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Lenovo "Rips and Flips" the ThinkPad With New Convertible Helix Design

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,7 days | from the watch-movies-on-your-work-laptop dept.

Hardware 143

MojoKid writes "Convertible laptops and ultrabooks had a big presence this year with the release of Windows 8. At CES, Lenovo revealed its ThinkPad Helix which it marketed as having a 'groundbreaking "rip and flip" design' that enables this 11.6-inch ultrabook to transform into a powerful Windows 8 tablet with Intel vPro technology for the enterprise. The ThinkPad Helix lets you work in four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand, and tablet+. When attached to the Enhanced Keyboard Dock in laptop mode, you'll get additional battery life and additional ports as well as Lenovo's ThinkPad Precision keyboard, a five button trackpad that supports Windows 8 features, and a traditional ThinkPad TrackPoint. ... The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch Full HD 1080p IPS (In-Plane Switching) 10-point multi-touchscreen with pen touch input and Gorilla Glass for protection. Lenovo claims the ThinkPad Helix will run for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad tablet convertible doesn't have a ton of horsepower, but the machine will get by well enough handling light multimedia and office app use with relative ease." The "stand" mode is just the tablet part mounted away from the keyboard, tablet+ similarly just the tablet part folded over the dock giving it a longer battery life and more ports. It comes at a price though: ~$1800.

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143 comments

Ob Linux post (2)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356431)

Does it come in a Ubuntu flavor?

Re:Ob Linux post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356881)

Ubuntu ships with a Dash lens that sends your desktop searches off to Amazon. By default.

If I wanted spyware I'd just buy the Windows 8 tablet/Surface monstrosity and be done with it.

Re:Ob Linux post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356903)

If I wanted spyware I'd just buy the Windows 8 tablet/Surface monstrosity and be done with it.

meh, microsoft's dead in that area. most people that want a spyware-by-design device buy Android. I know it's unpopular to say and will get modded down here but when it comes to devices that send off your data to 3rd parties for analysis and profiling Google's are top of the list.

Re:Ob Linux post (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357483)

when it comes to devices that send off your data to 3rd parties for analysis and profiling Google's are top of the list.

Nope, not even close: https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-2013 [eff.org]

Your employer (Microsoft) handily beats them in the amount of your personal data they siphon off from their services and OS. Still, carry on with the Scroogling, I guess you need to earn your money somewhere.

Re: Ob Linux post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357547)

Its funny that you believe the link you posted.

Re: Ob Linux post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357609)

Ill expand on that, it's funny that anyone will rely on info about what companies do secretly. Really, come on, public stats about this type of info?

Re: Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357663)

In Soviet Russia, Microsoft shills accuse the EFF of being sly and deceptive.

Oh, wait....

Re: Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357711)

Oh wait what? There are so many ways you can go with that because, well, which bs are you for again?

Re: Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357737)

nobody is "shilling" for microsoft, nobody is saying they are any good, nobody is saying the arent worse than google. the problem is that whenever somebody says something bad about google their army of fanboys cant comprehend it and end up parsing all this non-existent text about how brilliant microsoft is that nobody even wrote.
in the end they justify their inability to stop towing the google company line by dismissing all criticism of google as a conspiracy by "microsoft shills". frankly it is pathetic that you can't have a rational discussion here about google because if you don't tow the company line you just get labelled a shill.

Re: Ob Linux post (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44359085)

True. At Microsoft, we are committed to earning your trust and addressing your privacy concerns. We do not collect, store or share web users’ information to identify, contact or locate them. Instead we provide them with relevant and engaging content that creates a win-win scenario for consumers and advertisers alike.

Re:Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357693)

Nope, not even close: https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-2013 [eff.org]

Even if you believe the stats that the companies tell you, who the fuck cares that microsoft is worse? I already said they are dead in that area but all your desperate microsoft hate and google love prevented you from parsing basic text you ignorant drone.

Your employer (Microsoft) handily beats them in the amount of your personal data they siphon off from their services and OS. Still, carry on with the Scroogling, I guess you need to earn your money somewhere.

Oh fuck off, you *know* cant objectively discuss this so you resort to that pathetic drivel. I said nothing about microsoft being any good, in fact they probably are worse, but who gives a fuck? They are irrelevant in that area, I already even said that but youre just trying to skew the discussion away from Google being evil by saying Microsoft is more evil. Willfully ignorant fanboy.

Re:Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358741)

That just shows which companies do what when the government wants access to their user's data. If it can be believed, Microsoft is doing just as well as Google according to that chart, but that isn't the point.

Google collects more user data than Microsoft for their own marketing purposes. In many ways, I care more about that than the government shit.

Re:Ob Linux post (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357451)

But with W8, you get the spyware, a really shitty interface, high purchase costs, high app/software costs, vendor with a long history of poor ethical standards, US etc government backdoors built into the OS and hardware, poor battery life and all sorts of Defective-by-Design DRM built in.

The only good thing about it is that the Surface hardware is so poorly designed that it's not likely to horrify you for too long.

Re: Ob Linux post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357747)

Yeah I know what you mean, android really bothers me with all those points you made. Do you think another os will be available one day where we can't say all that? I think imaginarios will be out soon.

