Lenovo unveiled a new set of computers and services aimed at business and enterprise users today… and the company also teased something that it’s not ready to launch yet.

October marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the first ThinkPad computer, and the company plans to offer a limited-edition ThinkPad laptop with “throwback” features from older laptop as well as modern specs and features found in more recent models.

That’s about all Lenovo is saying about the new model for now… but the company did show off a concept of what a ThinkPad of the future could look like:


The concept design includes a flexible display that gives you more screen real estate than you’d find on a laptop with a standard display. And since the screen can bend, you can still fold the notebook in half when it’s not in use.

Lenovo says the concept would use “advanced materials,” “new screen technologies,” and have “always connected” features, which could imply that it would be either powered by an ARM-based processor or next-gen Intel technologies.

It also support pen input and does not seem to have a physical touchpad, although there is a TrackPoint button in the middle of the keyboard.

I wouldn’t read too much into the concept at this point. There’s a practically zero chance that this is what the 25th edition ThinkPad will look like when it launches in October. And given the current state of flexible displays, I doubt we’d see a laptop like this hit the market in the next few years. But it’s always nice when a major PC maker shows us a pie-in-the-sky idea of what they think might be possible in the future.

via Laptop Mag/r/ThinkPad, and Lenovo (YouTube)


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13 replies on “Lenovo 25th anniversary ThinkPad coming this fall (won’t look like this)”

  1. Lenovo ran a number of surveys to ask users what they wanted to see in a “retro” Thinkpad. As a long time user, I participated in all of them.

    Not surprisingly, the biggest debates were over the screen size (4:3 or 16:10 vs today’s 16:9) and the keyboard layout (the old 7-row layout vs the present 6 rows). My preferences are for 16:10 and the old 7-row keyboard. I managed to snap up a 7-row external Thinkpad keyboard before they were discontinued and would have bought more if they hadn’t shot up to $200 or more. Using it to type this comment. It really is a fantastic keyboard.

    The last survey was almost 2 years ago, and ended with no promises, so I think people just assumed nothing would happen. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve come up with. Not quite ready for a new Thinkpad yet, but if it’s good enough, I might be tempted.

  2. I’m happy with my basic Lenovo Chromebook 13. For $200 it’s a good solid laptop. I like the fact it has a 13.3 inch screen without the ultra-high premium price tag of Ultrabooks, Macbooks or Surface. 11.6 inch screens are barely usable, and 14.1 inch screens are too bulky. 13.3 inches is the perfect size. It’s a good deal at $200, but there are better options at Lenovo’s suggested price of $395.

  3. It might get me stoned, but I really wish they’d put an optical trackpoint on a good laptop. I got really spoiled by the one on my thinkpad bluetooth keyboard and now I don’t want to use the stick anymore.

    1. Did it function just like a mouse flipped upside down? If so I don’t want that. With the stick I can push it in a direction and the cursor will keep moving in that direction until I stop pushing, can’t do that with an upside down mouse. One thing I’m liking from my phone is a capacitive keyboard, that’d let you scroll up and down by swiping across the keys. Might not be so good with chiclet though.

  4. It needs two track points, one for each index finger. That would be real progress.

    1. 10 trackpoints. One for each your fingers. Boom! I just blew your mind!

  5. Write on it? With what appears to be a graphite pencil? Um… Ok, but my current laptop already has that feature.

    As far as the rest of it goes, only the rolling and “always connected” features seem novel and not super vague. I’d probably only be interested in the connected part as well.

    1. “always connected” — what they mean is you will always need to be connected to a power outlet, as their is no room for a battery to drive that large, high resolution flexible screen!

      1. This is the future. When power will be harvested from the energy contributed by all the transmitters that surround us.

        1. The amount of energy harvestable from the air, even at theoretical maximums, wouldn’t be nearly enough at current device power consumption. There are a bunch of crowdfunding campaigns which have tried this, but they have serious flaws in them that contradict physics.

      2. Thanks for the downvote, I guess. As Brad said, it’s probably some new processor features. I’d imagine it a low power mode, somewhat like what your phone already does: receive emails even when sleeping.

        But like I said, most of that information is extremely vague. Maybe what they mean by “new screen technologies” is they do have some new tech in the works to make giant leaps in power savings, allowing longer battery life, but that’d be speculating.

    2. Lenovo has their “Anypen” technology though. I have it on my tablet, and a graphite pencil actually makes a perfectly reasonable stylus.

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