But as business users expand their toolkits to include netbooks, the company may create an enterprise-ready counterpart:
“It’s an area we’re exploring” admitted Matthew Kohut, Lenovo’s globe-trotting Worldwide Competitive Analyst, “but I can’t comment one way or the other. Watch this space, that’s all I can say.”
Kohut says there’s “no question” that the lines are blurring between the popular but low-margin netbooks and higher-profit notebooks. “How do we make sure the value proposition between netbooks and notebooks is clearly delineated?
Netbooks in the enterprise have been the subject of much debate. Just this week, Apple pooh-poohed the form factor, calling its current representatives "junky." Their success has put Microsoft in a bind, particularly with regard to profit margins. And Intel and AMD are racing to claim footing in whatever they think will come next in this segment.
- Erik Eckel: 10 things you should look for in a netbook
- Jason Hiner: Three things to consider before deploying netbooks in business
Obviously, a ThinkPad netbook would offer further legitimacy of the form factor in the business world, where efficiency and cost (and portability, and security) are paramount, particularly in the current economic climate.
As it stands, it's a matter of functionality versus portability. And users do like the Instant-On functionality that some netbooks offer for presentations and travel.
With new ultra-low voltage processors emerging for the market, functionality may become a moot point of contention.
Lenovo's second-generation IdeaPad netbook, the IdeaPad S20, is expected to appear next month with a 12.1-in. screen and Intel's Atom N280 processor and GN40 chipset. It may also include 3G support, another point of consumer debate.
Would you buy a Lenovo business-class netbook? And if so, what business features would you want in it? Leave your suggestions in the comments.