Don't Think Notebook, Think Tablet

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 06, 2005

Tablet PCs have been knocking around the business world for years now, and their sharp designs still capture the imagination even if they haven't captured a large percentage of SMB dollars. Today, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X41 Tablet, the first ThinkPad since the company acquired the notebook line from IBM. Lenovo claims the X41 offers businesses lightweight tablet computing without compromising performance.

Tablet PCs come in one of two distinct styles: slate and convertible. A slate tablet doesn't have a keyboard — instead you hold it like a clipboard and input data using a stylus pen. The more versatile convertible looks and works like the typical clamshell notebook with a cover display that closes over a keyboard — or you can twist and rotate the display up to 170 degrees to lie face up on top of the keyboard, and use it slate-style.

According to Jeff Samitt, Lenovo's segment manager, the X41 is a breakthrough product in terms of its size and weight. "The X41 is 20 percent lighter and 10 percent thinner than any other 12-inch convertible," he said. "It also offers the longest battery life of any convertible tablet in its class. The X41's flexibility and light weight, combined with wireless capability, computing performance and enhanced security make it ideal for any business that needs a mobile workforce."

Samitt said that the X41 works exceptionally well for companies that need an adaptable tool in the field. "It's especially well-suited for field work, and it can help service-oriented SMBs increase productivity," he said. "We expect a lot of companies in financial services, sales, medicine and law to benefit from the X41's flexible mobility."

Notable Features
In its lightest configuration (using a four-cell battery), the X41 weighs in at a mere 3.5 pounds (it's also just 1.14-inches thick.) The eight-cell battery brings the total weight to four pounds. Samitt says the two batteries provide up to 2.6 and 6.3 hours of work time respectively.

With an emphasis on security, Lenovo offers a built-in fingerprint scanner on select X41 models — in addition to the company's Embedded Security Subsystem — a combination of a security chip and downloadable security software. "These features make the X41 today's most secure tablet PC and help companies protect and encrypt their critical data, security passwords, encryption keys and electronic credentials," said Samitt.

The X41 also includes The Active Protection System (APS), part of the ThinkVantage technologies package included with all of Levano's ThinkPads and ThinkPad Tablets. It's designed to help protect the hard drive from damage caused by jolts or falls. According to Samitt, a built-in motion detector senses sudden movement and parks the hard drive's writing head in place, keeping it from striking the hard disk platter. "APS works a lot like airbag technology," said Samitt. "With this technology, you're much less likely to lose data if you bump or drop your X41 as you go about your work."

Nuts and Bolts Features
Lenovo built the X41 around the Intel's Pentium M processors, its 915GM chipset and Microsoft's Window's XP TabletPC Edition operating system. You can configure the tablet with up to 1.5 GB of PC2-4200 DDR2 memory, and Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator 900 handles the graphics capabilities.

Hard drive options include capacities ranging from 20GB to 60GB. Drive configurations also include a selection of DVD and DVD-RW drives. For wired and wireless network capabilities, the X41 comes with both Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi (802.11/a/b/g), and you can also opt for Bluetooth on selected models.


ThinkPad X41 Tablet
Two-In-One — You can use the X41 as standard notebook or rotate and fold the screen over the keyboard to use slate-style with a stylus.

The ThinkPad X4 dock (a $219 option) lets you use the X41 on the desktop and provides expansion possibilities. It includes 3 USB 2.0 ports, an Ultrabay Slim device bay, AC adapter and a cable lock slot for added security.

Pricing and Availability
The Thinkpad X41 Tablet will be available through resellers and online at www.lenovo.com and www.ibm.com starting on June 14. Standard configuration pricing starts at $1,899 and features the following specs:

  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Pentium M
  • Memory: 512MB RAM
  • Hard Drive: 40GB / 4200rpm
  • Network: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless: Intel 802.11 b/g
  • Modem: 56Kbps
  • Battery: Four-cell, lithium ion
  • Security: Integrated fingerprint reader, client security software
  • Warranty: Three-year

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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