monday on Lenovo’s website starting at $899 as “the world’s first 12.5-inch ultra-portable consumer laptop, giving users a 16:9 widescreen dimension in a 12-inch form factor for the first time.”
It seems you can have it all with laptops these days – thin and light notebooks that are equally light on the wallet and offer long battery life as well.
In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the new, more affordable Portégé range from Toshiba and how it shapes up against offerings from Apple, Dell and Lenovo.
With talk swirling that floundering handset maker Palm is looking for a buyer, the FT’s Lex column assesses the likelihood of a deal:
As for the price-tag, Palm’s enterprise value is about $950m but if Palm’s biggest investor Elevation insists on breaking even, Barclays Capital reckons a bidder would have to offer between $1.2bn and $1.5bn. That is in reach of Chinese computer-maker Lenovo, one of the rumoured interested parties. For Nokia, also an oft-mooted acquirer, it would represent about a quarter of its annual spending on research and development.
In Personal Technology in the Business Life section of the FT this week, we look at the Lenovo ThinkPad x100e and its rivals:
“The Lenovo ThinkPad x100e looks like a netbook, weighs about the same as a netbook and at $450 (£423 in the UK) is priced (almost) like a netbook. However, in terms of performance, its speed, screen resolution and keyboard outperform netbooks. This may be why the manufacturer classifies it as a laptop, albeit a small one.”