Lenovo Australia certainly turned it on when it launched its new X300 “Kodachi” ultra-thin notebook PC for business users. The Japanese theme might seem a little odd coming from a Chinese PC company, but Lenovo is painting the new lightweight notebook as the ultimate weapon for the “boardroom warrior” as it seeks to grab more market share in Australia.
(Kodachi, code-name for the X300, is supposedly the name for the “lightest, most manoeuvrable and efficient” sword a samurai warrior could carry).
As part of this plan, Lenovo Australia has already launched its first consumer notebooks and desktops, to be sold through Domayne and Dick Smith Electronics retail stores with an ultra-light consumer model, the U110, to follow in April.
Now Lenovo is switching the focus back on the business sector where its ThinkPads are already solid, if not spectacular, sellers partly thanks to their IBM heritage. It wants to see the new models designed in the US and Japan, built in China sweep the market.
A major TV, print and online advertising campaign is being planned to promote the Lenovo brand, still little known to many Australians. The X300 will be prominently featured at the Beijing Olympics including the torch relay for which Lenovo is a major sponsor.
The X300, like Apple’s MacBook Air, is around 1.9 cm thick at the thinnest point, weighs around 1.3kg, has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 13.3-inch backlit screen. Both are being billed as the world’s thinnest and lightest notebook.
But Lenovo avoids comparisons with the Apple machine in its press material, preferring to compare it with lightweight models from Dell, Sony and Asus.
The X300 does have several things the Air lacks, including a slender built-in DVD burner, and a standard 64GB solid-state drive rather than a hard disk drive. Apple’s Air comes in two models: one with an 80GB hard drive at A$2499, the other with 64GB solid-state unit at $4338.
Leonovo’s Kodachi starts at $3999. It has an internal rollcage to withstand blows; a carbon-and-fibreglass upper casing; a 3G Vodafone modem; and a spill-proof keyboard. Battery life is 4.3 hours, which can be extended to six hours by adding a second battery, and up to 10 hours with a third replacing the DVD drive.
Journos attending last night’s launch at the NSW Art Gallery were sent home, not with an X300, but with a DVD copy of the Akira Kurosawa iconic movie The Seven Samurai precursor of John Sturge’s Magnificent Seven. Good fighting stuff for business warriors. David Frith