Lenovo has launched its new ThinkPad X300 ultra-portable notebook line to provide its executive-class customers and partners with what it calls a no-compromise portable and functional computing solution.
At first glance, the design of the ThinkPad X300 seems to mirror that of Apple’s MacBook Air. Both notebooks are thin and sit at about the same weight, with the X300 starting at 2.9 pounds and the MacBook Air at three. Both also feature a 13.3-inch widescreen LED backlit display screen and a full size keyboard. What’s different though is the X300 features an optional built-in optical disc drive, which is something that the MacBook air doesn’t have.
According to Michelle Warren, a senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ont., by including the built-in disc drive, Lenovo is targeting corporate users, whereas Apple, she said, is targeting consumer customers with its MacBook Air, where an optical drive may not be as important.
“The ultra-portable notebook market is a niche market,” Warren said. “It’s not a widespread market that represents the bulk of notebook shipments in Canada. Because of their small form factor, they tend not have certain things inside them as ‘standard’ machines do.”
Steven Stronach, ultra portables product manager for the Americas at Lenovo, said the X300 was brought to market because the company realized its users were living in a world of compromise when it came to lightweight notebooks.
“Often times users were compromising functionality for portability,” Stronach said. “There were things they had to give up in order to keep the machine light. This is where we saw a gap in the technology line up and we made the X300 notebook to be lighter and faster and we’ve also thrown in a DVD burner.”
Warren predicts these notebooks will do well with CEOs and C-level business executives who do a lot of traveling. For partners, she said although demand is not that high, there’s still a need within every company to have an ultra-portable notebook.
“There’s an opportunity for the channel to sell these notebooks because each company has a need for (one), just not hundreds of them,” she said. “Partners can also make higher margins because these units are higher priced.”
The new notebook, she said, also has the potential to increase Lenovo’s market share and credibility because of its sleek design and features, which she said, have already sparked a buzz in the market.