Other products also announced as part of an Intelligent Transformation there were the new SMB-focused ThinkBook sub-brand and the new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Generation 2.
ORLANDO – On Monday, at the first combination of Lenovo’s Transform customer and Accelerate partner conferences, the company unveiled new PC devices that it termed their largest-ever set of commercial announcements. The jewel in the crown, a new Foldable PC form factor, is still a long way from general availability, which is slated for some undetermined point in 2020. Lenovo also made major announcements of new product that will be available much sooner, however, which include the new ThinkBook sub-brand aimed at the SMB market and a new ThinkPad X1 Extreme Generation 2.
“We are merging Transform and Accelerate this year for the first time,” said Christian Teismann, SVP Commercial Segment, Intelligent Devices Group at Lenovo. “It is a most natural thing to do. We understand our customer requirements and have a strong and deep partnership with our business partner community.”
The theme of these joints events this year is driving what Lenovo calls the next transformation – the intelligent transformation.
“That is how we connect all the devices from the cloud to the core to drive analytics to make our businesses smarter,” Teismann said. “That strategy has three pillars: smarter devices, smarter workplaces, and smarter businesses. Our vision is to empower business users with the world’s smartest computing solutions.”
Art Hu, Lenovo’s CIO, was the kickoff speaker at the event, talking about the evolution of the CIO’s job from keeping the lights on to driving business value and agility – which was core to the intelligent transformation theme, and the reason why Hu led off the event.
“It’s now about how we work with the business to create agility and time to market and impact,” he said. “Technology is embedded in everything the business is doing in a way it wasn’t just five years ago. This is not just Lenovo’s strategy. It’s the new IT.”
Hu stressed that great technology by itself creates no business value, only technology that is correctly deployed to create, connect and enable new experiences, and he emphasized the importance of Lenovo’s tagline of Smarter Technology for All.
“Every day, we work to transform Lenovo with smart solutions that make our business better and stronger,” he said. “We want to become the leader and enabler of the intelligent transformation.”
Teismann got to announce the new IDG products designed to do this.
“This is the largest set of announcements we have ever made for our commercial business,” he told the audience. “All these products are designed to intelligently transform your business – pushing innovation capabilities in every single category of product.”
The most spectacular element announced here was the Foldable PC – even though it is likely to provide channel partners with more of a ‘wow’ factor to highlight Lenovo innovation than put dollars in their pockets, compared with some of the other show announcements.
“Two years ago, at the first Transform, I finished my presentation with a vison of a new category of PCs – a foldable PC – a PC that is highly adaptive,” Teismann said. “Since then, we have been determined to perfect and launch it. I’m here today to tell you that our vision has become reality.”
Teismann then unveiled the world’s first foldable PC.
“This is a new category of PC,” he said. “I’m confident that this is the beginning of a new area of personalized computing. It combines laptop productivity with smartphone portability. This is the only device you will need in the future. It is fully pen-capable, always on and always connected. With its innovative form factor, it can move and transition with you from day to night.”
Lenovo is marketing this transition as constituting five essential modes that span the worksay. Book Mode is for scanning your social media in bed. You then take it into the kitchen to view news in Full-Screen Mode. Switch to Clamshell Mode for emails during the train commute for work. Dock it with a USB-C at your office desk. Take notes with a pen in Tablet Mode during meetings. The set it up with its stand and use its mechanical keyboard in AIO mode.
The Foldable PC is part of Lenovo’s flagship X1 line, which includes consumer market segments as well as commercial – you can buy X1 devices in Costco. Accordingly, the sweet spot for the Foldable PC includes both segments.
“We have targeted this Foldable at highly mobile professionals, and at tech enthusiasts looking for game-changing devices,” said Tom Butler, Lenovo executive director of the worldwide commercial portfolio.
“We are positioning it as a laptop replacement – a full productivity device,” Butler stated. “This would be used more than a traditional notebook or Yoga. A notebook under your arm is not useful in all modes. This can be folded in half for portability. This one will be a game-changing device.”
Because the Foldable is still so far from launch, some of the specifics are a little fuzzy. Butler indicated that they are targeting all-day battery life, but meaning all workday, not 24 hours. It will be on based on a future Intel platform – but what platform can’t be disclosed at this point. It will weigh under two pounds, not a big surprise considering its small form factor. Butler indicated that testing specific to the unique nature of this product is also taking place.
“We are doubling the hinge test cycles because it will be opened and closed more than other devices,” Butler indicated. “When it opens, it is completely flat.
“It will have the same go-to-market motion as other ThinkPad X1s,” he added.
Following the release at CES this year of the second generations of X1 Yoga and X1 Carbon, Lenovo announced the second generation of X1 Extreme at this event. Its performance specs include up to 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with Max-Q design, and up to double the storage at 4TB.
“We call it Extreme for a reason,” Teismann said. “There is very strong demand for high performance and high resolution for professional business users.” This includes features like cinema quality audio, beautiful design with carbon on top, thinner and lighter than ever before, and higher performance from new Intel chipsets and NVIDIA graphics.
The new Extremes are scheduled for July availability.
Teismann also announced a new sub-category, the ultra-slim ThinkBook S series, which is available in a 13-inch and 14-inch model. Both will be available in late May.
“SMBs need an easy to deploy and manage product which offers a great out-of-the-box experience, so we are introducing ThinkBook for SMB,” he said. It is stylish with essential security features built in, right out-of-the-box business grade support, and a consumer-like experience with business-grade performance and security.
Lenovo also announced the ThinkCentre M90n Nano and Nano IoT, small form factor devices a third the size of the original Think Centre Tiny.