Re:Ob Linux post (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357749)

And with Android you get shitty performance, virtually no upgrade path, a malware-ridden marketplace and a platform given away for no cost just so they can build a profile of you and sell it to other people. Screw them both, up your standards and move to an Apple product.

Nice slashvertisement (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356451)

I see it still comes with that shitty keyboard. Pass.

Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (5, Interesting)

rsborg (111459) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356453)

This sounded really cool about 10 years ago, but what real appeal does this have over laptop+tablet? What are the use cases where this kind of flexibility actually matters?

If I'm using a tablet I'm either on the road or at home - I never see a case for doing "tablet" style stuff at work. Considering "Thinkpad" is an enterprise brand, what need does this fill other than fulfilling Microsoft's desire to turn their Windows userbase into a tablet userbase?

I'll leave aside the fact that almost no one wants Windows8 for it's Metro interface (as witnessed by the Surface RT's spectacular sales failure).

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356711)

Having one device tends to be more convenient and often cheaper.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356767)

Having one device tends to be more convenient and often cheaper.

Not in this case - $1800 is more than a 11" macbook air + iPad (and those are the more expensive options for laptop+tablet).

Ding Ding Ding (4, Interesting)

deanklear (2529024) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357319)

The real winner in the device market will be the first vendor to offer a tablet that connects to a laptop through a true HD interface to become a second screen and input device. People don't want everything in one device... computer sales are down because everyone has one.

Give us a laptop -- we like keyboards. Give us an iPad like device -- something to lend to a visitor or a kid, or to haul on to the couch, or for casual gaming. When we plug one into the other, pop up the hard drives so we can move data back and forth, or even use the free space on the tablet as an extra bit of scratch space. Allow the tablet to become a Cintiq-like input device for the laptop, and make sure the laptop has an additional video out for a larger 4k-ish screen.

But with all of the non-Apple vendors stuck with whatever horrible idea Ballmer's team of dunces "imagineers," we'll probably end up with a lot of stupid and unusable convertibles like this Lenovo thing.

Recently I was forced to work with Windows Server 2012. And you know, I never thought I'd say this, but I miss the simple stupidity of the Microsoft Bob era in Redmond. At least Bill Gates was smart enough to not touch servers with such an infantile interface.

"Oh, the database connection seems to be down, and you need to check running processes? We've removed the Start Button to speed up the process. Simply tilt the device to the right, swipe left, and choose the Unhappy Face. Then cycle through the server managers and click the undulating cube [penny-arcade.com] -- the red one, not the chartreuse (duh). Then hope and pray we keep the same method in Smiley Server 2015."

Re:Ding Ding Ding (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357815)

The real winner in the device market will be the first vendor to offer a tablet that connects to a laptop through a true HD interface to become a second screen and input device.

The iPad can be this already, and Apple improves on this ability in iOS7/Maverick.

Re:Ding Ding Ding (1)

deanklear (2529024) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357963)

The user experience for any of these solutions is awful, even if you pick up a dedicated USB monitor. Here's a snip from the winner of the latest MakeUseOf roundup:

Video and general usage is very laggy, though subjectively didn't feel as bad as Mini-Display. You can even draw directly into Photoshop, smoothly but albeit with a noticeable second delay between touching and having the line appear

There are portable monitors like this one that offer an actual video connection [amazon.com] . Emulation will never work for serious usage or even watching youtube, and the existing iPad doesn't have a way to communicate other than USB or WiFi, so it's boned either way.

If Apple ever offers an iPad with a Thunderbolt connector, that's a different story.

Re:Ding Ding Ding (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358581)

For most people I don't think the iPad connection is useless - it does allow touch control of the system, and makes a great place to dump auxiliary content you want to see - like documentation, or an email you are referring to.

About the only things I think you can't use the iPad as a second monitor for are drawing and games. But for drawing you can just run one of the dedicated iPad drawing apps for full speed. I even had a Cintiq briefly but I sent it back when I realized for me, the iPad was more practical (that will obviously not be the case for everyone!).

Re:Ding Ding Ding (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358763)

I'd love to have Cintiq like functionality on a plugged in tablet. Unfortunately, most tablets aren't designed to be graphics tablets and come only with a crappy capacitive touch screen. Off the top of my head, Surface Pro is the only one I know of with an active digitiser.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358753)

But it's still a better value. You can't run anything on Mac OS.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356781)

Both at my current job and my previous job, we have a number of people who are semi-mobile. They spend part of their time at their designated office, part of their time at designated assigned locations and a bit of time walking between various floors or facilities. Being able to convert between a laptop for their office and a tablet for when moving about would be quite handy.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (2)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357157)

I went from a laptop + tablet to just a Helix. I like it. Web browsing is just so much nicer on a real PC in tablet mode than on either iPad or Android. I can access all of my docs in tablet mode. For reading, this makes sense for pretty much all of them, even using desktop apps. For some, editing in tablet mode makes sense, again using desktop apps. And I can pop it into the keyboard in a second if I need to do serious editing. It's more convenient to carry just the one item around, and I don't have to shuffle files around. And I have enough storage to get serious work done even when I don't have access to cloud storage. I never have to wish I'd copied a file to my tablet before leaving.

