By Jacqueline Emigh | Monday, March 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm
Lenovo has rolled out new ThinkPad Tablet PC and ultraportable laptop PC models based on Intel’s new second generation vPro Core processor, hot on the heels of Intel’s announcement on Monday of the speedier and more secure new chipset.
The new 12.5-inch X220T convertible tablet and X220 laptop will be available with second generation Intel Core and vPro Core chips. All i7 models will also offer USB 3.0 for faster data transfer, but the i5 and i3 models will be limited to USB 2.0, said Ross Compton, a Lenovo product manager, in an interview.
Aside from new processors, the new ThinkPads will also feature a revamped design revolving around changes to the display, touchpad, and latch.
Intel on Monday helped set the stage for Lenovo’s announcement by stating that its second gen vPro Core processors will show up in “new laptop, convertible-tablet, desktop and all-in-one PCs for businesses” from PC makers that include Lenovo, Dell, HP and Fujitsu.
In the ThinkPad X230 and X230T, which replace the earlier X201 and X201T, Lenovo is also expanding the size of the touchpad by some 45 percent, removing buttons, and modifying the latch mechanism to give users more room to work, Compton said. The latch still clamps down securely, though, even under “mil spec” (military specification) stress testing, according to the product manager.
Set for shipment in April, the X230 and X230T will introduce screens made of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, for durability and scratch-resistance.
The second gen vPro chipsets to be available for the new ThinkPads are designed to raise data speeds by about 80 percent and encryption speeds by around 300 percent, while also adding Intel’s TurboBoost 2.0, HD Graphics, Anti-Theft Technology (AT) 3.0, and Identify Protection Technology (IPT). IPT is meant to block access to secure sites by generating a new six-digit random password every 30-seconds.
Lenovo first announced support for TurboBoost 2.0 with the Edge ThinkPads for SMBs unveiled on the eve of CES in January. The Intel technology is aimed at reducing power to “non-essential hardware” such as SD cards, for example, during intensive apps like videoconferencing and data analysis.
Intel’s vPro chips, which use a variant of Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture, were originally affected by a SATA port bug in the “Cougar Point” chipset, but Intel has since redone Cougar Point.
Moving forward, Lenovo plans to offer i7 processors as an option for all ThinkPad models, according to Compton. “We now have the battery power to support that,” he elaborated.
Compton conceded that the new tablet and ULPC won’t supply as much battery power as the larger T and W series ThinkPad laptops launched in February (although like the T and W notebooks, they will include Instant Resume for maintaining WiFi connectivity when the laptop is in sleep mode).
Lenovo has touted the high-end T420 model, for example, as providing up to 30 hours of life without recharging when its standard 9-cell battery is combined with an optional snap-on nine-cell battery.
For its part, however, the X220 ultraportable PC will run for up to 15 hours without recharging with a nine-cell battery, and up to 23 hours with a brand new external battery pack, Compton told me.
Like the T and W notebooks, too, Lenovo’s ThinkPad 220 and 220T will include front- and rear-facing HD cameras, dual-mode videoconferencing, and Lenovo’s new RapidBoot technology for quicker bootup times.