Lenovo’s IdeaPad U1 was one of the most talked about gadgets at the CES 2010 event. Other than the Apple tablet of course, which topped everything else. The Lenovo U1 is a new kind of hybrid device that attaches a tablet to a base station running average netbook components. So imagine a tablet running Android and powered by SnapDragon. Now imagine that tablet having a docking station that has a physical keyboard, powered by Intel’s Atom and running Windows 7. Put them together and you have the IdeaPad U1.
Lenovo did talk a lot about what kind of uses people will have for it, so it is unclear at the moment what the strengths of such a combination would be. Right now, the major positive point that I see in this is the fact that Lenovo has managed to make the switch from netbook to tablet form factor on the U1 as painless as possible . If you were doing something on Windows that can be done on the Android, the tablet will automatically switch to that when you undock it. The best example would be web pages. So the two OS’ aren’t mutually exclusive and they do share data.
The body has a nice finish and the tablet is covered by a shell when it is docked. So it is immediately apparent that the screen is actually part of a stand alone tablet device. The storage for the tablet and the base station is split into their own storage units, which is an SSD for the tablet device. The shell also makes sure that once you take the tablet out, you can keep the keyboard covered and looking like a full device. It would make for a good prank too.
Over all, the design is a pretty interesting one. It would probably appeal to some people solely due to its unique dual form factor.
The much talked about and leaked ThinkPad x100e from Lenovo has finally gotten into the hands of reviewers and if first impressions are anything to go by, we are looking at poor judgment on Lenovo’s part. It seems to be riddled with all the curses of the netbook and that doesn’t really help the ThinkPad line’s core audience — serious businessmen. To risk a cliché here — ThinkPad users mean business and they are not going to get it from the x100e.
But that does not mean that the x100e is a badly made device. Far from it. Almost all of the reviews agree that if it weren’t for the sluggish performance, this is probably one of the best small 11inch portables ever made. The keyboard is deemed as excellent and has good ergonomics. As is usual with ThinkPad series devices, the convenience and ease of use during long sessions really comes out on top. The x100e is also build very well and the quality is undeniable. The trackpad has also received praise for being one of the best performers in its class. The industrial built and the matte finish sure wins brownie points for being very much the machine that business owners would want to carry around.
But then comes a list of poor performance complaints. The processor, while being faster than your average netbook offering, is only a marginal improvement over the usual fare. That translates into really bad application performance and noticeable slowdowns. The ATI Radeon graphics does help a bit but only when it is 2D.
Actually, had it not been for the ThinkPad branding, this would’ve been a really great 11inch portable. But as the case stands — Lenovo already has your average netbook and ultraportables. ThinkPads have always been something special and this one simply does not cut it.
The Lenovo X100e rumored into existence in our minds much long before the official happened at CES 2010. So now that the X100e is official, there is something to be said about the first netbook from the ThinkPad series — it is not a netbook. No. It is the first ever ThinkPad series Ultraportable form Lenovo. but with an 11.6″ form factor and those bold new colors (white and red), it is hard not to think of the x100e as a powerful new netbook offering for those who need the muscle for business applications.
Getting down to the raw specs of the device, you will get to choose between the AMD Turion or the AMD Athlon Neo (AMD’s Atom competitor that faield to gain much traction). In fact, the other new ThinkPad — ThinkPad Edge — also has AMD processors powering it. Looks like Intel has done something to upset Lenovo or may be AMD had a better deal.
Coming back to the X100e, the device’s main claim to fame is its ThinkPad branding, full sized keyboard and Lenovo’s unique ThinkVantage suite. Yes, this being a fully featured (as much as possible actually) business class portable, Lenovo is offering its much renowned ThinkVantage suite of enterprise applications. The trackpad on the x100e is multitouch enabled and there’s also WiFi. Along with all this, you have optional Bluetooth and 3G. The x100e comes with a fully featured version of the latest Windows OS — Windows 7 Professional edition. As we all know, this is the edition that Microsoft uses to flog its enterprise customers by stuffing it full of enterprise features and leaving all other editions completely barren.
