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Lenovo's New ThinkBook, ThinkCentre Nano Prove The Power Of Innovation

Lenovo has launched a new notebook brand as well as a new product category within the desktop PC market.

Lenovo is upping its game in product innovation with the launch of a new notebook brand as well as a new product category within the desktop PC market. The moves are aimed at helping Lenovo raise its profile in key geographies—including North America—as the company continues its aggressive push to capture market share from competitors.

The new notebook brand, ThinkBook, will comprise laptops that offer key attributes of the business-focused ThinkPad line combined with a more consumer-friendly design aesthetic. Lenovo’s target customers for the ThinkBook— which swaps out the typical carbon-fiber chassis in favor of metal—include small businesses and millennial-age workers that place a high value on design.

The ThinkBook “is going to be [Dell] Vostro and [HP Inc.] ProBook’s worst nightmare,” said Matthew Zielinski, president of Lenovo’s North America Intelligent Devices Group.

Lenovo also is launching a new desktop product category with the ultrasmall ThinkCentre Nano desktop—which is significantly smaller than even Lenovo’s small-form-factor ThinkCentre Tiny desktop offerings. While the Tiny features a 1-liter design, the Nano will be about one-third of that size while still offering strong performance, according to Lenovo.

Lenovo has “been a thought leader in that ultrasmall form-factor space for the last several years, where others have been fast followers,” said Andy Jones, CEO of MCPc, a Lenovo Platinum partner based in Cleveland. “The Nano represents a further expansion into that space and further thought leadership in that space. That ‘nano’ form factor— that ultra, ultrasmall-form-factor device—we continue to see organizations that want or have a need for those types of computing devices, whether it’s for standard desktop users or for specific workloads or work use cases.”

Key use cases might include health care, such as for medical crash carts and other clinical carts, Jones said. The Nano is designed to sit flat, unlike the Tiny, which sits upright. The 0.35liter Nano has a height of 0.86 of an inch, a depth of about 3.5 inches and a width of 7 inches—making it not much larger than some smartphones.

The Nano (pictured) differs by including notebook processors from Intel’s Whiskey Lake series rather than Intel Coffee Lake desktop processors as in the Tiny. The Nano also tops out at 16 GB of RAM, half the amount of the Tiny, and does not have an option for HDMI connectivity as on the Tiny.

The Nano is available with up to Core i7 vPro and two SSDs, and will include USB-C, DisplayPort, USB-A and Ethernet connectivity. The 15-watt ThinkCentre Nano also offers power savings when compared with the 35-watt ThinkCentre Tiny. The Nano could be ideal for customers that have dense employee populations and tight spaces, such as SMBs and call centers. The Nano’s unique form factor is targeting “a new portion of the market, which we are creating,” said Pascal

Bourguet, vice president and chief category officer for Lenovo’s North America Intelligent Devices Group.

Lenovo’s ThinkCentre Nano has a starting price of $599 and is expected to begin shipping in July.

For the ThinkBook, Lenovo is looking to make a splash by offering a highly portable notebook with an aluminum chassis—essentially, a notebook that is primed for younger workers in the age of the consumerization of IT.

“This consumerization of IT is opening a market need for customers who want the reliability and the durability of a ThinkPad, but want the sophistication and design of some of the consumer brands they can find in retail,” Bourguet said.

The ThinkBook also is ideal for SMBs because it offers reduced pricing compared with typical ThinkPad prices due to omitting certain enterprise-class capabilities. The ThinkBook won’t have the same complex capabilities around security, manageability and deployment as the ThinkPad, according to Lenovo. Instead, the ThinkBook will offer “industry-standard” technologies for security, manageability and deployment, the company said.

The ThinkBook will be available in two models—13.3-inch and 14-inch—featuring displays with FHD resolution and up to 300 nits of brightness, and a light silver color for the body. Notably, the ThinkBook won’t have the signature red trackpoint of the ThinkPad.

On portability, the 13-inch ThinkBook will measure 0.62 of an inch thick and weigh less than 3 pounds. The 14-inch ThinkBook will measure just a bit thicker, at 0.65 of an inch, and weigh 3.5 pounds.

Lenovo’s ThinkBook lineup is expected to be available in May. For models sold through the channel, the 13-inch ThinkBook will have a starting price of $799, while the 14-inch ThinkBook will have a starting price of $819.

Editor’s Note: The CRN print version of this story incorrectly listed the pricing of the Lenovo ThinkBook line. The correct prices are included here. CRN regrets the error.

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