IBM X41T: June 14th; Webcast: Now
I'm bummed, no 'add to cart' link on their site today, June 14th will be the release date. There is a nice webcast though - running roughly 23 minutes. I've roughly transcribed the thing below. It's pretty interesting and you get the feeling that IBM/Lenovo knows what they're doing here. Waiting to make a tablet until now has allowed them to learn from mistakes others have made, and it looks like their first Tablet PC will be a home run. After a corny-sounding intro with some decent closeups of the tablet, Steve Ward, CEO of Lenovo, gives his speal on how they listen to their customers, and how great their TabletPC is, "It's the thinnest, lightest convertable TabletPC on the market."
The webcast takes a decidedly 'infomercial-esq' turn when Mike Hagerty takes the screen. He basically lists their marketing targets...boooring...
Finally he gets to the Tablet: 1.14" thick, 3.5lbs, and nearly 6.5 hours of battery life, 12.1" anti-glare/anti-reflective XGA screen with a 170 deg viewing angle, and their famous security sub-system. He holds the tablet in his hands, and it's friggin' tiny. It looks like it has a nice screen latch too. They were smart enough to put the fingerprint reader on the screen side, so you don't have to exit tablet mode to use biometrics - nice touch. The screen also has a bunch of dedicated buttons, most notibly a hotkey to bring up a menu for system-level functions like volume, screen brightness, security and sleep modes. It also seems to have a dedicated C-A-D key, very nice.
It also looks like they made it to be compatible with thier X4 dock, so those of you with X40s or X41s are in luck - no need to buy a new dock. He goes on to talk about some of their accessories like their Tablet Sleeve that seems to address all Eric's gripes with the Tecra's sleeve.
I'll skip over their customer testimonials, which seem pretty scripted and more of a general Tablet PC infomercial than IBM specific. They do touch on IBM's security measures, and one guy talks about how passwords and smart cards can be stolen, but "we certainly hope no one can steal your fingerprint." Obviously he didn't hear about this poor guy.
They then bring on a Microsoft employee who talks about the history of the Tablet PC edition of their OS. zzzzzzzz NEXT!
More scripted 'testimonial' infomercial stuff...you definitly get the feeling they're going after the medical community with this thing. Lots of talk about 'health care and life sciences', and how it will remove the barrier of a screen between you and your client. Which actually seems very true. I know this is one of the main reasons the form-factor is interesting to me - my producers hate it if I click away while I'm taking their ideas down.
Maybe I'm getting brainwashed, or maybe I was already a tablet convert - but they make a lot of compelling arguments. If you want to get your IT department to foot the bill for one of these very cool-looking tablets, you should definitly send them the link to this webcast.
And that's it. Not a whole lot of info past minute 8, so don't bother watching the whole thing unless you're really not sure about the tablet idea. The more I think about it, the more I believe it is well put together, and makes a good case for tablets in general. I definitly belive that IBM/Lenovo's entry to the tablet space will make a sizeable splash.
Now where's that credit card...