I wish the tablet mode were even lighter and thinner. I wish the battery lasted longer, although it's never run out on me. But it works as is, and I expect them to get better in the next year or two.

I don't use Modern UI except for a very few settings tasks. Until Modern UI Firefox comes out, I probably won't use it for anything substantive. I added a start menu that lets me boot to desktop. And Windows 8 desktop has some nice improvements over Windows 7. Win 8.1 promises even more, including different scaling factors for the device display and my desktop monitor. It ain't perfect. But neither are android and ios. For *me*, this works better.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357197)

Lets see, your away at a conference or training or something for a week. You want to carry a tablet around with you to these classes sessions or whatever and have a full laptop when you get back to you room. This is better than having a tablet and a laptop because you do not have to carry 2 devices.
I really will never get people who need these things spelled out for them. I mean why have a tablet at all when a laptop can be balanced in one hand to. And why have a laptop i mean how far away from an outlet can you really be, just bring a whole desktop on your back.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (2)

MindStalker (22827) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357279)

The Surface Pro is doing pretty well. RT is a flop because it can't run X86 programs, and it doesn't have the walcom tablet screen

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357461)

I would want one of those (I own the surface pro). Frequently I want flexibility. I need the tablet to be able to act as a mediocre laptop sometimes. Tablets are just too computer dependent too much of the time. The Helix is more than a mediocre laptop but it is $2k.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358083)

I would want one of those (I own the surface pro). Frequently I want flexibility. I need the tablet to be able to act as a mediocre laptop sometimes. Tablets are just too computer dependent too much of the time. The Helix is more than a mediocre laptop but it is $2k.

Well, you could get an Asus Transformer, although it doesn't run Windows 8. Then again, it is $1,500 cheaper than the Helix.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358475)

People who want the flexibility of a tablet but need the performance (x86/x64/Windowness) of a real computer to get real work done in the dull boring Windows based environments with crappy LOB/ERP software we have to use.

Re:Is there really a market for tablet-laptop (3, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | 1 year,6 days | (#44359753)

The reason we're looking at this device at my business: saving on software licensing.

Yes, you can buy at T-series notebook and a tablet for about the same money, but you're buying two licenses of each software title now. Also, this device still checks all the boxes we were using X-series tablets for previously - namely signature capture with a stylus.

Oh, and they have Windows 7 support, so we don't even have to train our users on Windows 8 until Microsoft relents and gives us a sensible UI.

sarcastic reception (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356465)

Ok, so if I take this, and then flip a coin between a desktop linux and Android for x86 platforms, I will end up with a tablet that might actually be useful?

Because seriously-- didn't microsoft learn its lesson yet about ambiguating the desktop and tablet market spaces with its metrosexual user interface? Are they *still* trying to blur that line? /half trolling

Re:sarcastic reception (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356673)

... the desktop and tablet market spaces....

Hi! I'm a MBA. The use of "market spaces" and "consumers spaces" and "table spaces" and [insert market here] spaces even annoys the piss out of me.

As far as Microsoft is concerned - I couldn't agree more.

BUT - I said the same thing about Apple in 1997.

Just say'in.....

Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (5, Informative)

martiniturbide (1203660) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356467)

I had been fighting with Lenovo for the last 100 days to unlock the bootloader of the Thinkpad Tablet 1.

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-slate-tablets/Thinkpad-Tablet-1-Errors-on-Recovery-Menu/td-p/1055573 [lenovo.com]

The devices is prone to brick if the software (recovery menu) gets corrupted. And can not be recovered since Lenovo has the bootloader locked. The solution that Lenovo gives you is to replace the mainboard for a software error.

Lenovo Quality team told me that they can not release the bootloader keys because the Thinkpad Tablet has DRM software included.

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356501)

How utterly shit-tastic!

"Oh noes! It has the DRM in it, and if you try to *DELETE* the preinstalled software, it somehow means you might try to COPY it illegally if we give you the boot loader password! Nevermind how incredibly dumb that sounds!"

Really, can't they compromise a teensy bit and digitally sign a FOSS bootloader replacement, if they can't just release the signing key?

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (5, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356573)

I'm writing this post on my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch ultrabook. The design is super cool. The company, Lenovo, sucks green greasy double jointed donkey dicks (I think that's how we insulted each other when I was 9). This is my third X1 Carbon Touch. I ordered it because I needed a touch screen Windows 8 machine with a SSD in January. That was the single biggest waste of my time related to any purchase in my life, other than having to refinance a house. The first Lenovo machine died the second day I had it. Of course, we had their best support and warranty, since we can't afford to sit on our hands for days while hardware gets fixed. So... 10 weeks later I got a replacement machine! It was dead on arrival, however. PC Connections saved my bacon and found a somewhat working PoS Lenovo X1 Carbon touch and got it to me, and that's what I'm still using. The wifi has to be reset about every two hours, and it does not come out of hibernation properly sometimes, so it feels a lot like running Linux, rather than Windows. I didn't think it was possible for a company to piss me off more than Dell has, but I was wrong.

