Lenovo to push SSDs in more laptops

It's looking to meet growing consumer demand

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

The company introduced SSDs in four laptops launched on Monday, with more to come across its ThinkPad T-series laptops as products are refreshed, said Charles Sune, worldwide segment manager at Lenovo.

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

Lenovo first introduced solid-state 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 solid-state or a traditional hard drive. Lenovo will continue to offer hard drives as an option, even as it introduces more SSDs, a company spokeswoman said.

SSDs are seen by many as eventually replacing hard drives in PCs for primary storage, as they deliver performance and durability improvements. However, the price per gigabyte remains prohibitive compared with that of 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 such drives could help achieve that, King said.

Lenovo joins Dell Inc. as one of the major PC vendors looking to push solid-state storage through its business and consumer laptop lines. Dell on Monday said it is going to 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 Corp.'s Centrino 2 mobile platform allows a laptop to switch from using a separate graphics card when connected to a wall outlet 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% market share, according to market research firm IDC.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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