The starting price for the X100e is $500, which is not too bad a deal considering what you are getting for that price. All the hardware signatures of the ThinkPad series, like the highlighted keys and the trackpoint, are fully intact. It basically looks like shrunken ThinkPad.
Not only is the ThinkPad netbook real, it seems like the one that has been leaked so far is not the only model that Lenovo is planning to make. According to a recent FCC filing by component manufacturer Realtek, there are at least two other netbook models that carry the ThinkPad branding. These netbooks are called ThinkPad Mini 10 and ThinkPad Mini 11. Together with the ThinkPad X100e that has been the talking point of ThinkPad lovers everywhere, we now have 3 different ThinkPad netbook models.
The FCC filing that started all this is actually very scanty in detail and it only produces these names and the details of one component — the WiFi. That’s because these devices use a Realtek chip for equipping the devices with WiFi. Realtek’s filing was probably a startegy on Lenovo’s part in order to hide the actual components that these new netbooks are using.
Reverting back to what we already know — the X100e seems like a powerful netbook that will be equipped to handle as much business as a netbook possibly can. The leaked photo of the X100e shows that the build of the netbook(s) is very much like the current (full sized) ThinkPads. It has the look of a sturdy machine that can take some beating. These new models thus can be expected to have similar builds. The difference in naming of the X100e from the Mini10 and Mini 11 might have some significance but right now there’s nothing the actual specs yet.
Businessmen have apparently been wanting something like the netbook in order to make it easier to carry work with them. Even they realize that you sometimes have to carry notebooks for really light work that does not need anything like a notebook. So why not carry a netbook instead? Of course, businessmen can’t just pick up any silly old netbook. Hence the ThinkPad netbooks. It’s a brand that has many a loyal corporate following and hence the netbooks might be met with a lot of success.
After being leaked earlier this month, Lenovo’s ThinkPad series netbook is getting more and more real as time passes by. A fresh new leak has finally released the specifications of this alleged ThinkPad branded device and so far, it looks pretty good.
The device has been identified as the X100e and it is rumored to be slated for the 5th of January next year, which is approaching soon. If the latest rumors are to be believed, we are actually looking at a non-Atom, 11inch netbook device made by Lenovo.
The x100e apparently uses an AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 CPU and supports up to 4GB of RAM. The display is 11.6” and has a native resolution of 1366×768. There are exactly 3 USB ports, one VGA out port and a 4-in-1 card reader.
For storage, you get options between 160GB/250GB/320GB 5400rpm HDDs. It has WiFi (b/g/n) with Bluetooth and 3G as optional. The touchpad will have multiouch support and we had already seen the trackpoint in the previous pictures. There will be a webcam but it will be pretty bad at only 0.3MP. You can choose from either a 3-cell or a 6-cell battery.
As for the OS, you will get a choice between Windows 7 Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate. So it pretty much covers all your needs. The last thing to know about it is the price and since this is a ThinkPad series device, the starting price is on the higher side at $449.
While a business netbook might be an oxymoron, Lenovo is surely looking to capitalize on the demand for a capable netbook device that is designed like a business notebook but has the advantages of a netbook. Besides, Lenovo is not the first company to do this. It was only last month when Asus announced its own business netbooks. But those were just normal Eee PC models running the Windows XP Professional OS.
The ultraportable market is now choc-a-bloc with new players and hordes of new products. From the CULV laptops to the Atom-based netbooks to the ARM toting UMPCs, we have a crowded market to choose from. And this is the space that will be targeted by a new Lenovo ultraportable – a Snapdragon powered smartbook.
Smartbooks are usually differentiated from the rest as being the last step before laptops degenerate completely into the tiny UMPCs. Smartbooks are much more power efficient, thanks to the ARM chips that they use. Hence they can also afford to be small yet last long.
Lenovo’s latest entrant has long been rumored as coming and it has finally seen a sneak preview within a Qualcomm webcast that was released recently. Qualcomm is the maker of the popular Snapdragon chip, which uses an ARM chip design to run at a standard clock speed of 1GHz. The webcast said that the device was coming soon and will be released formally at the upcoming CES 2010 in January.
