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Lenovo's Z60t and Z60m
Customers aren't warming up to Lenovo's widescreen Titanium models

It looks as though Lenovo's "new look" ThinkPads are not going over too well with customers. According to Lenovo's CEO, Bill Amelio, customers just aren't warming up to the new widescreen titanium ThinkPad models. Things are going so badly, in fact, that Lenovo is on the verge of axing some models.

"We've had a lot of feedback. The CIOs (Chief Information Officers) that we deal with like to have this system the way it is, and by putting different colours or models in can create some angst," said Amelio. While the consumer space has seen a pretty overwhelming transition to widescreen displays and are more receptive to styling variety in product lineups, it looks as though Lenovo's corporate customers are a bit more apprehensive to such changes.

According to the Forbes report, any future radical changes to the ThinkPad line would likely be released under the Lenovo brand without the ThinkPad moniker. The company already markets entry-level notebooks here under the Lenovo umbrella.

Updated 6:06 PM EST

Julie Gottlieb of Lenovo has informed us that reports on the demise of the Z Series are greatly exaggerated:

Please note that any report that says Lenovo is abandoning new product introduced in the past year is wrong. We have always been - and remain - committed to working very closely with our customers to ensure we deliver compelling and useful ThinkPad products and features that meet their needs. As a result, all of our ThinkPad product and feature introductions have been extremely well received by our customers, including the introduction of both versions of the Z series widescreen ThinkPad, which was the first ThinkPad to integrate high speed EvDO wireless WAN for high performance wireless networking.

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vote black here!
By Worthalter on 4/18/2006 12:38:20 AM , Rating: 2

Lenovo released a titanium line because you didn't vote there.

RE: vote black here!
By Worthalter on 4/18/2006 12:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
CALL ME STUPID: This is the correct link:

RE: vote black here!
By UNCjigga on 4/18/2006 1:16:40 AM , Rating: 2
LOL @ how titanium is winning in every continent except Africa (go figure!)

RE: vote black here!
By peternelson on 4/18/2006 2:16:28 AM , Rating: 2

ROFL The "PERSUADATRON" on that page is really funny!

Anyway, you have to think who the Thinkpad is aimed at.

If it was MY business and MY money, I wouldn't be buying a thinkpad because I can get a more POWERFUL computer for CHEAPER elsewhere. If I wanted to spend that much money on a laptop I would buy TWO cheaper ones LOL. But the corporate employee justifies it as I need this for work and the budget appears. That is not to say a laptop half the price would not generate equal productivity gains.

Corporate IT departments like some relatively stable hardware that might remain the same for years on end which simplifies drives and image builds.

In any case for serious TECHNICAL use, not to mention futureproofing, I would say 64 bit capability is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than the case colour.

It seems the only 64 bit capable laptops are Turions, some full size AMD64 or Pentium 6xx in a "desktop replacement" laptop. When Merom comes out that will add to the mix, but the majority of laptops sold are outdated 32 bit only rubbish. That's the kind of issue Lenovo should be addressing. For me the size is not important because I tend to carry a lot anyway and find small keyboards restricting. Give me the power of a workstation with a bit of 3D in a laptop and I'll be happy.

RE: vote black here!
By goku on 4/18/2006 7:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
Until it falls apart because you decided to get an inspiron dell laptop.. With the screen fading/burning and the case flexing and breaking, there is a reason why people pay a premium for an IBM laptop or a Dell Latitude Series laptop..

RE: vote black here!
By peternelson on 4/18/2006 10:25:14 PM , Rating: 2

My IBM T20 thinkpad case developed cracks where the lid latch goes.

Eventually the laptop screen developed faults. Fortunately I had a docking station and external monitor so it didn't affect my office work too much. Shortly after I finished working with that company but I assume the screen got repaired. I think the Thinkpad alone (including imaging cost) was about £2000 charged to my corporate employer.

I have had a Toshiba laptop for a few years now and it hasn't developed problems.

Both laptops were in daily use. I'm just pointing out that spending the most on a machine does not necessarily make one more reliable.

The only really big hate of my Thinkpad was using the "nipple" mouse control so much so that I used an external mouse. I think IBM/Lenovo have since discovered touchpads.

RE: vote black here!
By Dfere on 4/18/2006 8:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
If it was your business, you WOULD be buying it, because it would be for your use. I have plenty of clients who buy two types of computers... 1 for their office and .. couugh... cough... home office, and then they give the one year old ones to family, and three year old ones to their workers.....

You also would be deducting your lexus, and your wife's hummer too....

