Desktop PCs are standing flat where they are, as some pundits see it, but Lenovo plans to give them a leg up on lots of levels in 2011. Beyond literally dozens of new multimedia-intensive IdeaPad notebooks for consumers and ThinkPads for businesses, Lenovo’s product rollouts at CES 2011 will also include new IdeaCentre PCs that could help to reimagine the all-in-one category by adding fresh features for TV watching, gaming, and 3D entertainment.
While it would take five hands to count Lenovo’s 23 new mobile PCs for consumers, home office and small- and medium-sized businesses can count the new IdeaCentres on just one. The new all-in-one PCs range from the A320, touted by Lenovo as “the industry’s slimmest AIO” to the Nvidia 3D Vision-enabled B520, for combined gaming and family entertainment; to the B320, billed as “the computer that’s also a TV.” On tap, too, is the entry-level Lenovo C205, an HD (high-definition)-enabled desktop which also adheres to an AIO design.
By way of contrast, Lenovo will inundate the mobile PC space with a quintet of models for small- and medium-sized businesses–the ThinkPad E420s, E220s, E420 and E520, plus a refreshed x120e — along with a dozen-and-a-half new consumer and small office/home office notebooks.
More specifically, the consumer laptops will include the S100 and S205 ultaportables; the high performance Y570d, Y570, and Y470, sporting Intel Core processors up to i7, Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Nvidia GT 550M 1GB switchable graphics; and the IdeaPad Z570, Z470, and Z370, for “fashionable” consumers who care about such things as “futuristic designs” with transparent colors in “pop colors” like sky blue and fuschia.
Lenovo also plans to unveil five new “mainstream affordable notebooks” in its G Series; two new Intel Core i5-enabled B Series laptops for small office/home office users; and three new members of its V Series, for “looking sharp at the office and relaxing at home,” said Nick Reynolds, director of global marketing for Lenovo’s Product Group, in a press briefing.
Yet while far outnumbered by the notebooks, Lenovo’s new desktop PCs also stick out as significant. Although Lenovo is a relative newcomer to the consumer arena, the vendor is pouring some major engineering resources into a PC segment viewed by analysts as growing much more slowly than laptops, if at all.
With its latest ThinkPads for small- and medium-sized businesses now taking on some consumer-oriented characteristics, Lenovo is applying the same crossover approach to its consumer and SOHO notebooks, too. In fact, the new V, G, and B series consumer models should offer even faster boot-up times than the ThinkPads, since they will include not just Lenovo Enhanced Experience (EE) 2.0 for Windows 7, also introduced with the ThinkPads, but Lenovo’s new RapidBoot option, which will use SSDs (solid state drives) to further boost boot-up in hybrid configurations.
The V Series, for example, will also come with business-oriented features such as a fingerprint reader; Lenovo’s OneKey Rescue System, for quick back-up and recovery; a USB port locker, for preventing unauthorized access to USB ports; and Lenovo Security Suite.
Lenovo’s new desktop PCs, on the other hand, are all about home entertainment of various sorts. The new notebook PCs aren’t any slouches in this department, either. The Y and Z series, for instance, each offer OneKey Theatre II, for automatically maximizing AV settings, along with advanced audio systems (Dolby Advanced Audio for the Z models, and SRS Premium Sound with JBL-designed speakers for the Ys). New members of the Z Series are also outfitted with HD 16:9 format widescreens, available in 13.3-, 14-, and 15.6-inch sizes. The consumer laptops are slated for availability on various release dates from March through May, at starting prices ranging from $329.99 (for the S models) to $899.99 (for the Ys).
The all-in-ones, however, step further in a multimedia direction, with larger HD widescreens across the line-up. And surely, since there are far fewer desktop than notebook models, the four AIOs are easier to tell apart from each other.
Lenovo certainly isn’t the first to try to rethink the desktop PC as a home entertainment center. To cite one example, Sony started taking that course at least as early as five years ago. In mid-2010, MSI intro’d the Wind Top AE2280, the first AIO to come with THX’s TruStudio Pro high-end audio.
Lenovo’s new AIO desktop PCs, though, are each forward-thinking in their own respective ways. The new A32 AIO, just 18.5mm deep at its thinnest point, will feature a 21.5-inch display; an Intel Core i5 processor; Intel Turbo Boost Technology; HDMI in and out; and an integrated card reader. Pricing starts at $699.
The B520 gaming and family entertainment PC, priced starting at $899. will qualify as “the world’s first frameless multitouch AIO,” according to Reynolds. In another claim to fame, it 23-inch HD display will use Project Capacitive Touch (PCT) for a multitouch experience geared to better comfort and accuracy. Aside from Nvidia’s 3D Vision, other features will include an Intel Core i7 processor; SRS Premium Sound; and an optional 3-in-one-mouse with air-mouse and motion-drive gaming functionality.
Another multitouch system, the B320, will offer an HWTV (Hardware TV) technology option, for combined use as a PC and a regular 1080p HDTV, with switching between those two modes at the touch of the proverbial button. Equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor and a 21-5-inch screen, the B320 is priced at $699.
The entry-level C205, priced beginning at $449, is the only AMD-enabled AIO in Lenovo’s new lot. Features include an 18.5-inch screen; an optional single-touch touchscreen panel; a Webcam, microphone, and built-in speakers; an AMD Dual Core Processor E-350 with AMD Radeon HD 6310 Discrete-Class Graphics; and a ATI Radeon HD 6000 Series 1G graphics processor for 720p HD video support.
The B520 and B320 are slated to ship in June. Lenovo hasn’t yet set the dates for the A320 and C205. The new AIOs and notebooks will be available mainly online. However, some models will be sold at Best Buy stores. Lenovo might also announce partnerships with other US retailers later in 2011, Reynolds noted.