The ThinkPad brand has been around for a long time; the first model was introduced by IBM way back in 1992 and its Lenovo offspring are still being produced to this day. And although technological advances over the past two decades have lead to ThinkPads that are lighter, much faster, and highly more cable than any model in the early 1990s could have ever imagined, there’s still a clear visual link between yesteryear and today with regards to design cues.
But more could be done to further strengthen the link to the past, and as a result, Lenovo is seriously toying with the idea of making a “unique” model that would incorporate some of the strong ThinkPad language that has been erased in recent years.
As Lenovo’s David Hill explains:
Imagine a blue enter key, 7 row classic keyboard, 16:10 aspect ratio screen, multi-color ThinkPad logo, dedicated volume controls, rubberized paint, exposed screws, lots of status LED’s, and more. Think of it like stepping into a time machine and landing in 1992, but armed with today’s technology. Although not for everyone, I’m certain there’s a group of people who would stand in line to purchase such a special ThinkPad model.
I think Hill is absolutely correct. ThinkPads have a loyal following both in the business and consumer sectors, and those that have an affinity for the “golden age” of ThinkPad design would definitely be appreciative of such a product. As as the previous owner of a Lenovo ThinkPad X300, just looking at the concept’s keyboard is giving me goosebumps.
And that is exactly what Lenovo is hoping to hit upon with this concept. “There has to be an emotional connection that is somehow rekindled with its rebirth,” Hill adds. “This design approach has worked for Ford’s Mustang, Dodge’s Challenger, Fiat’s 500 and the Mini Cooper; why not ThinkPad?”
But what are the chances that we’ll see a production model of this ThinkPad concept? There would have to be a lot of interest shown from the public and the bean counters would have to be satisfied. “Please remember actually bringing a retro inspired ThinkPad to market would require significant sales volumes to justify the development effort and tooling expense,” Hill explains. “I can’t promise anything at this point, it’s an idea.”
If you build it, they will come!