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Lenovo says businesses don't want slate devices

Lenovo's business customers say no to slates, indicating that the iPad may hit bumps in this market.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Lenovo refreshed its tablet-capable business laptop on Tuesday and made a very conscious decision not to bring out a slate device, saying customers don't want it.

ThinkPad X201
ThinkPad X201 Lenovo

Lenovo updated its x series tablet with a new x201 model that packs Intel's newest low-power Core i5 and i7 processors. In addition to the performance improvement that comes with the faster Core i series chips, the x201 also boasts better battery life over previous models, according to Mika Majapuro, senior worldwide product marketing manager at Lenovo.

Lenovo will stick with the tried-and-true Laptop-based convertible tablet designs and not bring out a slate device due to negative feedback from customers, an indication that Apple's iPad may face resistance at businesses. "We of course build plastic mock-ups that we show (to customers)...we had a slate form factor," Majapuro said. "The feedback was that for (our) customers it will not work because of the need to have (a physical) keyboard."

The most prominent example of a pure slate device is the Apple iPad, which has a virtual keyboard. Majapuro said the response from customers to slates was a surprise. "It was amazing to me. At first I didn't want to believe (our customers) but the keyboard was such a big need for them," he said.

Dual-screen ThinkPad W701ds
Dual-screen ThinkPad W701ds

Majapuro said Lenovo even got feedback from high school kids. "These were 14-year-old kids, who, I thought, would be most willing to try a virtual keyboard but they said no, we want the physical (built-in) keyboard."

Lenovo also announced 17-inch ThinkPad models, including the W701 and W701ds (dual screen) ThinkPad. These also come with new Intel Core i series processors.

Available in March, the X201 will start at $1,200, while the the W701 will start at $2,200.