CES-Lenovo unveils 2-screen notebook, consumer PCs

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Jan 5, 2009 12:01am EST

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SAN FRANCISCO Jan 5 (Reuters) - Lenovo Group (0992.HK), seeking to set itself apart in a crowded field of laptop competitors, is releasing what the company says is the first dual-screen notebook computer.

It is one of several laptops that the world's No. 4 personal computer maker is debuting this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Although overall PC demand has been hurt by the global economic slowdown, notebooks have continued to show strength.

The ThinkPad W700ds has a main 17-inch LCD screen, along with a 10.6-inch screen that slides out to the right from behind. The second screen can be angled in by about 30 degrees.

Wes Williams, the ThinkPad's marketing manager, said business people have grown accustomed to the convenience of two screens at their work. The new ThinkPad will ensure that their work "isn't compromised when they go mobile."

However, the new laptop is neither light nor cheap. It weighs in at 11 pounds and will sell for $3,600.

China-based Lenovo, which bought IBM's PC business in 2005, held a PC market share of around 7.5 percent in the third quarter, according to research group data, trailing first-ranked Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N), then Dell DELL.O and Acer (2353.TW). Lenovo posted a 78 percent profit decline for the September quarter.

The company has been criticized for being slow to enter the consumer PC market, and Lenovo's electronics show offerings include several new products aimed at that segment, like the IdeaCentre A600 desktop, a new all-in-one PC with a bit of a twist.

The thin, sleek device features a high-definition, 21.5-inch frameless screen and a digital TV tuner. But the innovation here comes with the A600's remote control, which also functions as an air mouse for the PC, a controller for motion-controlled games, and a voice-over-IP handset. The A600 starts at $999, although the model with the special remote will cost more.

Lenovo will also expand its line of IdeaPad consumer notebooks, which it launched at CES last year. This time around it will debut the new Y-series.

The series includes three new models, including the Y650, a 16-inch notebook that the company says is the lightest and thinnest in its class at 1-inch thick and 5.6 pounds.

The Y650, which will start at around $1,200, will come equipped with a multi-touch touchpad and an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the screen's brightness.

Lenovo will also use CES to offer a refresh of its S10 netbook, which the company launched last August.

The low-cost, ultra-portable category is shaping up to be one of the hottest of 2009, and Lenovo will have to play catch up. According to DisplaySearch, the company ranked tenth in third-quarter netbook shipments. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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