During the Q&A of the opening session at PC Forum today, Steve Ward, who is heading up the combined Lenovo/IBM PC company was asked by former IBMer John Patrick about the fate of the vaunted ThinkPad notebook, which many of the attendees were typing on as the panelists spoke. Ward pronounced that "ThinkPads will be forever." Nothing is forever, but the ThinkPad is one of the standout brands in mobile computing, along with Apple's PowerBook. Ward said that Lenovo will shortly open briefing centers in Beijing and Raleigh. "We will see more innovation, faster, and we will see that we are able to share development costs across a larger base."
On to more practical matters, Ward said that the branding has not been set, whether they will be called just ThinkPad or Lenovo ThinkPad. In typically big company fashion, the new Lenovo is doing studies to determine what is the right brand. The little button at the top right that now says Access IBM will change to access Lenovo's software support. Doc Searls asked Ward about support for Linux (a Linux-optimized ThinkPad), and Ward responded that Linux has to get more mass adoption before PC makers will open the throttle.