By Talal Malik in Paris
EXCLUSIVE: Lenovo officially reveals newest Thinkpad model to trump MacBook Air.
Major PC manufacturer Lenovo on Tuesday unveiled what it calls the lightest and thinnest notebook in the world, dismissing any comparisons with MacBook Air which was launched with the same claim in January.
At the worldwide launch event in Paris, the Chinese-backed company said the ThinkPad X300 measured less than 1.85 cm at its thinnest point and can weigh as little as 1.33 kgs - but had major features which the Apple competitor lacks.
"It is thinnest and lightest full-featured notebook in its class," said David McQuarrie, executive director for Lenovo's EMEA Notebook Business to ArabianBusiness.com in an exclusive interview in Paris on Tuesday.
"It breaks ground - it lasts all day, comes complete with all the newest features and is environmentally-made."
McQuarrie said apart from its portability, the laptop's key appeal to the business segment were its potential 10-hour battery life, an industry-leading 7mm DVD-burner, and its Gold rating by EPEAT, a system for comparing the "greenness" of computers.
As for the claim to be have the world's thinnest and lightest notebook, Lenovo said on Tuesday that this was based on a comparison with major vendors in the same "class" offering 13-inch widescreen laptops like Sony, Dell and Acer as well as being "full-featured", defined as including technologies such as built-in DVD burner, selection of USB ports, Ethernet connection, replacable battery and more.
The definition of "full-featured" is arguably in direct reference to Apple Computers launch on January 15 of the MacBook Air, also referred to the company as "the world's thinnest notebook" measuring at 0.4 cm at its thinnest point and weighing in less at 1.36 kg.
The MacBook Air, which was launched to mixed reviews despite its stylish design, has no built-in DVD drive, a single USB port, no Ethernet port and the battery has to be replaced at an Apple centre.
Lenovo was keen to emphasise differences with the MacBook Air, which was alluded to during the presentation launch as "a product launched to much fanfare".
"The Thinkpad X300 has all-day power," McQuarrie said, referring to the long-life battery of the new lapto. "I talked about a product which was launched to much fanfare recently - it doesn't have all day power, not even all-morning power."
Whilst Lenovo said the Thinkpad X300 is aimed at mobile work professionals desiring the latest technology, the MacBook Air is aimed at Apple's loyal brand-followers, a small but significant business and consumer segment.
But the launch of two laptops claiming titles to being the world's thinnest in consecutive months has naturally caught the attention of the industry, consumers and media.
"We don't consider it a reference product," said McQuarrie about the constant allusionto the new MacBook. "But we get asked a lot about it by the industry and customers so have to address that."
McQuarrie said the ThinkPad X300 is the flagship top-of-the range product of Lenovo, which the Chinese-based company bught from IBM's loss-making $10 billion PC business with hopes of building a prominent global brand.
Lenovo, which has investments from the Chinese government and IBM, became the world's third/fourth largest PC manufacturer after the acquisition and currently accounts for $14.6 billion in annual net revenues.
The company is a key sponsor of the Olympic Games with the Winter Games in Torino, Italy in March 2006 and will sponsor the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.
However, Acer will sponsor the Olympic Games from 2009, five months after the Beijing Olympics have been completed, which Lenovo said is a successful conclusion to that phase in raising its brand awareness.
"With the Olympics, we wanted to be trusted," said Milko Van Duijl, President of Lenovo EMEA and Senior Vice-President of Lenovo Group, at the launch in Paris.
"With one Olympics in the winter and one Olympics in the summer, I feel I've proven that point (in terms of investment)."
Source - http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/lenovo/about/history.html