Vendor glitzes up laptops, unveils edge solutions at MWC
Hong Kong-based Lenovo is making its name heard across the technology spectrum – from traditional end points to the data center, and beyond. The company has unveiled a bevy of refreshed laptops and an AMD-powered Chromebook, and is taking the wraps off edge solutions at Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.
The Lowdown: In an effort to bring premium features to its lower-priced portables, Lenovo has beefed up some of its IdeaPads and ThinkPads. Its newly minted Chromebook 14e, which will feature a processor from AMD, is due out in March. Meanwhile, at MWC this week, the vendor’s Data Center Group (DCG) is set to announce an edge computing portfolio and expanded investments in IoT.
The Details: Lenovo’s updated IdeaPad S540, to be available in 14- and 15-inch versions, will feature an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor or the Ryzen 7 3700U from AMD, up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage, trimmed-down bezels, and a Webcam privacy guard. The IdeaPad S340 will get the same upgrades, along with carbon fiber and an aluminum finish.
As for the Lenovo ThinkPad, the smallest model – the X390 – will now have bezels that are 50 percent thinner than those of its predecessor, to accommodate a bigger display (13.3 inches vs. 13). Users will also get an 8th-gen Intel Core vPro i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 1TB of PCle SSD storage, and a privacy guard feature built into its IR camera. In addition, the device will have plenty of specialty ports and a battery life of nearly 18 hours.
Lenovo is also joining the fray of AMD-based Chromebooks with its 14e, targeted at “moderate” enterprise users. With its tapered blade design, the Chromebook 14e will look pricier than it is. Starting at $279 and slated for March availability, the device will come with an aluminum lid, backlit keyboard, a good mix of ports, and an optional FHD touch display.
Not to be outdone, Lenovo’s DCG has news of its own to share this week. The company will unveil the ThinkSystem SE350, a purpose-built edge server just slightly bigger than a ThinkPad. The new device puts increased processing power and storage closer to where data is generated, and includes encryption technology and support for both Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity.
Lenovo DCG is also investing in a number of partnerships that will allow it to offer pre-integrated and validated edge and IoT solutions.
• Intelligent cities: Lenovo is working with Pivot3 to support mission-critical smart city and safe campus deployments across multiple vertical markets.
• Future-ready retail stores: In partnership with Scale Computing, Lenovo reveals an infrastructure solution that will allow retail customers to deploy enterprise-class mini-data centers at the network edge.
• Simplified delivery infrastructures: Lenovo is teaming up with VMware on Project Dimension, aimed at simplifying IaaS delivery to on-premises locations, including those at the edge.
• Use case validation: Lenovo is partnering with select ISVs and Communication Service Providers (CoSPs), enabling them to roll out monetizable services such as Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and C-RAN.
• Hardware composability: Lenovo and Orange have established a Joint Innovation Partnership focused on hardware composability using Intel Rack Space Design (RSD). The focus of the research is on maximizing energy, performance, and cost efficiencies by pooling and abstracting hardware resources in edge deployment environments.
Background: Hardware – especially portable endpoints – may offer razor-thin margins these days, but that doesn’t mean vendors won’t keep raising the bar. Even as businesses continue their cloud migration, and as emerging technologies such as IoT and Big Data gain momentum, more powerful endpoints hold appeal to business users looking to do their jobs better and more efficiently.
In the Chromebook arena, we’ve recently seen the debut of AMD processors, with $300-and-up devices from HP and Acer featuring the chipmaker’s Stoney Ridge A4 and A6 offerings and aimed at both the education and budget retail sectors. Now Lenovo has thrown down the AMD gauntlet as well.
Meanwhile, Lenovo’s DCG has enjoyed five consecutive quarters of profitability growth, and the business has no intention of putting on the brakes just yet. In a press release announcing its edge unveilings at MWC, DCG said it aims to build a portfolio that “takes infrastructure to where the data is, whether that be in the traditional data center, in the cloud, or increasingly, at the edge.”
About 10 percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside traditional centralized data centers or the cloud. According to Gartner, that figure will reach 75 percent by 2022. The “edgeward” migration has resulted in heightened concerns about security, privacy, and regulations, as well as bandwidth, downtime, and latency. Lenovo intends to address those concerns with its broad portfolio of edge computing offerings.
The Buzz: “There’s tremendous opportunity to help customers realize the power that edge computing can bring to their organizations,” said Kirk Skaugen, executive vice president of Lenovo and president of Lenovo DCG. “We’ve made significant focused investments in our IoT and telco offerings over the past year with several strategic partners, enabling connectivity from edge to data center.”