Over on the Design Matters blog, an official Lenovo blog / website, David Hill, one of the members of the Lenovo ThinkPad team, has posted an article / commentary that has attracted a lot of attention and debate.
It concerns the recently announced ThinkPad SL series (of interest to us, the 13.3-inch ThinkPad SL300) and just where it fits in to the ThinkPad lineup. In the user comments, some of the criticism it has attracted from certain quarters (namely that it dilutes the ThinkPad line and brand or that it really has no place even having the ThinkPad name on it) has been brought up.
David addresses what the team wanted to do with the SL series:
We just announced a new ThinkPad line optimized for small business called the SL series. Quality, affordability, service and support are critical factors to small business notebook users, and Lenovoâ€™s ThinkPad SL series combines all of those. We designed the notebooks for the unique way these users work â€“ whether at home, the office, the park or a coffee shop. The notebooks also excel with their enhanced multimedia capabilities. Nice speakers, high quality microphones and an optional webcam provide excellent support for internet voice and video conferencing. The keyboard continues the quality tradition with the legendary ThinkPad feel. Last but not least, the stripes are back.
The SL designs also include a black mirror finish top not seen since we retired the S30 ultraportable. You may remember this one from 2001.
My personal view…I think the SL series probably has a place. As another team member, Mark Hopkins, points out – the SL series is going to have some unique features geared towards small businesses – see this Lenovo site for one example. Yes, it maybe missing things like a rollcage that other ThinkPads have, but it’s going to have some business oriented offerings that those ThinkPads don’t have.
If you want to see what it looks like (or at least the few images that have been released), we have some listed in our ThinkPad SL300 Photo Gallery.
Read: Design Matters (Lenovo)