For almost fifteens year now, Thinkpads have been my stalwart road warrior. Sure, they've had their share of problems (mostly with the displays) but every time I've ventured off the Thinkpad ranch, I found myself eventually coming back for to the sleek black notebook computers. In coming up with the Thinkpads (I had a Thinkpad 750 when they first came out), IBM defined an era of mobile computing. Thinkpads with their various innovations over the years -- from trackpoints to keyboards that defined the word "ergonomic" (including the collapsible butterfly keyboard released in the mid-90's) to their subnotebook designs -- have always been the ones to beat. On a recent trip to California, I couldn't help but notice how many people in the coffee shops, airports, on the planes, and in the offices I visited had Thinkpads. What a franchise, that's all I can say.
Now with Lenovo taking over, I can't help but wonder -- especially with all of the other vendors looking to create uncertainty over the deal -- whether this is the end of the road for the storied franchise. Lenovo is on the hook to keep the brand going for five years. But I wonder if the brand will make it that far. Will the trademark black notebooks with the colorful red, green, and blue logos (pictured above left) disappear into industry folklore like so many other legends of the business. Or will it endure to the point that Lenovo decides to keep it going beyond the five years it has agreed to. My sense is the former and to that I say.... "Thinkpad.. it's been nice knowin' ya and when your gone, you'll be missed, but not forgotten."