New ThinkPads Announced Today

Today is a momentous day for ThinkPad. Now that Intel has finally announced its Santa Rosa platform, we also announce the first of many ThinkPads carrying this technology: our 14.1" widescreen T61 and 14.1" widescreen R61. Additional ThinkPads will dribble out over the next few weeks. Admittedly, this has been one of the worst kept secrets in the industry as many of you all have known the basic specifications of our systems for a few weeks now. The difference is that now I can publicly comment. There is much more to this announcement from us than will show up on the spec sheets. Most of the early write ups and reviews for the industry announcements will concentrate on the basic configurations and focus on a hot new feature that may show up (such as BluRay or HDMI ports). They'll get their press, but I'm convinced that most of the industry will have ho-hum announcements since most of our competitors will be taking their existing form factors and adding Santa Rosa technology to them. That isn't exciting. Here's what is new on our ThinkPads that you WON'T find on the spec sheets:

  • Our R61 14.1" Widescreen (R61 14.1"W) is SIGNIFICANTLY improved. Yes, it is widescreen, but the real significance is that even side-by-side with the T series, it is virtually indistinguishable from the T61. It is now almost the same size and weight as the T.
  • We've changed the surface treatment of the R61 14.1"W to the same soft touch paint as the T. The R has been criticized as looking and feeling "plasticky." No more. (at least on the 14.1" wide)
  • Both the T61 and the R61 are our coolest running systems EVER. Santa Rosa, while faster, also puts out more heat no matter whose system it runs on. We've seen the total amount of heat generated by Santa Rosa vs. a Napa system increase by over 20%. We expect our competition to run hotter on your lap. In contrast, our ThinkPads will actually drop their average surface temperatures by several degrees.
  • At the same time, these will also be our quietest running systems EVER. We're not running the fan faster to remove more heat. We've redesigned it to be more silent than ever before. We've also added additional cooling vents on the bottom of the system to allow more airflow.
  • These are the most protected ThinkPads EVER. We've had a Roll Cage protecting the bottom of the system, but that only protected half of the notebook. We're adding a Roll Cage to the display on our T61s and our 14.1"W R61. This will serve multiple purposes. It will make our systems more impact resistant to pressure on the top of the display and more resistant to the airline seat pushing back on top of your display syndrome. It will also improve our wireless performance significantly. The neatest part is that adding the Display Roll Cage is essentially weight-neutral. Here's a composite photo of our T61 14.1" showing what the inside of a system looks like.
  • These are going to be the most secure ThinkPads ever. We'll introduce full data encrypting hard disk drives as an option. Also, we're adding the ability to turn off individual ports in BIOS so that IT has more control for locking down the system.
  • We're introducing Battery Stretch technology. The idea behind this is that there are times when your battery only shows 1:32 left, and you really need 2:05 to watch that movie. Battery Stretch will add additional capabilities onto our ThinkPad Power Manager to allow you to shut down individual subsystems that you are not using in order to get that extra battery boost you need. I'll be honest, you're not going to go from a battery that has 15 minutes left to suddenly having 3:05, but depending on how it's configured, you may be able to gain those extra few minutes of productivity (or movie watching).
  • These will be the best performing ThinkPads ever. We'll have Intel's Turbo Memory available as an option on some systems. This is flash memory located inside the system which will definitely help with performance and will also give you a few minutes extra battery life per charge. For now we won't be using hybrid hard disk drive technology. We're underwhelmed with the performance available currently with hybrid HDDs and didn't see any real performance boost.

Today was just a teaser post. I plan to cover many of these topics in more depth over the next few weeks. They're worth exploring in more detail. Looking at us and our competitors' announcements, please tell us what you think. Am I excited about nothing? Did our competition get something (or a lot) right that we didn't? What are we still doing wrong? Please keep comments to product offerings, design, and features. Please save the supply issues for this thread.