RE: vote black here!
By peternelson on 4/18/2006 10:18:49 PM , Rating: 2

In the UK we commonly depreciate assets over four years.

Unless I am well funded with venture capital, or making massive profits, I might prefer to employ that money more effectively over a four year period.

You're right though for a big corporate with $$$$ tax lawyers, I'm sure that they can spend lots on laptops without really caring.

RE: vote black here!
By OvErHeAtInG on 4/22/2006 12:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
One has to consider total cost of ownership. If a laptop breaks after two years, it will cost more in the long haul than one which lasted for four. Replacing equipment can cost hours of IT time just moving a user's data. When equipment breaks it can cause loss in productivity. Not to mention that buying cheaper equipment more often produces more landfill waste and old computer junk.

A company I worked for used Comapaq Armadas for years, and then switched to Thinkpads. So having supported both of these as well as having used Dells and Toshibas, I have to say I'd pay a pretty heavy premium for the Thinkpad--even with my own after-tax money. I need something that can stand up to the daily abuse. I just hope their historical quality continues.

Geez, how anal.
By Xenoterranos on 4/17/2006 10:17:38 AM , Rating: 2
It's not like the screen makes it more difficult to maintain a standard drive image or anything. In my experience, a widescreen makes for more productive work anyway!

RE: Geez, how anal.
By jtesoro on 4/17/2006 10:25:28 AM , Rating: 2
If I understood it right, the issue was the color rather than them being in widescreen format. Even then though, I can't imagine that them being in titanium rather than black would "create some angst" in the IT department!

RE: Geez, how anal.
By jtesoro on 4/17/2006 10:32:11 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they can turn this into a great marketing opportunity. Buy a pack of 25 Thinkpads, get a can of black spray paint free! Buy a hundred, and you get free "IBM" stickers! :p

RE: Geez, how anal.
By Staples on 4/17/2006 1:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
Widescreen sucks. It is the craze for some reason and it is something counter productive and makes no sense. Glad to see that maybe, just maybe someone in the world besides me thinks that also.

RE: Geez, how anal.
By pixelslave on 4/17/2006 2:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
Here, here! I think the same way also. I do not think it's signigicantly counter productive, but in a standard office environment, it is -- because many people look at one fully maximized window at a time. When it's the case, one of the following may happen:

1) You get a lot of white spaces on the side when the document you are working with has a fixed portrait layout (most print documents are like that)

2) You get a very long line of text when the document you are working with has a fluid layout

With #1, you have to scroll more because a portrait display is shorter in height when comparing to a display with similar resolution.

With #2, it's harder to read.

RE: Geez, how anal.
By peternelson on 4/18/2006 1:45:00 AM , Rating: 1
"Honestly, widescreen is a must have feature for serious business use - imagine scrolling around large spreadsheets of financial data....."

What he really means is that he wants to watch DVD videos in the office and when he takes his work computer home on the train.

Movies in DVD format USE the widescreen to be quite close to a cinema aspect ratio. Who wants letterboxed movies on a 4x3. Then again CORPORATE BUYERS are not interested in that their staff can watch movies it is difficult to justify any financial benefit from that. They would rather the laptop was bad a movies so that the employee chose to do something more productive on the train like read their email or edit a Word document.

It's a case of keeping up with the Jones' and being seen to be fair. If one manager in a company gets a widescreen with DVD playing, then everyone wants one, and productivity goes down.

People who have traditionally bought Thinkpads do so for BUSINESS reasons. One of my employers supplied me an IBM thinkpad and it was a nice machine for the purpose provided - data processing for a large bank. In that culture they would take a very dim view of a serious business tool being used for trivial uses like entertainment.

Ditto once you give one person a shiny Titanium case, everyone wants one. With the "any colour you like as long as its black" this wasn't an issue before. Besides for hot desking you could have laptops that didn't match the docking stations provided. In some organisations you would not believe the paperwork to get something simple like an external monitor (argued on the grounds of Health and Safety of squinting at a little laptop screen 8 hours a day). And then your external monitor wouldn't match the titanium laptop, or the external mouse etc etc.

Lenovo really should talk to their customer base about which directions they want to develop the market to test reception BEFORE coming out with this stuff.

As for me, I think a widescreen for watching DVDs is cool, so I will definitely be trying the "all the more room to scroll Excel" line ;-)

In some jurisdictions, non business use of a business equipment is a TAXABLE benefit so some companies have strict policies. And if you allow DVDs where do you stop? Gaming, freeware, shareware, malware?