Re: Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357099)

Wow. I'm surprised. We've purchased several thousand of the non-touch model for field deployment. They have been pretty reliable so far (two months and counting...very few DOA and not more than the previous T series models. My biggest gripe is the 2 USB ports are on opposite sides: bus powered devices often require two USB powered ports, and the adapter cables they come with assume they will be closely located. The features and form factor are great for most of our users, but some need portable external devices (HDD or DVD). How this passed muster I have no idea.

Re: Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,7 days | (#44359093)

You're buying the right way. Wait until a model has proven it is reliable, and then buy more than you need. If one fails, you replace it immediately, and no one minds if it takes a couple of months to get a repair. If you're lucky, and parts are in stock in Atlanta, you can get depot service that is decent. If you have to wait for Lenovo to acquire parts in China, just put the machine in a corner and forget about it for a few weeks. When I was in charge of laptop purchasing decisions for a small team of programmers, I would buy everyone a new machine at the same time, typically top of the line Inspirons from Dell, and I'd buy an extra laptop instead of extended warranties. I saved a ton of money and never had to deal with less than worthless "support" from their Indian call center.

The company I work at now still believes in good old fashion customer service, both to our customers and from our providers, so when they ran into the same crap from Dell's Indian support center that I did, the company banned all future purchases from Dell. HP has been pretty bad, but they haven't seriously pissed us off. It's pretty sad when the best company we can buy from has as their main selling point: "We suck less."

To be fair, it was Dell's consumer line support that pissed me off. Same thing at the next company I worked for. I think Dell's consumer line support has ruined the whole company, and the consumer side may drag the business side down with it. Lenovo has no such excuse for their ThinkPad line.

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (3, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357537)

So... 10 weeks later I got a replacement machine!

Lenovo ships every spare part by boat from China. This is a joke for machines such as Thinkpads which are meant for businesses.

It boggles the mind that their Chinese based operations can be so stupid as not to realize the damage they do to their brand every time this happens.

My last thinkpad was needed repairs just a few months after the two year warranty expired, then a year later one day it just died. That was my third thinkpad and the last one I ever buy.

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358477)

There's a pretty big presence on the Bay of E selling Lenovo parts shipped from apparent residential addresses in Taiwan. I got a new display cable for my Lenovo laptop for about $15 shipped and got it in a few days. Then I proceeded to remove thousands of screws, clips, and dust bunnies while keeping one toe against a water pipe while humming 'ESD go away". The repair held even though half the cables in the thing are too short and most of the screw threads were stripped out or broken off before I pulled it apart.

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357669)

IBM sold it to china. It is exactly as one would expect.

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357115)

Lenovo Quality team told me that they can not release the bootloader keys because the Thinkpad Tablet has DRM software included.

Frankly that sounds reasonable to me. According to that forum post, they are offering you a replacement motherboard, wouldn't that be enough to restore the original functionality of the device?

Re:Lenovo, please unlock the bootloader (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357391)

And you have to pay shipping both ways, be without your $1800 computer for up to 3 months, and they probably wont even send your computer back to you, often they just take yours in and ship out someone elses refurbished unit.

Crap Mac-like keyboard, though (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356471)

Unfortunately, the last thinkpad with a keyboard worth using was the X220. The newer keyboards are okay... but only if you never used a proper thinkpad keyboard in the first place. If you're spoiled with stuff that's actually good instead of cheap to manufacture right now because its what every other crap laptop uses (with minor improvements so that it is not too shitty), well...

thinkpads are dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356477)

rip in peace

beautiful hardware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356483)

one problem... its still got windows 8 on it.

and.. 4gb ram? seriously? and where's the high-capacity spinny hdd in the keyboard/base unit?

Lenovo, stop destroying the ThinkPad Brand! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356505)

ThinkPad brand means something to me. It means something to everyone who's ever owned an IBM product bearing the name.

Lenovo, what the fuck are you doing. Seriously.

I'm typing this on a ThinkPad W520, which might be the last ever ThinkPad in the IBM style. W530 they fucked up the keyboard.

They say all good things must come to and end...

Re:Lenovo, stop destroying the ThinkPad Brand! (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357373)

I used to have ThinkPads, given to me by my employers. Now, for my personal use as I no longer have a work-issued laptop, I've ended up getting a Dell Latitude E6400 on Ebay, and I really like it. The keyboard is quite good for a notebook, and just as good as the T-series Thinkpad I used to have. The design is much more attractive, and it even uses real metal for much of the exterior, rather than plastic.

Unfortunately, your last line is correct: the successor to this, the E6410, was just as good (really only a slight update to use the Core i5/i7 CPUs instead of the Core2Duos), but after that they went to the E6420 and E6430, and they're shit. The E6420 changed to a crappy rounded shape, is much uglier, and there's a horrific looking orange trim ring around the keyboard for some insane reason. It looks ridiculous. The E6430 changed the butt-ugly orange ring to gray, but otherwise is pretty much identical, and still butt-ugly. Worse, these switched to the shitty wide-aspect-ratio screens, so you lose vertical pixels with these new "improved" models, as compared to the old ones (no, you don't get more horizontal pixels either); the whole change was really a cost-cutting move along with a move to "update" the aesthetics to make them ugly like everything else in the consumer space has become these days.

