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Lenovo readying MacBook Air competitor?

Lenovo's rumored X-series update looks poised to challenge the MacBook Air.

Is this the ThinkPad X300?
Well, hello there.

If you asked geeks which manufacturer would be the first to take a shot at the MacBook Air, Lenovo probably would not be at the top of the list. Yet a rumored update to the manufacturer's X series line of ultraportables could do just that.

Gizmodo is thanking Best Buy for spilling the beans on the ThinkPad X300, which will reportedly replace last year's ThinkPad X61s. The ThinkPad X300 is said to feature a 13.3-inch wide-screen LED-backlit display, full-size keyboard, and 64GB solid-state drive. (Sound familiar?) Even better, the laptop is expected to include an integrated optical drive, 3 USB ports, and an ExpressCard slot--plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WWAN, and possibly GPS and WiMax connections--in a case that weighs as little as 2.5 pounds. (Though its thickness supposedly tapers from 0.9 inch to 0.73 inch, which if you want to split hairs--literally--would make it thicker than the MacBook Air.) Of course, all that awesomeness would cost some dough: Best Buy lists a price of $2,744.

Frankly, this report doesn't seem all that unbelievable, given the recent news that Lenovo and Fujitsu are readying systems that take advantage of the small-form-factor CPU developed by Intel for the MacBook Air. It is about time for the X series to get a refresh, if only to switch to a wide-aspect display. It's just that, while I heart ThinkPads, I wouldn't have expected to be throwing the solid black box into the arena with a fetish-inducing Apple product.

Sadly, Best Buy didn't blab about the ThinkPad X300's release date, so this is all mere speculation. While we wait for the official announcement to come down (or not), tell me: could this rumored ThinkPad X300 beat the MacBook Air in hand-to-hand combat?