Can Lenovo Re-ignite The Desktop With A New Form Factor?

Lenovo executives say they have taken design and engineering breakthroughs they developed in the PC market in China, and are now following through on a promise by the company's CEO to deliver the newer form factor at a lower, not higher, price.

The company said the ThinkCentre A61e ultra small form factor desktop, with an AMD Athlon 62 X2 dual core or AMD Sempron single core processor, will start with a $399 price point. Lenovo says it is also built more energy-efficient than previous desktops, and an enterprise that deploys 50 of them could save $1,000 annually in energy costs.

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Slide Show: Lenovo Thinks Ultra Small With New Desktop

"One of the things we think is very important is that it's full-function PC performance in an ultra-small form factor that is extremely energy efficient and consistently quiet," said Tom Tobul, executive director of emerging products marketing for Lenovo, Raleigh, N.C. He said that combination of features and total cost of ownership will allow solution providers to bring new value to their customers during the desktop upgrade cycle.

Lenovo, which owns the IBM-created ThinkPad brand of notebooks, has been working more aggressively to build out its desktop business over the past several quarters. On a worldwide basis, Tobul said, Lenovo's desktop business achieved profitability in an aggressively priced market. The company, with a smaller form factor and lower price, is seeking to build on that momentum.

"Size matters, and of course cost matters," said Bob Cardinell, president of NBS Inc., a Latham, N.Y.-based solution provider. Cardinell said his company is authorized as a Lenovo reseller, but focuses more on solutions than products. However, he said that lower-cost desktops - - with more manageability features and easier maintenance - - could have attractive points in a sale when combined with a smaller footprint and lower price point.

The A61e does not have wireless connectivity built in; Tobul said Lenovo determined not to add that feature at the extra cost it would have added to the system.