So if you want my recommendation, get a E6400 or E6410 (or their 15-inch brothers the E6500/E6510) on Ebay off-lease. They're dirt cheap, and there's tons of cheap parts available from vendors on there. Just be sure to get the higher-res screens, and unless the screen res isn't important to you, don't get anything from the official Dell refurbished seller on there ("delldirect" or something like that), because they never list the screen res. Avoid the newest models, though this seems to go for everything these days.

$1800 !!!!! (3, Informative)

multiben (1916126) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356561)

Good luck with that.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356657)

The era of cheap netbooks is over and this Ultrabook + Windows 8 trend has brought plethora of very expensive devices to the market. :/

Re:$1800 !!!!! (1)

rsborg (111459) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356783)

The era of cheap netbooks is over and this Ultrabook + Windows 8 trend has brought plethora of very expensive devices to the market. :/

It's almost like the original tablet PC never died - except there's no digitizer or stylus this time around, but we're expected to pay the same premium.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357183)

Mine has a digitizer+stylus.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (2)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356809)

I saw an ad for a new 15 inch laptop at $239 the other day. I think that is why the cheap netbook is dead.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358479)

YES! Lets all use a laptop the size of a personal flotation device, preferably with the same resolution as a crappy 720p television, or a 10.1" netbook.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44359029)

I'm using my EEE PC 901 for writing books in cafés. With a special extension battery I once bought directly from Hong Kong its battery still lasts more than 6 hours (used to be around 9). And, of course, it does not have a glare screen, which would be unusable in broad dailight. What cheap laptop has this kind of specs?

I'd need a netbook with pixelq screen, though, but only one company creates them - manually and they are too expensive for me. :(

Re: $1800 !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357357)

don't worry. it will pass.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,7 days | (#44359161)

The era of cheap netbooks is over and this Ultrabook + Windows 8 trend has brought plethora of very expensive devices to the market. :/

While my $1,900 crappy ThinkPad Carbon X1 Touch is a sore dissapointment, mostly due to Lenovo "support", I picked up a cheap 11" laptop for my son at Best Buy and have been pretty happy with it. It's a Asus touch ultrabook for $450. It's easily the nicest laptop I've used in this price category. I think we'll see lot's of reasonably priced touch ultrabooks soon.

Re:$1800 !!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357181)

ThinkPad for $1800 .. no ... DRM included.. no no .. Win 8 ... no no fuck no.. What are they smoking ? Must be really good shit!

Disable Advertising (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356611)

I could have sworn I had advertising disabled.

Re:Disable Advertising (1, Offtopic)

Hadlock (143607) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356785)

Agreed, this is obnoxious, they're averaging 1-2 a day now, and if you call them out on it your post gets mysteriously down-modded. I don't even think this is the haswell model.

Re:Disable Advertising (1, Offtopic)

multiben (1916126) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357713)

Mod-parent down. I won't hear bad things about /.

How innovative! (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356633)

That's just like the X41 tablet. You know, the one IBM released in 2005.

Shame you can no longer build a ThinkPad worthy of the name, eh Lenovo?

Re:How innovative! (1)

Misagon (1135) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358963)

The X41 had only a swiveling screen, pen and a couple of physical buttons on top. It did not come apart into two parts.

The two laptops serve different users. You could say that the X41 is primarily a laptop and a tablet secondarily, while the Helix is primarily a tablet and a laptop secondarily.
The tablet is easier to carry, and might therefore be preferable if you are going away/travelling and you don't think that you will be typing much. The X41 is when you do mostly traditional computing and you need tablet functionality only sparingly.

The X41 had a dock also, for desktop use. I would like to see a (vertical) desktop dock for the Helix tablet so that I can use it with a desktop screen and keyboard, and without having to connect the keyboard part first.

Wrong approach .. again :( (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356635)

Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad tablet convertible doesn't have a ton of horsepower, but the machine will get by well enough handling light multimedia and office app use with relative ease

I'd love to replace my current thinkpad with a unit that doesn't require a mouse. Unfortunately, laptop manufacturers keep the word 'tablet' synonymous with the word 'toy'. As long as getting rid of the mouse is a pipedream, tablets will continue to be a toy. If people want to play tablets and have ridiculous battery life, there's already a perfect platform for that.

What lenovo needs to build is a grunty cost effective business laptop replacement that doesn't require a mouse.

Re:Wrong approach .. again :( (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356759)

I'd love to replace my current thinkpad with a unit that doesn't require a mouse. Unfortunately, laptop manufacturers keep the word 'tablet' synonymous with the word 'toy'..

That's because a touchscreen is pretty much a toy. I have them on my pad and smartphone. Toylike. Toyish. Fingerprint marks all over. Handy to click on links. Awesome for Solitaire.

Enlarging a spreadsheet cell? Not so much. And touching the screen on a light laptop, makes it kind of wobbly unless theere is a bit of mass to the thing.

Re:Wrong approach .. again :( (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,7 days | (#44359195)

All the software has to be rewritten to take advantage of touch. I feel kind of dirty, but I actually switched to Internet Explorer on my touch ultrabook, because pinch and zoom works so well. It's weird, because scrolling with my mouse wheel will be all laggy sometimes, but if I use my fingers on the screen, it's instant and butter smooth. My eyesight isn't that good, so maybe it's of more use to me than it would be to you, but I never want another laptop without a touch screen. Once all the software uses it, I think you'll like it. Zooming in on that spreadsheet cell will be butter smooth with touch at some point. Even things like drawing schematics will use it. It's pretty awesome when the software is written to use it.

