Now, more than ever, it seems like Lenovo is letting go of all inhibitions to rework the classic Thinkpad design.
Meet the recently unveiled Thinkpad Edge :
Featuring chiclet-style keys vs. the legendary Thinkpad keyboard, Metal Edges vs. classic Thinkpad all-black look, Glossy Heatwave Red or Midnight Black lid vs. classic Thinkpad Matte Black lid -- If it weren't for the red pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard, I'd reckon this is NO Thinkpad - Not at all.
Oh Lenovo, why force these design changes on the legendary Thinkpad when you have your consumer line: the Ideapad ?
David Hill, Vice President of Lenovo Brand Management & Design offers an explanation:
"New Decade. New Thinkpads. [...] What we've done now is we've created a complementary design aimed at a new audience. We call it Thinkpad Edge. At its heart, it's a Thinkpad. What gives it the edge is sophisticated simplicity."
Bursting with sophisticated simplicity - as if Classic Thinkpad is not sophisticatedly simple enough.
While David's words are quite reassuring, Moskito, a Thinkpad fan, still feels worried about how the Edge line might affect the lofty image and high market value of Thinkpads. Quoting his comment at LenovoBlogs.com :
I’m sure the design team did their very best, and I’m even sure that it is, for that price, a very good and fine notebook.
The problem with the Edge, as it was already with the SL series, that by marketing those notebooks under the Thinkpad brand Lenovo lowers the marketing value of all Thinkpads. And they just don’t fit into the Thinkpad series. (I’m only speaking about the Edge series, the X100e is a whole other story…)
If they’d just called those things “ThinkEdge” or “EdgePad” or whatever nobody would have said anything. (Personally speaking I favour simply ThinkEdge, it’d be shorter than Thinkpad Edge, too.)
Also I can’t imagine how Lenovo wants to keep service at high level when Thinkpads are sold for such a low price. So Lenovo has to cut costs at the service somehow, which has already started. For example in Europe by routing calls from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other german speaking countries to some service center in Eastern Europe.
He has totally valid points. But then again: New Decade. New Thinkpads.
Here's David Hill explaining what the new Thinkpad Edge line is all about:
If you're interested in getting Thinkpad Edge this Q1, you'd be glad to know that you have several CPU options for the machine : AMD Turion X2, AMD Neo 2 processor ( AMD Neo with dual core ) or Intel SU4100/SU7300 ULV chip ( Core 2 Duo ULV variant ). And you likewise have these screen size options: 13", 14" and 15" widescreen with 10:16 ratio.
Here are the other specs:
glossy LED screen, 1,366x768-pixel resolution
supports up to 4GB of RAM
supports up to 500GB hard drive,
multi-in-1 media card reader,
three USB ports,
Qualcomm Gobi 2000 3G module with GPS (optional)
and the official product tour video courtesy of Lenovo:
Lenovo Philippines hasn't given us word yet on Edge's availability in the Philippines. But given its price point - running for as low as $579 or around Php 27,000 (with current conversion, before taxes), I bet it won't be too long before it hits store shelves in Pinas.
To wrap this up, here's what Engadget had to say about the Thinkpad Edge and its 'fresh' design:
As far as we're concerned there's no reason to preserve tradition for the sake of it -- especially when you can save some cash by tweaking the formula. Sure, the ThinkPad Edge 13 may not carry some of the premium features of the X301 or other higher-end ThinkPads, but for a budget ultraportable we've got very little to complain about.
TechPinas, however - being a big Thinkpad fan , thinks it's a sad day in tech history when a Thinkpad's design is finally dictated by pricing pressure and fad bandwagon.
UPDATE: As it turned out, the supposed metal edge of Thinkpad Edge is not really metal -- it's just silver paint on plastic.