If you are the decision maker eg run an SME business, then you can choose widescreen, but the way these monolithic corporates work is they have an approved list from which you select or they buy hundreds or thousands of machines all very similar.

In a MINORITY of jobs (eg sales) it is USEFUL to use a computer to play video material. However, unlike movies, much such content is still 4:3 so that cannot be used to justify a movie playing PC for your work.

Another argument might be if you placed the laptop on its side you could call it an A4 PORTRAIT page-to-view display, by selecting 90 degree rotation in the display driver, and use an EXTERNAL usb keyboard to type on. But I don't think buyers are THAT stupid.

Nontaxable fringe benefits and pasty white images
By Dfere on 4/18/2006 8:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
Don't talk about taxes.. my head aches. It is the day after- and taxability of personal use would most likely be excluded as a deminimus nontaxable fringe benefit, like photocopying yer butt. It is a federal concept , which has nothing to do with state and local taxation, except that all state and local returns, when based on income, start by using federal taxable income, thereby inherently adopting such adjustments.

Leave the tax talk to the professionals.........

By peternelson on 4/18/2006 10:29:37 PM , Rating: 2

I have no knowledge of USA or state tax laws and said it VARIES DEPENDING ON JURISDICTION.

What I *DO* know is that the UK Inland Revenue and Customs if they are in the mood can tax you for all sorts of things.

eg One year they assessed the amount of TAX I owed to be several times my entire INCOME!

In the UK, home use of a laptop for home/personal use (like gaming, watching DVDs or personal correspondance and web surfing) is a benefit which is taxable.

There WAS an EXCEPTION scheme where the company could supply a computer where the employee paid for it monthly gradually and this got around the taxes. But except for noobs, the so-called "subsidised" systems available were more cost than internet or local pc shop prices so not good value. Anyway the government just scrapped that scheme now.

If you think that's trivial, I think there is still a UK tax for your mobile phone. If your employer provides a mobile phone which you use as your own mobile all the time, then that is deemed like they are handing you £200 every year. That's not for the calls (who pays, and if they paid your calls, that would be even more taxable), but for just having the phone (even incoming personal calls). The only way around THAT piece of brilliant tax legislation I think was the EMPLOYEE BUYS A PHONE. The employer pays the calls or provides a SIM card maybe??? Carrying two phones around all day is just nuts!

RE: Geez, how anal.
By ToeCutter on 4/18/2006 1:42:07 PM , Rating: 2
I think the article completely missed the point of the issue. Anyone working in IT knows exactly what the problem with the Z series is: Choice.

Let's say you order 25 units and they all arrive with black lids. You push down your images, add you apps and send 'emout to users. when it's time to place a second order, your rep explains "Well, I can ship 20 of these, but I only have titanium in stock for the other 5." So, the shipment is imaged and app'ed, and sent down to depts for the users. Only then does the bitching start: "Why do I have to have a black one, I want titanium" or "Why does Joe get titanium? Is it better than mine? I want titanium." Lather, rinse repeat, AD NAUSEUM.

It's not IT mgrs that give a rat's ass about the covers, it's the end-users! Not to mention "executive" end-users whose mighty egos require constant stroking and attention, much like toddler with the flu.

ThinkPads have been popular in the corporate setting for many reasons, but primarily because you they came in one color: Black. Until the Z series, end-users all thought they had the exact same notebook; a black ThinkPad. Now that Lenovo has added some bling, IT admins had better get used to some whining when they deploy the Z series.

Who'd have thought...
By Fnoob on 4/17/2006 3:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
the professional corporate world would be so vain? All this pissing and moaning over a color choice? Youd think it would be all about productivity, battery life, weight, etc.... but noooo, the silver somehow clashes with my Rolex?Besides, the having had several Thinkpads over the years, I'd never considered them fashion statements, more like bland black bricks I had to lug about. If you want a foo-foo laptop to lug around just to impress other people, then buy that Alienware or Ferrari branded model and sit out in front of Starbucks pretending to know how to use it...


RE: Who'd have thought...
By peternelson on 4/18/2006 1:59:40 AM , Rating: 2

Colour is very important to a product.

For example, BLUE is not a colour people associate with food, so you would find it very hard to sell food if you made it that colour food-colouring as opposed to more conventional food colours.

I actually quite like Titanium like the G5 Mac laptops but they have quite good build quality to go with it.

In the consumer market it helps to offer choice. Even as a famous close in sales "So madam, will you be taking the black one or the titanium one?" rather than "will you buy this computer or not?"