Dozens injured in stampede. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356653)

Huh huh huh to buy a crappy Windooze 8 laptop for $1,800.00 American dollars --- yeah right! Idiot Lenoovo morans!

And yet they still... (1)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | 1 year,7 days | (#44356675)

...put the fn key where the ctrl key goes.

Re:And yet they still... (1)

YoopDaDum (1998474) | 1 year,7 days | (#44359103)

Fortunately you can swap them in the BIOS and restore sanity.

Re:And yet they still... (1)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,7 days | (#44359205)

Yeah... I've had this PoS X1 Carbon Touch for a couple of months now, and I still have to think about it carefully to hit the control key. If the machine actually worked properly, and if Lenovo support was better than worthless, my next biggest complaint with it would be the control key placement. In theory my fingers will eventually adapt...

Oh yay vpro (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44356899)

Vpro the thing with the hardware VNC server built in, can watch your screen, read your ram, and upload it through the cell network.

Privacy is illegal because actually different societies are illegal.

Re:Oh yay vpro (1)

couchslug (175151) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357205)

"Privacy is illegal because actually different societies are illegal."

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

$1800? $1800! $1800 WTF (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357097)

Can someone please buy Wintel a clue. Far too late in the day, you say? Yeah, I guess you are right.

The current near cheapest ARM SoC parts from China (Allwinner, Rockchip, Mediatek) can give you FOUR CPU cores, and a GPU engine that can thump out fast 2D to any tablet resolution. When they are placed in the biggest of tablets, the only thing that should inflate the price (since a bigger tablet has more room for everything beneath the display) is the cost of the bigger display itself.

11.6" means we are talking 300-400 dollars. Sure, the ARM tab won't run Windows XP or Windows 7 (let's try hard to ignore the other versions), but that's an issue of software only. Where the hell does the other $1400 come from?

Look, I know what the Wintel infrastructure costs. High-end Intel parts cost a fortune (no-one gouges like Intel) and Microsoft wants a massive cut as well (except Microsoft), but going into the future, how the hell is crap like this supposed to compete with ARM devices. This Thinkpad even has a low resolution screen for its size compared to the better ARM devices.

When Google finally releases Android for desktops (ie., Google stands behind a standard shell/UI for desktop mode) where the hell do you think Wintel will be. Even now, cloud services should be at no disadvantage on ARM tablets. And Android for desktop will have a decent free office suite days after its release.

I love my desktop PC. I love the vast world of x86 software that runs on it. But Wintel deserves to vanish from history. The traditional PC companies have done NOTHING to meet the emergence of ARM even half way. ARM, despite its ancient heritage, is actually a delightful breath of fresh air. In the UK, the portable PC market has lost comprehensively to ARM tablets when it comes to female users. But then, outside the USA, notebooks were always horribly over-priced.

It gets worse. Devices like the Thinkpad have horrible weak graphics for AAA PC gaming. They are better at casual gaming, but far more casual software is released for Apple and Android. So, the Thinkpad can do Windows, but this matters less for more and more potential customers. Why do you think this insanely expensive device tries so hard to pass itself off as a tablet?

 

Re:$1800? $1800! $1800 WTF (2)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | 1 year,6 days | (#44359461)

Android for desktops

That phrase stopped me cold. Seriously... Google could pull it off, which means they're probably secretly working on it. If they can go from zero to a million apps in a few years for phones, they should be able to replace the whole Windows ecosystem in short order. They tried this Chromebook nonsense, which IMO is a joke, because who develops apps for Chrome? What they need is a seriously awesome MacBook Air competitor. A Nexus Ultra? As we've seen many times now, innovation is not forthcoming from hardware vendors, so Google will have to once again build and sell their own laptop at first, just like they do with the other Nexus devices. Well... really just spec and brand - literally forcing innovation down some hardware vendor's throat.

If a smoking hot Android for Desktop Nexus Ultra touch laptop arrived capable of nothing more than providing a superior development platform for Android apps, they'd win. There are probably more Android developers now than Windows, but we all develop Android apps on Windows or Linux, and it sucks. The most important people to win over are the developers, and Google could do it. If they get developers on board, users will follow.

Just daydreaming here... specs I'd like to see in a Nexus Ultra:

- Tegra 4 or better quad-core ARM with smoking graphics
- 64 gig of high speed flash or SSD, upgradable to more
- 4 gig or more RAM
- Only a low res user facing camera, but the best mic they can build
- 13" or 14" high res and contrast touch screen. This would be for real work, and smaller screens than this suck for real work.
- Thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air
- Detachable screen usable as a monstrously over sized tablet, simply because it would be cool.
- $1,000 or less. If they could do $500, I think they'd hit a very popular price point.
- Excellent battery life
- HDMI out so I can watch Netflix on my TV. Why didn't the Nexus 7 have this?
- Awesome audio out for headphones, and some wimpy speakers like we see in tablets.
- Micro-USB ports and a couple of USB adapters so we can plug in mice, external USB drives, and other devices.
- Large responsive multi-touch touchpad like on the MacBook Air
- The keyboard has to be outstanding, and backlit
- Option for cellular connectivity for internet access
- All the good tablet sensors: GPS, accelerometers, etc

