Design Inside the Lab

- Some time has passed since the tablet was released, how has the reaction been? Kinoshita: It’s been superb. Right now there are many tablets that all look the same, but the ThinkPad Tablet has been praised as being “recognizably ThinkPad”. - That’s great. What specifically do you think it is about the ThinkPad Tablet that makes it “recognizably ThinkPad”? Kinoshita: I think the ThinkPad Tablet is recognizably ThinkPad in two ways, it’s “toughness” and “design”. There was a lot of debate about toughness, but eventually the development team came to a consensus that sacrificing toughness to make the tablet thinner and lighter wasn’t the right way to go. I’m fairly satisfied with the finished product where design is concerned, considering the “the comfortable feel of the luxurious black rubber coating”, “sturdy and solid construction” and “a style that uses red effectively”. - I suppose that as a ThinkPad, it would have to pass rigorous testing focused on toughness. Kinoshita: Yes, that was a major consideration for us. Some of the testing standards were actually more severe than the ones we use for ThinkPads. We wanted to design a tablet that would be okay to use outside, even if it rained. – Personally, I have some doubts about whether the Android OS can really be used in a “professional business tool”. Is it really up...

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ThinkPad Edge E220s/E420s

ThinkPad Edge E220s/E420s

ThinkPad Edge E220s went on sale in Japan in June. (The E420s has not yet been released). It is a machine that, not unpleasantly, leaves one with a different impression than previous ThinkPads. In this article we have interviewed some of the core members involved in development about their thoughts during development and their impressions after using the finished product.   - The E220s and E420s seem a little different from other Edge products. Is that right? Kinoshita: Yes, that is right. From the very beginning, our development concept was "A premium Edge model that feels like it offers plus something special factors." If these models "seemed a little different" to you, then that means we were successful. Here at Lenovo, we call them "Edge Premium" and "Edge Plus".   -  I think that the Edge Premium is a unique product even for ThinkPad. How did it come to be that why? Kinoshita: We have been focused on a new trend amongst our corporate customers, Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC). I think a lot of people would like to be able to choose their own PC because it is an important business tool. Actually, I am that way too. I want something that is a little bit unique. Until now, you would simply get the PC chosen by the IT department, but I think we are headed towards an era in which you will be able to choose your own PC. That is why Edge Premium targets customers that are "looking for something a little bit different". With the Edge, we believe...

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Lenovo Voice vol. 5 Cover

Lenovo Voice vol. 5 Cover

The topic for vol. 5 of THE VOICE - The Masters of ThinkPad Development is "case design". The Mechanical Design Division, which is in charge of case design, is at the core of the efforts resulting in the tough ThinkPad case. I wanted to hear more about the explanation of the efforts to overcome the limits in case design from vol. 5 and interviewed the two men on the cover.       - Masters. Do you think there has been a lot of progress since Lenovo Voice vol. 5 was published? Ohtani: That is a good question. When I look back on it, yes I think there have been many things. Some models that represent new challenges include the T420, T520/W520 and X1. The LCD side case panel is a new hybrid type on the T420 and T520/W520 and the X1 uses Gorilla Glass.    - What is the new hybrid type? Ohtani: As I explained in vol. 5, we have been using CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) sandwiched foam boards since the Z Series, but the T420 and T520/W520 use molded materials. The molded materials are a hybrid that is a unified molding of CFRP and GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic) and I think this is the first time that this has been tried in the industry. Mizoguchi: It took almost a year to improve the design enough to reach the mass production level. It is necessary to join different materials effectively when molding and this took a lot of effort. The reason that this is a hybrid is because in the antenna areas GFRP must be used...

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Participants of the 2010 Internship Program

Participants of the 2010 Internship Program

Once per week, a group consisting primarily of Yamato Lab. engineers gathers together to think about what to write about, discussing what they want to communicate to Lenovo Fans in Yamato Thinking. It occurred to us that it would be a good time to talk about the internship. We would like to introduce to you some of the contents from interviews that we did from the hands-on work experience internship last year at Lenovo. Q1. This year we had as many as 9 students participating in the program. What was your motivation to apply to the Lenovo hands-on work experience internship? This is a different field from my major, but computers were my hobby. I saw it on Yamato Thinking. My professor is a fan of Lenovo Yamato. Q2. During the period of the internship (two to four weeks), you leave the university to instead commute to a company. What were your days like? I go to work at 9 AM and start by checking my E-mail. I am working on diagnosing the performance of cameras and I am concentrating on my work throughout the day, except for the hour during lunch. I had many good experiences going out drinking with other friends from the internship because my work finishes at 5:36. The many opportunities I had to speak with people from other universities were a precious experience for me. Q3. Is there anything that you came to feel about Lenovo during the course of your internship? Sametime (Authors note: A messaging software) messages were...

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ThinkPad X1

ThinkPad X1

The most important characteristic of the X1 is that it boasts the thinnest body in ThinkPad history. (It's about as thick as the ThinkPad T420s when the LCD screen is opened!) Even with this thin design, the high performance, toughness and stylish design with a premium feel are all next generation. As we discussed in Design Matters | ThinkPad X1: Designing the Ultimate Keyboard, what ThinkPad devotees care the most about is the keyboard. The X1 is not a traditional 7 row keyboard with a 2.5 mm stroke. Instead, it is equipped with a 6 row 2.0 mm stroke isolation (island) keyboard. As you can imagine, this was a topic of fierce debate within the company, too. Is it really okay to switch the ThinkPad classic keyboard to a 6 row keyboard? Is it really okay to reduce the stroke? In the end, though, we were able to develop with confidence. The X1 keyboard earned a higher evaluation than the T420s in user research that spanned several months and was done across the world, including in Japan. Many of the people who participated in the test were devotees of ThinkPad, and we were surprised to find that the attachment to 7 row keyboards was not as strong as we had expected. Even I, who have always loved 7 row keyboards, realized that "times have changed". As we explained in Yamato Thinking | Differentiation of...

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