Unfortunately that is not the kind of choice the corporate market was looking for. They like choice but on different things like with or without extended on-site repair support, software maintainance policy, an extra large hard drive etc.

Yes in a way a laptop is a form of status symbol. So you could say MY company values their staff more by giving them more impressive laptops than YOUR company. It may even be a subconscious impression. But a movie-playing laptop might give the impression will these guys actually do any work on our project or be too busy watching movies to deliver?

For example a bank often wants to portray a stable, serious, "business" type image. If you work in the advertising, media or film industries, you might get away with a widescreen laptop looking professional.

RE: Who'd have thought...
By OvErHeAtInG on 4/22/2006 12:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who's worked in any sort of desktop support will tell you it is VERY important. When people see their colleague gets a different-looking piece of equipment, they start bitching to you that they want one too. It can become a big problem, it goes like, "why does Marge get a widescreen? I want a widescreen! You're playing favorites!"

Besides, the having had several Thinkpads over the years, I'd never considered them fashion statements, more like bland black bricks I had to lug about.

That's the point. You don't want it to become a fashion statement for so many reasons.

By plewis00 on 4/17/2006 10:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
How big a deal is this? The titanium colour is an option isn't it as opposed to forced. You can still go ThinkPad black if you want. Are the silver-lidded machines actually metal or titanium-composite (as was the case with IBM ThinkPads - i.e. the stiff plastic stuff)? I have to say whilst some changes are nice, the smooth edges of the new ThinkPads do seem to have lost the IBM flair.

I'm still using an IBM ThinkPad T41p and I don't think I'll change it for a T60/Z60 unless the price falls a lot and the design changes aren't quite so radical.

RE: Really?
By KorruptioN on 4/17/2006 11:05:06 AM , Rating: 2
Ditto, nobody is forcing them to like the titanium covers. I happen to like it a lot.

So much for creativity...
By stupid on 4/17/2006 3:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
If I were an IT professional in charge of the corporate rollout of laptops to employees, I suppose I could understand the apprehension of buying Thinkpads with a titanium lid. It could be seen as a totally different type of laptop that Tech Support would have a chance to screw up. I suppose appearences matters in the corporate world; who cares if it is radically different on the inside, as long as it looks like any typical ThinkPad laptop it would be fine. Having said that, I suppose having a choice between a titanium cladded ThinkPad with ultra secure networking capabilities, and low maintenance overhead would loose out to a traditional looking ThinkPad that is powered by a family of micro gerbils.

Since Lenovo doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds it, they will have to look for other ways to increase corporate sales that is not as technically challenging as a different color. It would be nice to see a such a product on the consumer level since it should help expand their customer base.

RE: So much for creativity...
By Fnoob on 4/17/2006 4:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
The gov't IT rollout guy will prolly be ordering these for all Pentagon staff and a few special Senators (who passed their budget request):

Z60m and Z60t Titanium
By ND40oz on 4/17/2006 6:41:53 PM , Rating: 3
I have both of these Z series models in titanium right now. Personally, I love them. Widescreen is the way to go because you can potition your windows like your working on two monitors. When you come from a two or more monitor desktop, you need that ability. I can't stand not having multiple monitors now (unless I'm gaming) and once you get used to a widescreen notebook, you won't want to go back. Besides the 1680x1050 resolution on the Z60m is great, how many other business class laptops have that resolution?

RE: Z60m and Z60t Titanium
By TomZ on 4/17/2006 9:03:47 PM , Rating: 1
I've had 1600x1200, 15" display on my ThinkPad A21p for almost 5 years now. I'm not much into "wide" screens, but I like high resolution screens. I still prefer to have the overall laptop a little smaller than the wide display models.

Brilliant marketing
By trainman on 4/17/2006 10:19:57 AM , Rating: 3
remember New Coke!!!

so sad
By lzqccgjxy on 4/17/2006 11:51:50 AM , Rating: 2
It is so sad that LENOVO has changed the spirit of Thinkpad.From now,I don't turst the Lenovo again

1/8th they way to MacBook clone.
By flydef on 4/17/2006 1:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
Looks a little cheap, like they were going to make it completely titanium, and then stopped. Hehe. Functionally it's great, but couldn't they have anodysed the titanium black? I mean make the entire thing silver titanium or anodyse it black.

sliver sucks
By juancferrer on 4/17/2006 2:02:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think the problem was that some of the more powerful models(ones with discreet graphics) were only available with the sliver crap on top

so sad
By lzqccgjxy on 4/17/06, Rating: 0
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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