Lenovo Stays on Think Schedule

Lenovo, the world’s third-largest computer maker, is following the ThinkCentre series roadmap laid out by IBM .

On Thursday, the company announced its latest desktop models, the ThinkCentre M52 and ThinkCentre A52, the first in the line to employ dual-core processing for 64-bit computing.

The product announcement continues the product release schedule set out by IBM before Lenovo spent $1.25 billion to acquire its PC division earlier in May.

“Some people were concerned about the whole transition. Our message is that the roadmap hasn’t changed,” said Dilip Bhatia, program director for Lenovo’s worldwide ThinkCentre brand.

Bhatia, an IBM alumnus himself, said, “Nothing is changing. Your sales rep won’t change, service and support aren’t changing.”

The two new computers ship with Intel’s 945G chipset with Pentium 4 processor 600 sequence, Hyper-Threading capabilities, Intel high-definition audio and the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950.

The M52 and A52 will be equipped with ThinkVantage Technologies to let corporate administrators set up, secure and administer them. The Embedded Security Subsystem, a hardware-based technology that encrypts security information, was designed to meet the Trusted Computing Group’s Trusted Platform Module 1.2 standard. It will let admins automatically deploy security updates and patches.

Lenovo said the computers will meet the security requirements of Microsoft’s Longhorn operating system, expected to ship in December 2006.

In the second half of 2005, Lenovo plans to add Intel Active Management technology, a hardware-integrated tool to supply advanced management capabilities, such as remote access and inventory of ThinkCentre M52 desktops even if a system is powered down or the operating system is not responding.

Bhatia said Lenovo expects the dual-core machines to find early acceptance among consumers, gamers and heavy-duty workstation users. “Corporate customers will focus on single-core,” he said. “We expect most customers to wait until mid-2006, when you’ll start to see more and more enterprise customers going to dual core.”

Research firm IDC updated its PC sales projections in March, lowering growth in total worldwide PC shipments for 2005 from 10.1 percent to 9.7 percent. Total shipments are expected to reach 195.4 million in 2005, with total shipment value growing by 5.3 percent to $209 billion.

The ThinkCentre M52 and A52 are targeted at businesses, from small to enterprise size. Pricing has not been finalized, but Bhatia said the range was $700 to $800.

Earlier in the week, the company said it would establish a new Innovation Center in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Intel, IBM, LANDesk, Microsoft , and Symantec are founding partners in the center.

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