Thinkpad revolutionized the communication industry since its invention. But most of us do not know the real history of Thinkpad. Lenovo Thinkpad is the first modern notebook invented by Naitoh in japan. In the easy come, easy go world of technology, it’s not often that a device can reach iconic status. If there is one brand though that can lay claim to this, it is the ThinkPad. As a business tool the ThinkPad range of notebooks has a hefty pedigree – the first modern notebooks in space, the first to include a CD-drive and DVD-drive, the first to include integrated Wi-Fi and the first to integrate a fingerprint reader. Many companies though can tick off firsts, but as they say the proof is in the pudding. The pudding in this case being that in the year that the ThinkPad range is celebrating its 18th birthday, Lenovo announced that it has shipped the 60 millionth ThinkPad (lenovo thinkpad sale).
Yamoto Labs, birthplace of the ThinkPad The unpretentious Yamoto Labs is tucked away in a leafy suburb a few kilometers from Kyoto. It is here where Arimasa Naitoh, known as the father of the ThinkPad, introduced the first ThinkPad in 1992. Those days the ThinkPad still belonged to IBM and innovation was the name of the game, especially since notebooks were still in its infancy. IBM’s PC division was acquired by Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo in 2005 and today Naitoh holds office as vice president of Development of Lenovo’s Notebook Business Unit. As both an IBM and Lenovo Fellow, the highest honor than can be bestowed on a technologist at these companies, he comes across as very pragmatic. This trait is clearly reflected in the ThinkPad range, which up until recently have not appeared in any other colour but business black. Naitoh refers to notebooks as “weapons” for your business, there to make your business more “powerful”. “If you use a notebook and get distracted by the problems it gives you it impacts negatively on your productivity,” he told “We are constantly innovating to lower or eliminate these customer pain points,” Naitoh continued. What’s next? Naitoh is adamant that smaller and lighter is the way to go. “A reduction in notebook weight is my first goal,” relating further that 1.2 kg seems to be the magical number in this regard. He also mentions a few other developments which in the next two to three years should have an impact on the notebook market. Firstly screen technology might incorporate flexible display / colour E-ink technology, making for foldable thin screens that are basically unbreakable. Secondly there’s a convergence of smartphone and PC architecture which should see high performance devices coupled with much better battery life. A third technology which can already be felt in the market is cheaper, higher capacity Solid-State Drives, making for lighter safer and faster computer storage. The quality of the ThinkPad range is reflected in the 60 million ThinkPads sold, and after spending some time with the father of the device, we’re certain that that figure is only the beginning.