Lenovo expands ThinkBook SMB sub-brand with first 15 inch, new 14 inch models

Lenovo adds to the portfolio of SMB-focused products it introduced at their Accelerate event this spring with two new models, including their first 15 inch one in this series.

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15

Back in May, at their Accelerate event in Orlando for customers and partners, Lenovo introduced a new-subcategory of ThinkBooks targeted at the $USD 600-1000 range within the SMB space. The new models, the ThinkBook S series, came in 13-inch and 14-inch form factors, and was aimed to younger users looking for a smartphone experience in a more powerful and versatile form factor. Now Lenovo has expanded this portfolio with another 14-inch model and their first 15-inch ThinkBook. They have also upgraded the ThinkBook 13s and 14s introduced earlier with the new 10th Gen Intel Core processors.

The messaging around the new models is similar to the first ThinkBooks – that smaller businesses can get secure, commercial grade machines with the bells and whistles of the consumer market. A big part of the appeal is the clear consumer device look and feel of the new models, designed to appeal to Millennial and Gen-X employees.

“We have designed these to have a consumer look and feel, in terms of the design, colours and material, with features like a narrow bezel,” said Pascal Bourguet, VP, North America, Chief Category Officer PC & Smart Device at Lenovo. “These are things that drive consumer preference, and these look like a consumer product, but what is inside is definitely made for the commercial market.”

The consumer focus dictated rolling out these ThinkBooks starting with the smaller models.

“When we tapped into this portion of the market with a consumer look and feel for the first time, we decided it would be smarter to start at the high end with the 13- and 14-inch models,” Bourguet said. The average price on 13-inch in North America is higher because it is thinner and lighter, and that is what this market places a premium on.”

The new ThinkBook 15 checks in at 3.7 lbs, with options of a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon 620 graphics, up to 24GB of DDR memory, and a dual storage option of SSD or Intel Optane memory plus HDD.

“This ThinkBook 15 is a brand new product, and is our first entry into the largest part of this market,” Bourguet said “In North America, the 15-inch is around 40 per cent of the market. The ThinkBook 15 is not the thinnest and lightest product in the market, but it will compete against the ProBook with a much nicer design.

“You won’t find any product which some nice design with this level of commercial design,” Bourguet added. “If you compare the ThinkBook and the ProBook next to each other, your heart will say you want the ThinkBook. It has thin and light and consumer flair, but with SME specs. We think the combination of the two is our  unique IP here.”

The commercial-grade features include one-step unlock and turn on, with a Smart Power Button that includes a built-in fingerprint reader for security. The ThinkBook also includes a ThinkShutter camera shutter for webcam privacy, a hidden USB port, hotkeys for Skype for Business and the ability to charge USB-C devices.

Bourguet acknowledged that the biggest challenge selling these kinds of devices in the commercial market is that they are new. Whereas in the consumer space, advertising can raise customer awareness of new features and functionality, in the commercial space, Lenovo is largely dependent on its channel partners to drive these to SMBs.

“The challenge of this new sub-brand for Lenovo is that for our reseller partners and distis, it typically takes a long time to get the channel into the product,” he said. “It’s more of a marketing challenge. So what we are doing right now is doubling down on our marketing and training. We are committing a lot in terms of demand generation and incentives to the channel. Our challenge is to get the channel to love it – and that’s mainly a marketing effort.”

Both the ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 will be available in November, starting at $USD 649 and $USD 679.00 respectively.

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