Last week, at a co-working space in Mumbai, Lenovo launched ThinkBook as its newest business range of laptops. Lenovo launched the ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 as sub-brand of Think range. The immediate thought for most would be how is ThinkBook different from ThinkPad, the torch bearer for business laptops? The world’s leading PC brand is positioning the new lineup as commercial devices for a modern workforce. According to Gartner and IDC, the traditional PC market grew despite issues in the supply chain. In its report, IDC notes that the commercial demand will only accelerate in the next few quarters.
“Commercial demand should accelerate as enterprises work through the remainder of their Windows 10 migration,” Linn Huang, research vice president, Devices & Displays, said in a research note. With Windows 7 reaching the end of service, PC makers are looking to capitalize on the market. Lenovo is not only the leader in traditional market, but is also the leader in commercial space. With ThinkBook, it wants to become a leader in the small and medium business segment as well. Ashish Sikka, Director – Channel and SMB, told BGR India that Lenovo has a 20 percent market share in the SMB retail segment.
Sikka explains that ThinkBook sits between the V-series and ThinkPad range in its business portfolio. The primary difference between ThinkBook and ThinkPad is the target market. The ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 are aimed at those customers who work from a co-working spaces like WeWork or Cowrks. It merges the design of Ideapad lineup with security features seen on the ThinkPad range. In short, Lenovo wants to sell the ThinkBook to millennials and Gen Z users who are seeking out consumer products.
“ThinkBook is for organizations who have been buying consumer products because of the need and desire of their work force by compromising on the security features and on the productivity and collaboration features which are available on business like notebooks,” Sikka explained. He also adds, “It’s a separate lineup of product where ThinkPad will continue as it is and ThinkBook will complete our portfolio of devices for the enterprise market.”
One of the big selling points of the ThinkBook lineup is its fast and secure boot mechanism. Most organizations struggle with system designs that take several minutes to boot and load all the background applications. It irks younger generation, who expect their computers to behave exactly like their smartphones. The ThinkBook powered by 10th generation Intel Core processors offer instant boot. “From a people’s perspective, it is very important because nobody wants to stare at a laptop screen for 30 seconds or one minute,” Sikka said. Security is paramount to an enterprise customer and Sikka says that by integrating a fingerprint sensor into the power button, Lenovo offers peace of mind to customers.
“ThinkBook is an investment towards SMB and we want to increase our market share,” Sikka said. He reveals 70 percent of the market is still dominated by desktop computers. But “the mobile workforce of today wants something more”. He further explains that the modern workforce wants a laptop that works both at home as well as at work. They don’t want separate system for different places. ThinkBook wants to be that one system that works regardless of situation. “Not many people have been able to come up with something that satisfies both the business as well as consumer in all of us.”
While ThinkBook will go on sale only from the first week of December, Sikka notes that ThinkPad continues to do well in the market. He says the ThinkPad X1 series, the halo product in its business portfolio, continues to do well and grow in the market. Lenovo is not giving away on future products. But Sikka did tell BGR India that it “will be able to show some cool features and cool products in a year from now”. Smartphones have replaced computers as primary computing devices. On the enterprise side, the demand for computers only seems to be growing.
With the workforce joining remotely or working from cafe, Lenovo sees a huge opportunity. It is also the first PC maker to offer dedicated product portfolio for a niche segment of consumers. Starting at Rs 30,990, the ThinkBooks are priced attractively for small enterprises. The big question would be whether ThinkBook can step out of the shadow cast by the ThinkPad lineup. That will be a challenge for both the product and the company. If enterprises buy into this idea then ThinkBooks will replace those black piece of slab we call office laptops.