As Intel officially launched its long-awaited Centrino 2 platform, Lenovo was announcing a boatload of laptops, all of which will feature Centrino 2 components. The wave of new systems includes nine ThinkPad models: three in a brand-new SL series targeted at small and medium businesses; a new X series ultraportable; updates to the existing R series and T series; and a portable workstation in the newly minted W series.
The SL series is arguably the biggest news of the launch. Occupying the middle ground between more-corporate ThinkPads and the ultra-small-business-oriented Lenovo 3000 line, ThinkPad SL series laptops feature a glossy black cover (gasp) and otherwise familiar design. The famed ThinkPad keyboard and TrackPoint are there, as are the Webcam, WWAN, and Bluetooth options you'd expect on a business-oriented laptop. Less expected, but still welcome, are the optional GPS (which we saw with the ThinkPad X300 earlier this year), HDMI port, and optional Blu-ray recordable drive.
All three SL series models are built on the latest Core 2 Duo processors, with a choice of Intel X4500 or 128MB Nvdia GeForce 9300 graphics. The 13.3-inch SL300 (prices starting at $899), which adds a backlit-LED display to the list of features, will be available August 5. The 14.1-inch SL400 and 15.4-inch SL500 (prices starting at $799) are available today.
Also of note in today's announcement is the long-awaited update to the ultraportable ThinkPad X series. The 3-pound X200 ditches the standard-aspect display of its predecessor, replacing it with a 12.1-inch wide-screen display. The wider case means room for a wider keyboard; the X200 incorporates the same keyboard as (larger) ThinkPad T series laptops.
Additional features include WWAN, Webcam, and GPS options, plus the option for a 64GB solid-state drive. As with its predecessor, the ThinkPad X200 sacrifices the optical drive to achieve maximum portability (though you can get a DVD burner in the company's UltraBase docking station). And the little guy really is meant to be carried everywhere, considering Lenovo's promise of a 9-hour battery life with the the new 9-cell battery. The ThinkPad X200 starts shipping on August 5; no word yet on pricing.
Other ThinkPads announced today include the 14.1-inch R400 and T400, the 15.4-inch R500 and T500, and the 15.4-inch W500 workstation, with starting prices ranging from $799 to $1,999.
In addition to new hardware, Lenovo also unveiled the ThinkPlus Secure Business support package, which incorporates next-day on-site warranty service, product repair or replacement in the event of spills, drops, or electrical surges, and online data backup. More information is available at the company's Web site.