Have a juicy secret you don't want the world to know? Better keep it from Lenovo, which can't stop leaking information to the Web, especially when that info pertains to its W-series mobile workstations. Case in point: Lenovo isn't expected to unveil its upcoming W701 and W701ds notebooks until this Thursday, but we already have a bunch of specs to share thanks to a handful of slides again leaked to the Web.
Both machines are listed as using Intel Extreme CPUs, while the displays have been upgraded to 100 percent of the NTSC color gamut since we last got a sneak peek. They both also offer up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, Nvidia Quadro FX graphics, 5 USB ports (one of which will be USB 3.0), an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, HDD (up to 500GB) and SSD (up to 256GB) options with RAID 0,1 support, a 9-cell battery, and other odds and ends.
The W701ds, as we already knew, comes with a second screen, along with a Wacom Digitizer. What we don't know is how much it (or the W701) will cost.
Some attentive Web surfers yesterday managed to dig up information about Lenovo's upcoming X-series refresh, details of which were found inside the OEM's official maintenance manual for the ThinkPad X201. Lenovo probably would have preferred to wait a little bit before letting the cat out of the bag, but given the circumstance, the company has now confirmed it will launch the ThinkPads next Tuesday on February 23.
That's all the details Lenovo's willing to cough up at this point, but given what the maintenance manual revealed, it's believed the refreshed lineup will tap into Intel's 2010 mobile chips, including the Core i3, i5, and i7. If so, look for more than just an external makeover on the revitalized laptops.
There's no such thing as a good hiding place on the Internet. Once you post something online - no matter how obscure the location -- someone is bound to find it. That's one reason why whistleblower site Wikileaks is so popular, and it's also how we've come to learn about Lenovo's X-series refresh.
Some curious sleuth managed to stumble upon Lenovo's official maintenance manual for the ThinkPad X201, a 9MB PDF file (downloadable here) which reveals more than a few details about the new models' specs. For instance, we now know the X201 will ship with various Intel CPUs on up to the Core i7 620M. The slimmed down X201s, on the other hand, will opt for the less voltage-hungry Core i7 640LM with a 2.13GHz clockspeed.
And for you touchy-feely types, touchpads are now an option. Other goodies include a 2MB webcam option, fingerprint reader status LED, palmrest options (with or without touchpads), and a WXGA+ display exclusive to the (s) models.
Lenovo has introduced three new value systems rocking AMD CPUs and graphics. The C315 is a stylish little all-in-one set up, and the G445 and G555 are laptops. Lenovo is making no mistake about the message here. “Our new G series notebooks and C series all-in-one desktop are designed for users who want a simple but powerful computing experience without any headaches,” said Lenovo’s Dion Weisler.
The C315 will have a fairly large 20 inch widescreen display with touchscreen technology built in. It will have an Athlon dual-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and ATI Radeon Mobility graphics. At $649, this isn’t a bad deal at all. It’s sort of a budget HP TouchSmart machine.
The laptops look like nice values as well. Both will have 16:9 widescreen displays and Turion II dual-core CPUs. Radeon HD graphics are, of course, also on board. Lenovo did not detail what specs would differentiate the two units, which makes us curious as they both have the same MSRP of $449. Keep an eye on this if you're looking for a deal on a system and power isn't tops on your list.
Lenovo this week announced the ThinkStation E20, the first in a new series of entry-level workstations the company says costs less than $600.
"We've found there are a number of CAD and DCC professionals who are currently getting by on desktop PC hardware due to budget constraints," said Mark Cohen, vice president, Enterprise Products, Lenovo. "They're running workstation-class applications and could benefit from using true workstation hardware. We designed the ThinkStation E20 with these users in mind to put true workstation performance within their reach."
Lenovo has lined up a range of processors for the E20 line, including Core i3, Core i5, Pentium, and Xeon 3400 series processors. Buyers will also be able to choose from Nvidia's discrete Quadro line or step up to the FX1800.
The new workstations will be available by the middle of this month.
Life is good for Lenovo. For the third straight quarter, the company reported record market share numbers in the worldwide PC shipments business, which helped Lenovo double its profits from one quarter ago. Now it appears Lenovo will try to duplicate that success in the smartphone market as it prepares to buy the entire interest of Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology from an investor group.
