The thing I wanted to ask most was, "Does the ideapad have ThinkPad blood running through its veins?"
When I started the interview by saying "Let's have a frank discussion, as if it won't be posted on the web," the response from the two Yamato developers was, "Well, there are lots things we're not at liberty to discuss on a blog. (laughing)"
"If you ask us if ThinkPad blood runs through the ideapad... well, I guess considering that there's no TrackPoint and it's not a black, angular box, it's difficult to tell from the outside."
"Both ideapad and ThinkPad aim to be the best for their intended users. But since the types of users are different, naturally the product concepts and their development processes are different."
"But as developers, our obsession over the fine details is no different than for ThinkPad."
So what kind of "obsessions" are shared between ideapad and ThinkPad?
"Both ideapad and ThinkPad endure the same strict level of quality testing that exceeds industry standards."
"Of course, battery safety and other fundamental parts are the same as for ThinkPad, and as always, we develop and test 24 hours a day, since we have teams in Japan, China, and the U.S."
"Actually, one of the authorities on batteries is here in Yamato, but even though he's not one of the ideapad project members, he "secretly" lends his expertise behind the scenes. Well, that's not entirely accurate. We consider him a full-fledged volunteer. (laughing)"
"Also, I don't think this has been spoken about in any of the other postings, but Yamato engineers have also had a hand in improving the boxes that our computers are packaged in."
"There are many other specialists here in Yamato, whom we have worked closely with in the past to develop ThinkPad, and because of their expertise and collaboration on this project, we were able to create the ideapad."
"It's true. Many of our peers lent their expertise. It's a product that Yamato is deeply involved with, so they gladly offered their support with the sense of duty of a Yamato engineer. That's my interpretation anyway. (laughing)"
Having worked on Lenovo's entry into the new netbook genre, tell us what new goals and hopes you have for the future.
“Personally, I think we took a step forward with this project. Now I want to develop the ThinkPad with the same sense of efficiency and speed. Of course, we'll keep ThinkPad quality just as it is today.”
“I want to create a cutting edge netbook that has the traditional essence of a ThinkPad.”
From now on, there should be plenty of opportunities for these two to use their ideapad and ThinkPad experience.
One of ThinkPad's motifs is the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey". The scene that shows apes encountering the monolith, gaining intelligence, and evolving all the way to the realization of spaceship technology in a single instance is famous. Maybe the ideapad is like that spaceship. Because both "idea" and "Think" relate to human intelligence.
"ThinkPad intelligence runs through the ideapad." Following the intent in their brand names, idea and Think will continue to be developed as products that support our customers' intellectual endeavors."