The Lenovo smartbook so far has no names that it can be called by and specs are unavailable as well. Whilst we can guess what it is likely to run, there is always the scope for companies to surprise us with out of the box thinking. But since that is rare – we can expect the usual 1GB RAM and some form of SSD. A 1.8” HDD is also part of the possibilities.
The smartbook will be sold through the wireless carrier AT&T and hence it can be expected to carry a subsidized price tag.
Lenovo has been quite vocal about their dislike for Linux. It might have stemmed from the fact that they once tried selling cheap Linux systems but failed miserably at it. According to the company statement, the consumer does not understand what Linux is. They buy the system and then when they try running it like Windows, they face the obvious problems. So they send it back to the company thinking that it is broken and the sales are reversed, which is most annoying for any company.
So their ire against Linux is understandable. However, what is hypocritical about this entire thing is their interest in the Chrome OS operating system that is being developed by Google. That’s because Chrome OS nothing but Linux with a custom windowing system on top of it. Its speed, lightness, flexibility and security is all thanks to its Linux foundations.
Lenovo has recently admitted that they are indeed interested in the Chrome OS and they working with Google in order to make it happen. However, they have also said that it is too soon to say anything about whether they will carry products that run the Chrome OS (and only the Chrome OS) out of the box.
What Google is doing with the Chrome OS is something that is logically sound but has not been tested out in public yet. It is going to be an OS that runs everything through web applications and is mostly about the Chrome browser getting its own OS. Hence it will have tight integration with Google Apps like Gmail and Google Docs. It will boot instantly, will have no virus issues and will focus on being online more than anything else.
Rumors and spy shots have been doing their rounds on the Internet that carry the news of a ThinkPad series netbook that is being developed by Lenovo. There has been no official word on the matter but everyone is fairly certain that the images that have been leaked on the Internet are indeed of a genuine ThinkPad device that comes in the size that can only be called a netbook.
The device in the images looks extremely similar to all the current ThinkPad models and it has all the signature features that are visible on other devices of the line. The highlighted enter key, the touchpad and the navigation nub between keys g, h and b are all similar to what we are accustomed to see on standard ThinkPad devices. There is also a visible ThinkPad branding on the device.
But there are quite a few differences that are startling for most regular ThinkPad users. First, the size of the device seems quite smaller than the regular ThinkPads, which is why the netbook form factor claim is validated by the images. The traditional keyboard has been replaced with a keyboard that has isolated flat keys. Although this style is becoming popular on mid-range and high-end portables, the ThinkPad series has always retained certain legacy features for its dedicated business clientele (like the navigation nub).
The styling also seems to be different. This is probably the only ThinkPad in the market (if it is real) that has a white outer body. Almost all ThinkPads so far have been black or at least a very dark color and nothing close to white.
A new netbook model from Lenovo was also spotted on the FCC’s database and it is being concluded by many the rumored ThinkPad and this new model are one and the same. Whatever it is, more rumors peg this device around 5th January in 2010. The name has been apparently been settled as X100e. There was some confusion with suggestions of the device being called X200e.
The Lenovo IdeaPad s12 is a popular netbook model. It had the right balance between power and elegance and it was priced correctly as well. But the one thing that held it back was the same thing that held all the other netbooks back – the complete and utter lack of graphics prower.
Thankfully, that changed after the NVIDIA ION came along. But Lenovo chose to put the ION LE version in to the S12 and hence caused it to become a minor setback. nOw that upgrade season is here again, Lenovo has decided to make amends.
The main reason for using ION LE over ION was ensuring that the battery life was not hampered. But the consumers want both power and battery life and Lenovo understands that now. The company has stepped up and made the S12 into one of the first ION (full version) equipped netbooks made by a major manufacturer. It has a similar, albeit a bit lower battery life but it can now crunch HD video and handle graphics.
Around the launch of Windows 7, the newly configured S12 was launched in Japan. A day later, it was made available in the US as well. The price on the website is currently $599. This is a steep price to pay for a netbook but it has only just been launched here. There is an 11 business days waiting period as well.
So the right thing to do would be to wait for it to show up on Newegg or Amazon and then snipe it for a much lesser price. Given the way these things work, the price will probably come down to near $500 very soon to make it more appealing.