After shadowing users and their habits, Lenovo redesigns the ThinkPad
- By John Breeden II
- Mar 25, 2013
ThinkPad notebooks, which have become government workhorses, are getting a major overhaul. Based on an extensive research project where engineers actually followed users around as they worked, Lenovo is eliminating the touchpad buttons and reducing overall weight by a third on future notebooks.
The ThinkPad T431s will be the first notebook with the new design. Available in April, it will be the thinnest T series ever, with a sleek, innovative trackpad, enhanced keyboard and refined aesthetics.
Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of ThinkPad Business Unit, said customer insight was key to improving the company’s notebooks. “The ThinkPad T431s is the first device featuring Lenovo’s new design, which represents a comprehensive examination of user experience and input.”
Beyond traditional customer interaction, Lenovo researched non-ThinkPad users and ThinkPad loyalists around the world. Over nine months and in multiple countries, researchers spent thousands of hours shadowing users in their homes, workplaces and remote locations, observing user behavior and asking questions.
The results found that respondents favored simplicity and modern elements when it comes to their technology, the company said.
Lenovo updated the ThinkPad keyboard by improving key placement while maintaining shortcuts, designed the display with a super thin bezel, and debuted a new graphite black color. The new ThinkPad trackpad is an evolution of the TrackPoint and TouchPad, featuring a new larger, smooth, responsive, multi-touch glass surface that optimizes Windows 8 gestures and click functionality, and integrates TrackPoint behavior to deliver a customized, improved experience for all users.
The ThinkPad T431s weighs 3.6 pounds and is .82 inches thick when closed. The carbon fiber top cover and magnesium exterior continue ThinkPad’s history of business-class rugged design and durability. It is powered by 3rd generation Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost, and features improved Intel HD Graphics, up to 12G of memory and additional HDD and SSD storage options. The T431s has a 14-inch HD+ (1600 x 900) anti-glare display and two USB 3.0 ports for fast data transfer.
The T431is also available with Intel vPro for easy device management, supports ThinkPad docking, and provides enhanced security features that government customers require.
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.