Design Product Design

A close-up of the all new 360® hinge design

A close-up of the all new 360® hinge design

Guest blog by Tin-Lup Wong, Distinguished Engineer and Executive Director, Strategic Technology and Innovation Center (STIC), PC Product Group. Today, we announced the new YOGA 3 Pro, taking another step in advancing the 360® hinge design we pioneered in 2012 with the original YOGA convertible PC. The new six watchband hinge helps make the laptop 17 percent thinner and 14 percent lighter than its predecessor and also lets you lay it completely flat at 180 degrees.   Making a strong and durable – yet extremely flexible – hinge is something we know well. In previous YOGA models, we designed a dual-hinge system made of zinc alloy. So, you might wonder, why make a new hinge? YOGA users and consumers told us they prioritize thin and light features, so we challenged ourselves to continue to shave millimeters off the design – and to do that, we created the new watchband hinge. Constructed from steel and aluminum, the new hinge provides the same degree of flexibility and flatness of a metallic watchband due to its six flexion points. For the full specs, you can read the press release here, and see the full functionality in action in this video. The Hinge Lift...

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Get aboard the ThinkPad bus and move to the head of the class

Get aboard the ThinkPad bus and move to the head of the class

We just announced the ThinkPad X130e, our latest offering specially designed for the k-12 education crowd. If you ever had kids, you know the kind of abuse they can dish out to the things around them. I suffered through unexplainable damage to VCR's, televisions, and countless electronic toys during the first decade of the kid experience.  Imagine handing them an ordinary computer to take back and forth to school each day, and even more scary, use without your direct supervision? That's why we went back to the blackboard to create something that is far from ordinary. The X130e design has been uniquely ruggedized for the extreme wear and tear education environment. Here are some of the things Lenovo did to ensure success: Rubber bumper absorbs side impacts 33% stronger corners due to larger energy dispersing radii Reinforced and recessed ports Kid-proof hinges last up to 30,000 cycles Stronger bezel to protect the screen Can you say rubber baby buggy bumpers five times fast? When we first started working on the project I was insistent that the design should telegraph ruggedness through an obvious feature. Strengthening the hinges was a great idea, but you can't see that. It can only be experienced over time. Enter the the rubber bumper. To me, it not only protects the edges from the occasional drop from little Billy's book bag, but it outwardly communicates ruggedness. Would you buy a Jeep without bumpers? Even if...

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A match made by design.

A match made by design.

Have you ever been on a trip and wished you had your second monitor handy? I certainly have. A second monitor is so useful in today's world that it's hard to remember what it was like when I only had one. Fortunately, Lenovo has come to the rescue with the introduction of our new ThinkVision LT1421 mobile monitor.  The mobile monitor connects quite simply with a typical USB cable to your ThinkPad, or any other computer for that matter. We chose USB so that it would provide the user with a one cable power and signal connection. I like this much better than dragging around cumbersome VGA, power, or HDMI cables. At under two pounds and less than one centimeter thin, the 14-inch ThinkVision is the perfect traveling companion for the multi-monitor inclined. The prop folds flat when not in use The tip reminds me of Dorothy and her ruby red slippers We studied a wide array of methods to support the monitor We designed an elegant prop that folds from the back of the monitor to position the display at the user desired angle. At the tip of the prop is a red rubber cap that keeps the monitor from sliding around and adds a spark of color. A small red detail is so right for a Think...

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The ThinkPad X1 keyboard uses LED backlighting for illumination

The ThinkPad X1 keyboard uses LED backlighting for illumination

ThinkPad pioneered keyboard illumination when we introduced the iSeries way back in the year 2000.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was showing the prototype to the ThinkPad general manger in our photo studio. Incidentally, it was about the size of a small coat closet. I wrote a blog once that described in detail the origin of the feature. For some reason, there are a lot of inaccurate stories floating around the internet about this innovation. The ThinkLight projects light on the keyboard from above. Who's that guy sleeping? With the introduction of the ThinkPad X1 also comes our first backlit keyboard. Using LED technology, the nomenclature eerily glows at two different brightness settings that are controlled by the user. Pressing the Fn key and space bar together makes it work. The space bar gives you a really nice dark-friendly target that can be executed with one hand if required. Light also spills out around the key edges to help define target boundaries. On-screen display icons for the three levels of keyboard backlighting The backlit illumination effect, however, is very different from our more traditional ThinkLight implementation. The ThinkLight creates an overall...

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The new ThinkPad tablet pays homage to the mother of all ThinkPads

The new ThinkPad tablet pays homage to the mother of all ThinkPads

The wait is over. Lenovo introduced our new Android based ThinkPad tablet this week taking the brand full circle. You can read the press release here. It's hard to believe that the first ThinkPad, introduced back in 1992, was a pen based tablet, but it was. The iconic ThinkPad 700c ushered in the familiar notebook form factor later. I once wrote a blog that goes deeper into the ThinkPad tablet history lesson for those who are curious. Nearly 20 years later, could our new ThinkPad tablet be the weapon of choice for business success? I think so. Rear view of the tablet shows the familiar ThinkPad logo Designing a tablet today might seem relatively simple. After all, it's basically a piece of glass with a few ports and buttons. Or is it? Having lived through the experience of designing this one, I can assure you that it is anything but simple. Every detail of the design was debated and evaluated in countless engineering and design studies. Even basic things, such as where the logo was to be located, was more complex on an object that can be used and held in any orientation. Which way is up? Which was is down? There was no way I was going to slap the ThinkPad logo dead center like most do. The ThinkPad brand is...

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