IBM manufacturer laptop in 2019
THINK: The history of ThinkPads, from IBM to Lenovo
By the turn of the millennium, IBM was at the height of the business laptop era. While the 1990s brought innovation after innovation, evolution stagnated in the early 2000s. Although the naming scheme of the ThinkPads, which is still valid today, originates from this time, the lack of innovations and some questionable design decisions should lead IBM into rather troubled waters.
At the beginning of the millennium, however, there were still some successes to report. For example, the ThinkPad T series saw the light of day with the T20 in May 2000. Advertised as an uncompromisingly thin and light business laptop, the T20 contained Pentium III power in a compact housing. With the X20, the ThinkPad shrank even further in the same year, albeit at the expense of the CPU speed and brought further cuts. At the other end of the spectrum, power users could access the A20p, a real monster with 750 MHz Pentium III, an ATI Rage Mobility 128 with 16 MB VRAM and a large 15-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 1,400 x 1,050.
All three model series were consistently continued and further developed. The T-series has remained the egg-laying woolly milk pig among business notebooks to this day. The X series developed into the ultra-compact ThinkPad series for all those who were often on the move and the A series was touted and marketed as a desktop replacement. In the following year, the R-series, the ThinkPad R30, came onto the market, which embodied the affordable entry into the world of ThinkPads and is considered the predecessor of today's L-series. There were also a few exotic models, such as the ThinkPad S30, which is limited to the Asian market.
Year after year there were cosmetic and iterative upgrades of the individual series without any noteworthy innovations. Slowly but surely, the ThinkPads began to stagnate, which forced IBM to try out new ideas and concepts, all of which ultimately failed. Perhaps the most famous fail is the ThinkPad TransNote, a laptop integrated into a real notebook (aka notebook). The device consisted of a bound notebook with a full-fledged computer on one side and a paper notebook on the other. Ultimately, it failed because of its very specific and far too small niche market.
Unfortunately, IBM steadily lost ground and in the end could not turn things around. In 2004 the loss of the computer division was already one billion US dollars and IBM was forced to divest the division and sell it to Lenovo. In May 2005 the deal was perfect and Lenovo took over the helm.
And the start was explosive - the ThinkPad T60, released in January 2006, brought fresh momentum to the rigid and rigid ThinkPad universe. The transition from IBM to Lenovo went almost unnoticed, because the T60 retained many of the tried and tested ThinkPad design elements. Nevertheless, it was a real revolution in a completely different place, because it brought the world of the ThinkPad the great turning point in the computer world: multi-core processors.
The ThinkPad T60 was the first ThinkPad with Intel's Core Duo and Core 2 Duo. The famous magnesium cage - the ThinkPad quality feature par excellence - found its way into the T60, as did the first 3G modem and much more. To this day, the T60 is held in high esteem by enthusiasts and is considered by fans of the brand to be the last real ThinkPad due to its design, workmanship and quality and its 4: 3 display. There is a large and to this day very lively community that is dedicated to the T60 and the T60 is also one of the best supported devices in the Linux world.
Under Lenovo's leadership, the ThinkPad series should experience a second spring and once again become the dominant force in the business notebook market.
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