Lenovo Ups SMB Storage Offensive, Intros New Laptops In Product Blitz

Lenovo Unleashes Product Palooza In Beijing

From SMB storage products, a hybrid Cortana search app and a new media streaming gizmo called Cast, Lenovo unleashed its latest lineup of digital gear at its inaugural Lenovo Tech World event, held May 27-29 in Beijing.

Flanked by industry illuminati that included Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Lenovo chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing unveiled the products as part of the company's diversification strategy to offer solutions from the back pocket all the way to deep inside the data center.

Lenovo's Tech World comes a year after it purchased IBM's x86 business and Motorola Mobility from Google. The event is more or less the company’s coming-out party as an industry heavy-hitter offering its take on emerging technologies, including wearables, smartphones, tablets, PCs, servers, software and cloud services.

Here is a look at what's new from Lenovo.

Cortana Search And Lenovo REACHit App Team For Highly Personalized Search

Lenovo and Microsoft announced a partnership to merge Lenovo's REACHit search technology with Microsoft’s upcoming desktop and mobile Cortana search service to create a customized solution for Lenovo Windows 10 hardware. Unveiled last year, REACHit is an app that connects users' PC, Android or iOS devices to their storage accounts from Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and Box. Cortana is Microsoft's version of Apple's digital assistant Siri, which will be included in all versions of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 operating system.

As part of the Lenovo and Microsoft partnership announced Wednesday, a hybrid version of REACHit and Cortana will be baked into select Lenovo devices. That will enable Lenovo hardware owners to take advantage of Cortana's speech-recognition technology to scour their own REACHit-enabled drives for personal files on cloud services and other Lenovo Windows 10 hardware running the REACHit software.

Lenovo Updates 14-Inch Z41 Laptop Line

Lenovo positions its 14-inch Z41 laptop, bridging both work and home use, with equal attention to home entertainment, such as Dolby Surround Sound and productivity features. The Z41, which packs some decent horsepower with an upgrade option of Intel's fifth-gen CoreTM i7 processor, also features 1,920-x-1,080 pixel display that supports up to 16 GB DDR3L memory and ships standard with a backlit keyboard.

On the downside, the laptop only manages 4 hours of runtime between charges and weighs in at a hefty 4.6 pounds. But what's not to like about a dongle-free laptop that comes with ample ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI-out, 4-in-1 card reader, audio combo jack, an Ethernet RJ-45 and VGA port.

Base configuration is $500.

Lenovo Updates The Z51

The 15-inch Z51 Lenovo offers the same specifications and work/play balance as the Z41. But with the Z51, what you gain in screen real estate you lose in bulk. The Z51 weighs in at 5 pounds, is slightly thicker and can run the same fifth-gen Intel Core i7 processor. What sets the Z51 apart from its Z41 sibling is that the laptop comes with the upgrade option of Intel's RealSense 3-D camera that can scan in 3-D objects and play augmented reality games with hand and head gestures.

The Z51 has the same $500 starting price. Add the RealSense 3-D camera, and plan on spending $600.

Lenovo IdeaPad 100

Lenovo's IdeaPad 100 is the company's latest entry-level laptop with a starting price of $250. Specs for the IdeaPad 100 are respectable -- considering the price -- and include Intel's Bay Trail-M N3540 processor, up to 500 GB HDD storage (or optional 128 GB SSD of storage) and either a 14-inch or 15-inch 1,366-x-768 display.

The IdeaPad 100 has a 4-hour battery life, according to Lenovo, and sports connectors 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI-out, 4-in-1 card reader, audio combo jack and an Ethernet RJ-45 port.

Lenovo Cast: Simple, Affordable Media-Streaming Device For TVs

Lenovo jumped into the wireless media-streaming fray Wednesday, announcing its Lenovo Cast device, aggressively priced at $50. Cast acts as a hub bridging Android, Windows and iOS devices to an HDTV.

The Cast device plugs into a display's HDMI port and allows any DLNA or Miracast-enabled tablet or smartphone to link to Cast and broadcast a video signal to the display. Not to be confused with Roku or Google's Chromecast, Lenovo's Cast only mirrors a device's display. Lenovo Cast goes on sale in August.

ThinkPad Tablet 10: A Surface 3 Alternative

The ThinkPad Tablet 10 is Lenovo's latest slate that shares many of the same specifications as Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet, such as price, size and processing power. The 10-inch tablet has a starting price of $500 and can be configured with either Intel's Atom Z8500 or Z8700 SoC quad-core processors.

Lenovo positions the ThinkPad Tablet 10 as a laptop replacement, offering many advanced features such as ActivePen stylus support (ThinkPad Pen Pro with WRITEit), rapid battery charging and "business-class" security. Naturally, Lenovo offers a variety of keyboard options that bump the price up between $100 and $120, including the ThinkPad 10 Folio Keyboard and the Ultrabook Keyboard. For $180, Lenovo offers the office-friendly ThinkPad Tablet Dock.

The ThinkPad 10 goes on sale in August with a starting price of $500.

Lenovo Storage S2200

Lenovo announced new, affordable S2200 and S3200 storage arrays aimed at the SMB market that it said delivers simplicity, speed, scalability and availability. With the release of both storage SAN offerings, Lenovo touts them as a springboard for companies who want to jump-start their transition to flash technology without breaking their IT budgets.

Both storage solutions feature realtime tiering, which can automatically move frequently accessed data to higher-performing drives every 5 seconds, according to Lenovo. The S2200 supports up to 96 drives along with Fibre Channel, iSCSI and SAS. Pricing for S2200 starts at approximately $3,400 and is available next month.

Lenovo Storage S3200

Priced at $6,500, Lenovo's SAN S3200 offers near all-flash-array (AFA) performance for up to 120,000 Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS). Both the S2200 and S3200 storage arrays offer dual and single controllers in 2U-12 and 24-drive configurations, but only the S3200 supports up to 192 drives, along with multiprotocol connectivity that can work with Fibre Channel and iSCSI at the same time.

Both model SANs also offer Lenovo software management extras, such as data tiering, thin provisioning, SSD read caching, rapid RAID rebuild, Lenovo Snapshot and storage pooling.

New Lenovo Logo

Lenovo also on Wednesday said it would retire its old logo, replacing it for more colorful options including pastel orange, blue, green and other colors. The move, Lenovo said, marks the company's strategic shift beyond just selling PCs, to a company that offers more personal and engaging technology products that appeal to a more diverse customer base.