For the desktop software, I'd want:

- Root access, of course
- Android apps that run in overlapping windows
- Able to run bash shells and various ports of popular command-line based free software to aid in development. Preferably, they'd stick to their jailed app model for command line apps, rather than allow every app to spew files throughout /usr and /etc.
- Runs Eclipse for native Android development
- Built-in aids for software publishing.
- A free ebook publishing app without the kinds of strings attached that Apple added to theirs
- Music creation/editing app
- Video creation app, with ability to publish to youtube
- Photo editing app
- Native install of Google Docs or Libre Office, which sync to cloud rather than running in cloud
- Voice input, like on our phones, usable in writing docs and emails
- Built in remote desktop/VNC integrated with Skype, though Google Talk would probably have to suffice

So... it's hard and there's a lot of software to write. On the other hand, it might be worth untold billions. Do you think they might be up to something in this area?

Lenovo - For Those Who Don't (2, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357127)

Yawn, give me back my ThinkTank, I don't want your yuppie hipster tablet shit. By all means, go ahead and make it, but not at the sacrifice of the once-venerable ThinkPad, now hamstrung by cheap build quality and shitty, unusable keyboards.

Re:Lenovo - For Those Who Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358607)

This, please.

They used to have this nice niche with a laptop that you didn't have to babysit. If you didn't want to carry it in a laptop bag you could just throw it with the rest of things you brought with you while traveling without having to worry that it might break.
It used to have reasonable specifications to a reasonable price. (I also happen to like the black box design.)
I guess I can go for a rugged laptop but I don't really need a padded computer and they are way overpriced and unreasonably bulky for my needs.

Didn't they do this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357169)

Like in 2002-2003? Thinkpad line even?

No thunderbolt (1)

poity (465672) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357175)

no buy

Re:No thunderbolt (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357903)

no buy

I remember
when we used to sit
at the computer club
in Kings Town...

New? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357179)

I've been reading about the Helix for over a year now and its been on sale for months, can you please tell me what your definition of 'new' is?

Re:New? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357727)

after the second slashdot dupe of this event comes out, then it will no longer be "new" around here.

"powerful windows 8", that's a pretty funny phrase. Anything that doesn't run a true operating system can't be powerful.

Powerful Windows 8 computer? (2)

dpbsmith (263124) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357237)

Nutritious Hostess cupcake?

Luxurious Toyota Prius?

Tasteful Miley Cyrus wardrobe?

Re:Powerful Windows 8 computer? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357913)

Nutritious Hostess cupcake?

Luxurious Toyota Prius?

Tasteful Miley Cyrus wardrobe?

Ugly iOS device?

Re:Powerful Windows 8 computer? (1)

mjwx (966435) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358499)

Nutritious Hostess cupcake?

Luxurious Toyota Prius?

Tasteful Miley Cyrus wardrobe?

Ugly iOS device?

Great,

See what you've done.

Now Priuses are Luxurious and Miley Cyrus is tasteful.

At least this has made me feel better about cloth seats in the Toyobaru Twins (and the fact the Prius and 86 use the same wheels).

Lenovo is doing poorly in my enterprise workplace (1)

Packet Pusher (231564) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357251)

We get an option of a couple high end lenovo's and the 15" macbook pro retina. The shear size and weight of the thinkpad with the 170 watt power supply is basically a non-starter for people who even only travel occasionally or just to meeting rooms and back.

Lots of people in my office learning OSX now and not because they love apple or are expecting productivity gains. One guy still loves windows so much he only boots his macbook pro into Windows 7. The lenovo hardware just sucks by comparison.

Dupe? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357325)

I'm pretty sure I read this same story on Slashdot sometime in 2003...

No proper trackpoint, no sale (2)

fnj (64210) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357327)

Lenovo, are you listening? If you continue your trend of removing the trackpoint buttons and the ability to completely disable the trackpad, you lose your edge and slide into irrelevance. Oh, and this should go without saying, but NO SALE.

The trackpoint with actual physical buttons (THREE of them) is the only acceptable pointing device on a portable. The X301 was PERFECT.

Touchpads are complete and utter garbage. Ones with only soft buttons are even more crappy. What I really want is for this abortion to be completely removed and the keyboard relocated to its proper place and the front of the base, but if it HAS to be there to cater to losers, at least it must be completely disablaeble so I don't brush it when I am attempting to type, damn it.

Re:No proper trackpoint, no sale (1)

ballpoint (192660) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357667)

Hear, hear !

That's an imperative. Other laptop vendors should listen too.

Re:No proper trackpoint, no sale (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358449)

I would love to have a mini trackball on my laptop, though. :) That would enable playing 3D games without the requirement of an external mouse.

$1500 Of gimick features + $200 of hardware (2)

maliqua (1316471) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357379)

If it wasn't for the fact that these thins all have absolutely garbage specs, and cost almost twice as better spec laptop or a laptop AND a tablet. AND we have to suffer through windows 8 ...

