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Lenovo Intros IdeaPad Consumer Notebooks

Lenovo Intros IdeaPad Consumer Notebooks

China’s Lenovo might be best known for taking over IBM’s ThinkPad notebook line and ThinkCentre line of desktop computers, and the systems have continued to be popular with government, enterprise, and business users. But there’s no denying that notebook computers have gone mainstream with consumers, and now Lenovo wants a piece of that action. To that end, the company is introducing its new "Idea" brand, and is entreing the consumer PC market with three new IdeaPad notebook computers: the Y510, Y710, and U110.

"Our ThinkPad notebooks are well-known around the world as the best engineered computer for business—for quality, reliability and thoughtful design," said Lenovo senior VP and consumer business group president Liu Jun, in a statement. "We’re now bringing Lenovo’s expertise in design and engineering to consumers with our Idea-branded PCs."

The IdeaPad system sport sleek designs, screen sizes ranging from and 11.1-inch sub-notebook to a 17-inch widescreen system, and a specialized hinge that puts the screen a little further back from the keyboard for "optimal" viewing. All three notebooks feature Dolby Home Theater audio, but their most talked-about feature is sure to be new facial recognition technology dubbed "VeriFace." VeriFace enables users to use the notebooks’ embedded cameras to use their face as their password to log into Windows and selected applications. The system helps eliminate the need to remember password (or write them down on all-to-snoopable stickie-notes attached to your system) and prevent unauthorized users from gaining access through guessing at passwords.

The IdeaPad Y710 features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 17-inch 1,440 by 900-pixel widescreen display driven by a ATI Mobility Radeon HD2600 graphics controller with 256 MB of video memory. The system sports an optional secondary drive bay (boosting storage to a possible total of 500 GB) and comes with 2 GB of memory (expandable to 4 GB). The Y710 also sports a 1.3 megapixel camera, a choice of dual-layer DVD burner or Blu-ray reader, 100Base-T Ethernet, and 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi wireless networking. The system also sports nifty "halo lighting" around the hinge and logo areas, four speakers and one subwoofer, hidden touch-sensitive controller for multimedia functions, and a thin-bezeled "frameless" screen. The Y710 should be available in March at a starting price of $1,199.

The IdeaPad Y510 pffers a 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a 15.4-inch 1,280 by 800 widescreen display driven by an Intel GMA X3100 graphics controller with up to 256 MB of video memory. The system will be available with up to 250 MB of hard drive storage, 2 GB of RAM (expandable to 4 GB), a 1.3 megapixel camera, and a dual-layer DVD burner. The U510 should be will be available much sooner than its 17-inch counterpart: customers can set hands on the Y510 as soon as January 6 at prices starting at $799.

Lenovo is also promising the U110, a sub-notebook with an 11.1 inch display, an eye-catching textured red cover, and a total weight of just 2.3 pounds. Lenovo plans to offer the U110’s with optional solid-state drives in place of a traditional hard drives, and selected configurations will feature Lenovo’s airbag-like Active Protection System that parks the hard drive to protect data in the event the notebook takes a tumble. The U110 should be available in April, but Lenovo hasn’t yet revealed pricing information.

Lenovo plans to offer these systems via consumer channels, wth Tiger Direct, Comp USA (ahem), MicroCenter, Staples, and Office Depot listed as carrying the Y510, although consumers can also purchase directly from Lenovo.

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