Lately I have been seeing some competitive machines in the 15" wide aspect ratio category adding a dedicated number pad. Not sure if they are doing this because they are trying to fill up the negative space, or if they think there is a true user benefit. Adding one increases cost, and adds some weight, but it also changes the typing experience. The dedicated pad moves the home row further to the left than normal, perhaps as much as 50mm. We included one on the W700 because our research indicated the target users of this type of machine like them. We also had plenty of room for it : )
Comparison of home row position relative to screen
I wrote a blog about our embeded number pad quite some time ago and even posted a poll on the topic. Seems like the time is right to ask similar questions about a dedicated number pad being added to 15" or larger ThinkPads. Take the poll and lets see where people stand on this. As always, thanks for the feedback.