"For the first time since the acquisition of IBM PCD, Lenovo was the fastest-growing PC company in the world," Yang Yuanquing, Lenovo's CEO, said in a statement. "In the future, while we continue to expand our PC business, we also want to attack the mobile Internet category to drive growth and capitalize our innovation efforts."
Sure the move is risky, but given its recent success, Lenovo can afford to take a gamble. And as Technology Business Research analyst John Spooner puts it, "Lenovo is hitting its stride" and is in "full-on attack mode." So what are the plans for the smartphone biz?
Spooner says Lenovo will target customers in rural China and other markets with lower-priced devices, which include both smartphones and netbooks.
What's all this talk of a tech recession? It's apparently of no consequence to Lenovo, who reported a 42 percent year-over-year increase in worldwide PC shipments during the company's third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2009.
Even more remarkable, this marks the third straight quarter Lenovo has been able to boast its highest market share ever, this time at 9 percent. By comparison, industry PC shipments increased 17 percent during the same time period.
"For the first time since the acquisition of IBM PCD, Lenovo was the fastest growing PC company in the world. We have achieved our highest ever global market share for the third straight quarter and notably increased profitability. These achievements demonstrated the effectiveness of the strategies we mapped out at the beginning of the year," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO. "In the future, while we continue to expand our PC business, we also want to attack the mobile internet category to drive growth and capitalize our innovation efforts."
All across the board Lenovo has reason to celebrate. Operating profit, for example, hit $99 million for the quarter, which is twice as much as the company claimed in the previous quarter.
Following a series of cyberattacks on Google and 33 other large-scale U.S. institutions suspected to have originated from China, Google earlier this week said it would delay the China launch of a pair of cell phones made by Samsung and Motorola. But if there was any fear that Google would attempt to stop all Android-based smartphones from launching overseas, you can put those concerns to rest. According to Lenovo, the company has every intention of releasing its Android-based LePhone in China this May, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"LePhone uses the Android operating system but we tailor our phones with our own applications. We are cooperating with other major Chinese Internet service providers including Sina, Sohu, and Tencent," said Lenovo Chief Technology Officer He Zhiquiang.
Meanwhile, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said his company remains "quite committed" to staying in China, but how that plays out is anyone's guess. Google last week also vowed to no longer censor its Chinese website, even if it led to halting operations in the country. This was reiterated on Thursday when Schmidt said his company will make changes to its now-censored search results in a "reasonably short time."
America loves split personalities -- how else do you explain Hanna Montana's rise to stardom? -- and that's exactly what Lenovo aims to deliver with its new IdeaPad U1 laptop/tablet hybrid.
"The IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook is a game-changing technology in the PC industry that lets users switch their PC experience within a single device to match their dynamic lifestyle," said Liu Jun, senior vice president, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "By fusing the functionality of a notebook with the slate tablet's rich multitouch entertainment and mobile Internet experience, U1 provides consumers the freedom to choose the device they prefer for any activity."
On the portability front, Lenovo says the IdeaPad U1 has a footprint slightly smaller than a sheet of notebook paper and weights just 3.8 pounds. And in terms of the hardware, the hybrid notebook sports an 11.6-inch HD LED display and Core 2 Duo SU processor. Remove the outer display, however, and it transforms into a tablet with a Qualcomm ARM Snapdragon processor.
Other features includes 4GB of RAM (512MB in slate/tablet mode), a pair of USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, VGA, HDMI, 4-in-1 memory card reader, and a 1.3MP webcam.
Can you remember the last time Lenovo unveiled a high-end tower system aimed at the performance crowd? It's a bit of a trick question, because up until now, that's been new territory for Lenovo. Not anymore, starting with the just-unveiled IdeaCentre K320.
The K320's base configuration screams of modesty with its Core i3 processor, but fully decked out, you can piece together a beast of a system with an Intel Core i7 860 CPU, ATI Radeon HD 5970 videocard, and a Blu-ray burner, among other options. These and other amenities will jack up the starting price from $600 to $2,000 when it launches on January 31st.
Switching gears, Lenovo also plans to launch the IdeaCentre C315 nettop down the road on March 1st. It will come configured with an Intel Atom 330 processor, up to 640GB of storage space, optional ATI Radeon 4530 graphics, and a DVD burner. Seems a bit pricey at $650 though.