Seems they need to drop the 1 out of that price

Not Sure What To Say (2)

PaddyM (45763) | 1 year,7 days | (#44357429)

As I sit here typing this post with my TC1100, the computer which got me to use Windows XP as my primary operating system, the computer which runs Windows 7 decently enough, which I purchased used for $850 about 8 years ago. It works like a boss. It has 1 problem with hardware overheating which can be resolved by tilting the screen towards you as far as it will go, and then it just works. Just works. Originally priced at $2400 back in 2001/2002. It has a trackpoint, and enough space for all the keys in all the right places except for page up and page down. The only form of laptop which doesn't burn your legs because the battery floats in space (a battery you can replace without shutting down completely). The only laptop with a proper trackpoint and excellent stylus support. A beautiful 8.9 inch screen over 180 degree viewing angle which has the option of VGA-outing to some big screen you want to use at the same time. In that same time I've worn out a Vaio laptop and a brand new Lenovo laptop (which stopped working in 1 month). HP the company is bleeding revenue seeking to redefine itself, when it had the quality answer 10 years ago. I know this Lenovo in comparison is trackpointless and will only last just past the warranty period if you're lucky. I don't know what to say really.

They lost me (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44357997)

They lost me at "Powerful Windows 8 Tablet".

Rips and Flips... (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358047)

...to the Extreme, Bro!

Peace out, Yo.

Core i5 and i7 is underpowered? (1)

The Real Dr. Video (1218040) | 1 year,7 days | (#44358219)

I'm not sure I agree with the original poster's "Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad tablet convertible doesn't have a ton of horsepower". It comes in an i5 with 4GB RAM and an i7 with 8GB RAM flavour and both have large SSDs (180GB and 256GB respectively). Last I looked, those are mainstream business PC specs. I am typing this on the i5 model of the Helix and I have to say it's an impressive machine. Tearing off the tablet portion (where all the guts are) for media consumption and re-docking it for business computing is a near-perfect solution to the multi-device travel dilema (I spend some time in airports and hotels for business). The battery in the keyboard (dock) portion charges the tablet battery when docked and the tablet gets preferencial charging when connected to AC. The claim of 10 hours battery when both parts are connected together is a little bit of a stretch (I am seeing about 8 hours in heavy use). I am not a huge fan of Windows 8 Pro but I spend my time on the old-style desktop running Office 2010 anyways, so I don't "see" Windows 8. Windows 8 Pro keeps me connected to the servers at the office and that's what I need to do business. This isn't a machine to buy for the kids to play Angry Birds, like an Android Tablet or iPad. Can you say "Domain Join"? It's a business PC in a very flexible form.

Lenovo, cut the crap (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44358673)

Lenovo, just bring us X61 back, will ya ?
This new keyboard is awfull, good old IBM styled keyboards are not available even as an option. (jeesh, this could be a revenue source on it's own)
This 16:9 screen since x200 is absolutely pointless to me - no 3:4 options ?

All these blumps with Thinkpad series over the last decade just shows us, how genius IBM engineering was, and how long does it actually take to kill a really marvelous piece of engineering.

Once, Thinkpad was an alias for solid, bullet-proof work horse. I'm not sure what does it stand for nowdays...

16" 3200x1800 Haswell version (1)

Barryke (772876) | 1 year,6 days | (#44359517)

I was thinking this was the Haswell release of the Thinkpad Helix. Turns out, /. is behind by 4 months and just learning about the Helix. *facepalm* It hurts.
But yes, IMHO its the best convertable out there by far.

I'm waiting for the Haswell version however, and i hope its 16" 3200x1800 and sports a better GPU. I don't mind the weight and size.

If you don't like, don't buy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44359567)

I've got one of their RT Yoga's. It's a little gutless but for basic tasks works really well and the battery life is pretty good. I wanted Word/Excel and that limits your options. As a piece of kit, I think it's actually pretty good (though a one handed tablet for long-term usage, it isn't).

This looks like an interesting hardware design. For those of us that prefer Windows to Mac/Linux, this looks like a great specced piece of kit. Pricey, granted but I'd definitely consider the i7/8GB version (or whatever is current) when my Dell E6410 dies.

The Windows 8 Tablet "experience" to use that well-loved term, hinges on well designed apps. The new interface is actually a joy to use with a touch enabled device - assuming someone half competent was the UI designer. If you're slow enough that you can't remember swipe right for settings/search, swipe up for app settings (which is pretty much the only two you need), then tough. The key is that application design is much, much more important than in the traditional interface where you can just slap in another menu. It won't suit all app types but it works well for content rich types.

Overpriced gadgets = FAIL! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44359575)

Nook - overpriced Android tablet that can't run Android apps, only B&N's curated apps - FAIL! (Yes, B&N changed this recently, but only after they made the decision to sell or license the Nook brand to someone else. The fail had already happened by this point.)

Microsoft Surface - a tiny screen that cost about double what an Asus regular-sized 15.6" laptop cost - FAIL!

This thing costs $1800 - FAIL!

When will companies get the idea that overpriced hardware doesn't sell? Apple is the only company that can sell overpriced hardware, and they have a limited base of customers with that kind of money. And those customers aren't buying this other stuff.

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