In the run-up to the release of Microsoft's new operating system - Windows 7 - the big PC makers are jostling for the position of most innovative OEM.
Right now a strong candidate for that accolade is Dell, with its ARM systems and wireless charging. But Chinese PC giant Lenovo has some ideas of its own, exemplified by the recent launch of new ThinkPad laptops designed to get the best out of Windows 7, and especially the enhanced touch-screen functionality it enables, known as MultiTouch.
The star of Lenovo's autumn collection is the ThinkPad T400s. To find out more about it and Lenovo's broader product strategy, we met senior VP at Lenovo, Fran O'Sullivan (pictured talking to your devoted editor), who heads up the Think product group.
"Internally we codenamed it ‘Super T', in a Superman sense," said O'Sullivan. "It's a very thin, 14 inch laptop - t he majority of super-thin enterprise systems are 14 inches." We couldn't resist warning her that in the UK that name also refers to a well-known strong lager. That was something she was unaware of.
We pointed out that the thin notebook category has become complicated by the arrival of low power processors from Intel and AMD, but O'Sullivan was keen to stress that the Super T belongs to the original category. "We also have CULV offerings like the U350, but this one is more top-of-the-line, with an SSD and meets military specs, for corporates that want top-end everything," she said.
Such as? "It's interesting in these economic times that we've found that most of our customers want ‘green' but don't really want to pay more for it," said O'Sullivan, inferring efficiencies both inside and outside the PC. "We've also innovated in acoustics - our systems are now actually quieter than ambient room noise."