Lenovo 3000 C100 Notebook Front (view larger)
At a press conference today in New York City Lenovo unveiled its Lenovo 3000 series of notebooks. The C100 mainstream 15.4" screen notebook is available for purchase now via Lenovo.com. The N100 widescreen 14.1" and 15" notebook will hit the virtual shelves in March, and the V100 ultraportable with built-in optical drive will be available around May.
Lenovo 3000 C100 (view larger)
The Lenovo 3000 C100 (pictured above) has a starting price of $599 when configured with an Intel Celeron M processor. You can get up to a 2.0GHz Pentium M processor (Sonoma family). The C100 is available now at Lenovo.com. The basic specs for the C100 are as follows:
Built-in Lenovo Care software is like the "Access IBM" software found with ThinkPads that provides easy management of your notebook (view larger image)
The look of the C100 isn't very striking, but the price point is very nice. The selection of ports is good. The oddly positioned front loading CD drive is rather annoying in this author's opinion, but it could be argued it makes for easy access. There is no pointing stick available like on ThinkPad notebooks, but the keyboard is "ThinkPad-like" meaning it's a good keyboard, but not quite the same as a 7-row fully blown ThinkPad keyboard.
C100 from the left side (view larger)
Lenovo 3000 C100 next to N100 on the right (view larger)
Coming in March is the N100 widescreen notebook from Lenovo. That will be available in 14.1" screen and 15" screen size. No word on price points yet, but expect the configurations to be similar to the C100 and you will also have an option of a glossy screen.
Lenovo C100 (on the left) next to the widescreen N100 (on the right) that will be coming in March (view larger image)
Lenovo N100 widescreen notebook (view larger image)
Most exciting for me is the V100 ultraportable release in the 3000 series. This 12.1" widescreen notebook will be coming to the market in late May. It has a built-in optical drive on the right side (this is a somewhat rare feature for an ultraportable notebook) and has features such as FireWire, 3-in-1 media card reader, ThinkPad like keyboard (notice they have the blue Enter button on the V100, like all ThinkPads do), fingerprint reader for security, port replicator/docking station ability and a wireless on off button. The V100 will likely come equipped with a Pentium M ULV processor, although all final specs are not settled. They indicated built-in EVDO will not be an option with this V100 like it is the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 ultraportable series. Lenovo had a "hand assembled" early model of the V100 at the press conference, pictures are below.
Lenovo V100 ultraportable keyboard (view larger image)
Lenovo V100 ultraportable from the right side (view larger image)
Lenovo V100 ultraportable from the left side (view larger image)
Many questions were asked of Lenovo reps as to whether we'd be able to walk in to any retailer such as Best Buy or Circuit City and buy these new Lenovo machines right off the shelves. For now Lenovo.com is the only way to get the currently released C100, but Lenovo indicated they plan on trying to get these notebooks on the shelves in more places and their current strategy of promoting Lenovo via Olympic telecasting is how they're trying to build brand recognition and make customers more aware if they start to see these Lenovo branded products in stores. Lenovo will also be sponsoring the next Summer Olympics in Beijing China to build the brand further -- by that time in summer of 2008 Lenovo hopes to be a prominent name in the American technology market.
Also of note at the press conference, Lenovo representatives were asked the question as to whether they would consider AMD processors for any notebooks including ThinkPad and Lenovo branded products. The answer was that Lenovo is open to AMD and "possible for consideration" in upcoming notebook releases. The new Lenovo 3000 series of desktops will contain an option for AMD processor.
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