The ThinkPad Edge E431 Lenovo

LAS VEGAS--Sure, you've heard about touch. Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge, thankfully, adds at least one other wrinkle to its CES-debut update: OneLink, a cable system intended to reduce clutter and provide a single consolidated connection to external docks and devices.

That sounds a lot like Apple's Thunderbolt, and in a way it is: OneLink will work with the ThinkPad OneLink Dock, providing a one-cable connection to extra HDMI and audio ports and four extra USB ports. OneLink, Lenovo promises, will also charge laptop and mobile devices, although whether or not those devices will also need OneLink isn't clear. Data transfer speeds also haven't been specified, but Lenovo promises "superior lag-free graphics and audio performance."

OneLink will debut in the ThinkPad Edge E431 and E531 before heading to other Lenovo devices. It sounds like it could be a useful addition for ThinkPad docks, but it also smells like another proprietary cable system that the laptop industry probably doesn't need.

The ThinkPad Edge E431 and E531 are meant to be budget-friendly small-business laptops, with up to third-gen Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB hard drives, and optional Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics and touch screens. New five-button clickpads are optimized for Windows 8 gestures. At 4.7 and 5.5 pounds respectively and an inch thin, these 14- and 15.6-inch laptops aren't svelte, but they fit solidly into the mainstream. They'll be available in May, starting at around $539.