Lenovo Arms Partners with Touch Combat Kit

Lenovo's Touch Combat Kit

Lenovo’s Touch Combat Kit

Attending Lenovo’s recent Product Showcase tour in Toronto could leave solution providers with no other conclusion than the fact that there are a large number of options out there when it comes to personal computing form factors.

The newly-minted world’s largest PC vendor put it all out there for partners and customers, showing both the “familiar” – the latest version of its ThinkPad notebooks and Ultrabooks – and the less-familiar, a variety of products that blur the line between the tablet and the notebook. And for those who really want a business-friendly tablet, there were even those too – Windows or Android. Your choice.

The lineup included the ThinkPad Yoga, bringing the flexible bend-any-which-way screen introduced in last year’s IdeaPad Yoga into the corporate world, the ThinkPad Twist, a more “conventional” take on the convertible notebook/tablet, and the ThinkPad Helix, a detachable notebook/tablet hybrid. Each one has some unique advantages and challenges, and each style is likely to attract a different type of use case.

But which one will your end users want? Which one will get them over the hump and into a newer, higher-performance, and touch-enabled machine? Which one will convince them that maybe it’s worth the time to learn how Windows 8 works?

Those are all valid questions, and one that Lenovo is taking a unique approach to answering. One solution from the company: Let them try them all and decide for themselves.

Lenovo currently offers resellers access to what it calls a Touch Combat Kit, a set of its more innovative products bundled together for customers to take for a spin. The current lineup includes a ThinkPad Tablet 2, ThinkPad Helix, ThinkPad Twist, and a ThinkPad Carbon Touch, along with power adapters and a custom Windows 8 image that includes video tutorials for each product, and some productivity apps to test out in a touch environment.

Solution providers get access to the Touch Combat Kit through Lenovo-authorized distributors, and can then walk customers through the options available to them. Currently, the brand-new ThinkPad Yoga is missing from the collection of tech toys, but that’s an oversight Lenovo is likely to fix in short order.

“What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. By having a broad portfolio, and trying new and innovative things, you attract more and different customers,” said Stefan Bockhop, channel sales director at Lenovo Canada.

Garrett Dugger, a product ambassador for Lenovo, put it in even stronger terms, telling assembled partners and customers that the decisions they make today are “going to impact you for your whole PC lifecycle.” And a time when many organizations are stretching out the lifecycle of the average PC, that’s a bigger factor than ever.

“They’re either going to enable you or limit you over the next three- to five-year period,” Dugger told attendees.