With its line of consumer PCs slated for rollout at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week, Lenovo has chosen to unveil its latest line-up of business computers on Monday. Ranging from the new ThinkPad Edge series for small and mid-sized businesses to new ThinkPad ultraportable and mobile workstation models for enterprises, the new line emphasizes multitouch and wireless broadband capabilities.
With its sleek new 13-, 14-, and 15-inch Edge models, Lenovo is taking another step beyond its traditional enterprise market. The new Edges’ expanded multitouch touchpad, re-tooled keyboard, and colorful cases are features that might appeal to lots of consumers, too. But with the numbers of SMBs continuing to rise, Lenovo sees these businesses as a hefty enough market to warrant specially designed laptops.
Lenovo has redesigned Lenovo’s infamous function keys for the Edge. Users will only need to use one finger to access multimedia and other functions, said Charles Sune, Lenovo’s segment manager for ThinkPads, during a pre-briefing. Gone are the ThinkPad’s traditional embedded number pad, along with arcane function keys such as System Request customarily used mostly by IT pros at large companies but unneeded either by consumers or most SMBs.
Sune told PC World that, in Lenovo’s view, SMBs fall somewhere between consumers and enterprises in their laptop needs, with very small businesses tending to be more similar to consumers and companies with a couple of hundred employees acting more along the lines of enterprises.