Lenovo Showcases New Smart Office and ThinkPad Products for CES
Lenovo has introduced new hardware, software, and ready-made kits designed to help channel pros capitalize on rising demand for smart office solutions.
“It’s a new area of opportunity for Lenovo and a new way for us to engage both with existing partners as well as new partners that are focused on collaboration,” says Rob Cato, the vendor’s vice president of North America channels.
Accompanied by a new all-in-one PC, a new high-end monitor for creative professionals, and new editions of its flagship ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebook and ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertible, among other products, the new additions to Lenovo’s ThinkSmart portfolio are the first installment of what Lenovo plans to announce in Las Vegas next week at the CES 2020 conference.
Chief among the new smart office products is the ThinkSmart View, a specialized device for conducting audio and video conferences in Microsoft Teams via the Teams IP phone app.
Designed to be paired with a PC, the compact 2.2 lbs. unit features an 8-inch HD IPS touchscreen, as well as built-in microphones and speakers and a 5-megapixel 720p wide angle camera with privacy shutter. Other security features include PIN-based device locking and a one-touch microphone mute button.
The system comes with built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support plus 4 GB memory and 8 GB of onboard storage. It’s powered by a Qualcomm APQ8053 system-on-chip. Lenovo will begin shipping it later this month for $349, or $449 when bundled with a ThinkPad X1 ANC Bluetooth Headset.
New as well for 2020 are pre-assembled Zoom Room solution kits featuring Lenovo’s ThinkSmart Edition Tiny for Zoom, a purpose-built version of the vendor’s ThinkCentre M920q desktop. A Lenovo Tab M10 controller, Logitech audio and video peripherals, and a stand are included as well in the bundle, which is available now in the U.S., Canada, and select countries overseas via Tech Data’s Maverick AV Solutions unit.
Lenovo plans to add similar kits for Microsoft Teams Rooms in collaboration with Logitech in the future.
Channel pros can manage all of their ThinkSmart hardware through the new ThinkSmart Manager administration tool. Available now, the application provides functionality for remotely deploying, configuring, updating, and monitoring a fleet of ThinkSmart products through a consolidated console. Drawing on Lenovo Secure Authentication technology, the system also lets administrators make BIOS changes, modify supervisor passwords, and lock down USB ports remotely.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 (pictured left) announced today, which augments the Gen 7 version of that product introduced at last year’s CES, includes new unified communications function keys that let users make and control calls directly from their laptop keyboard. An enhanced package of security features includes Lenovo’s ThinkPad PrivacyGuard technology, which restricts the viewing range of the device’s display, and ThinkPad PrivacyAlert software, which warns users when someone else is looking at their screen.
Scheduled to ship at an unspecified point later this year for $1,499 and up, the unit comes with a range of optional Dolby Vision displays and a standard Dolby Atmos speaker system featuring two upward-firing tweeters and two downward-firing woofers designed to create an immersive sound experience.
A 14-inch device, the new X1 Carbon weighs 2.4 lbs. and comes with up to 2 TB of PCIe SSD storage and up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory, as well as an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 card. It supports up to 10th Generation Intel Core U i7 vPro processors as well as an optional 6 Core i7 chip, and according to Lenovo provides up to 18.5 hours of battery life.
“[It] just gives you a lot of functionality and flexibility, especially for mobile users who are constantly on the go, on an airplane, [or] spending time in a non-office environment,” Cato says.
The new ThinkPad Yoga X1 Gen 5 (pictured left) boasts most of the same features as its clamshell cousin, including the unified communication function keys, Dolby Atmos speakers, and Dolby Vision display, as well as PrivacyGuard and PrivacyAlert security protection.
Equipped with a CNC aluminum chassis for added durability, the 14-inch system weighs 2.99 lbs. and up, and provides up to 18.3 hours of power. Lenovo plans to release it later this year for list prices starting at $1,599.
Both new laptops are compatible with the ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II, an external keyboard designed to mimic the look and feel of Lenovo’s highly regarded notebook keyboards. Due to ship in May for $99.99 and up, the device comes with 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth 5 connectivity that can support up to two Windows or Android devices. The battery is designed to provide up to two months of use on a charge.
Significantly, the new keyboard includes Lenovo’s iconic TrackPoint pointing device. “I love the red dot,” Cato says. “I absolutely enjoy that experience, and I think having that in a keyboard that you can use with different form factors is a key product for us.”
Lenovo’s ThinkCentre line of desktop PCs, meanwhile, has gained a new all-in-one model (pictured right). Called the M90a and due in June, it features a wide-view 23.8-inch FHD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution plus an HD camera with a Lenovo ThinkShutter for privacy. It supports up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, as well as up to a 2TB hard disk drive, up to a 1 TB SSD, and up to 16 GB of M.2 Intel Optane memory. Users can control the system using voice commands via Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. It will list for $1,099 and up.
“For a small, medium business customer, [it] could be an ideal product for them to be able to use in a small office/home office type of environment doing collaboration calls or engagement with clients or with other colleagues around the world,” Cato says.
New additions to Lenovo’s ThinkVision monitor family unveiled today include the ThinkVision Creator Extreme. Tailored specifically to the needs of professional content creators, the 27-inch device comes with an HDR1000 compatible 4K UHD display with 1152 mini-LED zones and 10,368 LEDs for dynamic local dimming. It provides 99% DCI-P3, 100% sRGB, and 100% BT.709 color gamut support and offers HDMI 2.0, DP1.4, and USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 ports with up to 90W of power capacity.
Lenovo plans to ship the device in April. Pricing will begin at $2,499.
Further ThinkVision models introduced today include the T34w-20, a 34-inch unit with a 21:9 1500R curved display offering 3440 x 1440 resolution; the P27h-20, a 27-inch monitor with an anti-glare QHD “NearEdgeless In-Plane Switching” panel and 178-degree viewing angles; and the T24v-20, a 23.8-inch product with a Full-HD IR camera.
The T34w-20 and P27h-20 are both scheduled to ship in March. The former system will sell for $799 and up while the latter will be priced at $499 and up. The T24v-20 ships in April and will list at $264 and up.
Lenovo’s move into the smart office market began in 2017 with the launch of the ThinkSmart Hub 500 conference system. According to Cato, ThinkSmart products account for a modest but mounting share of Lenovo’s commercial revenue at present.
“It’s still what I would call an incubation business that we’re still building, but it is growing fast and we’re finding new areas of opportunity,” he says.
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