Lenovo to push SSDs in more laptops

Business users seek a longer battery life, especially when traveling, and SSDs could help achieve that

Lenovo will start including SSDs (solid-state drives) as a storage option in more laptops to meet increasing user demand, a company official said.

The company introduced SSDs in four laptops launched Monday and more will be seen across its ThinkPad T-series laptops as products are refreshed, said Charles Sune, worldwide segment manager at Lenovo.

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The SSD laptops introduced Monday include the ultraportable Thinkpad X200 and the ThinkPad W500, T400, and T500. Lenovo is offering the 64GB capacity for now.

Lenovo first introduced SSD storage in the ThinkPad X300 laptop earlier this year. Its acceptance underscored the importance of the technology, Sune said.

The Thinkpad X300 offers SSD as the only storage option, while the ThinkPad X200 is offered with an SSD or a hard drive. Lenovo will continue to offer hard drives as an option as it introduces more SSDs, a company spokeswoman said.

Observers expect SSDs to eventually replace hard drives in PCs for primary storage, as they deliver performance and durability improvements. However, the price-per-gigabyte remains prohibitive compared to hard drives, slowing their adoption.

Lenovo's plans to expand the availability of SSDs advances ThinkPad's reputation as a signature business laptop line, said Charles King, principal analyst at research firm Pund-IT. Business users seek a longer battery life, especially when traveling, and SSDs could help achieve that, King said.

Lenovo joins Dell as one of the major PC vendors looking to push SSD storage through its business and consumer laptop lines. Dell on Monday said it was going make 128GB SSDs available on its Latitude laptop this week.

Lenovo also hopes to advance its laptops with improved multimedia capabilities and battery life, Sune said. Intel's Centrino 2 mobile platform allows a laptop to switch from using a separate graphics card while connected to the mains to using integrated graphics when running on a battery.

Switchable graphics are included in the new IdeaPad U330 ultrathin consumer laptop and the ThinkPad W500, T400, and T500 laptops, all of which were launched on Monday.

Lenovo hopes the inclusion of new software and hardware technologies in desktops and laptops will establish it as a "prestige" brand and put it in a better position to compete with Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Acer. Lenovo was fourth in worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of 2008, with a 6.9 percent market share, according to IDC.

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