updated 03:00 pm EDT, Wed July 14, 2010
Lenovo thinks X300, X301 too hard to sell
Lenovo executive Wang Liping has reportedly said the company will soon drop its publicly proclaimed MacBook Air rival, the ThinkPad X301. The company now plans to withdraw its ultraportable from at least the Chinese market, possibly by the end of 2010. It should eventually be replaced by the considerably newer T410s.
Wang didn't explain the decision, but Sina speculates that the arrival of the T410s and its T400s predecessor together created a level of product overlap, where both of the newer notebooks outperformed the X301 but achieved similar objectives. Although not as slim as the older model, they both use full-power mobile processors and have the option of dedicated graphics that were impractical before. At $1,399, the T410s is nearly $1,000 less expensive than the sale price of the X301.
The company hasn't confirmed if such plans will extend to North America, but both systems are available in the region today.
Lenovo first launched the original version of the X301, the X300, with knowledge of a MacBook Air rivalry in place. The ThinkPad ultraportable shipped using a low-power Core 2 Duo S, albeit slower than its Apple counterpart. However, requiring a solid-state drive even in a base system raised the price to as high as $2,799 where Apple's cost $1,000 less. Neither Apple nor Lenovo has released sales figures for their respective systems, but Apple has usually said it was happy with the performance of the system in its lineup.
Either company has yet to update their systems in a significant form for roughly the past year. In Apple's case, it's suspected the dispute between Intel and NVIDIA has prevented an update, as Apple can't upgrade to a Core i5 or i7 without having to use Intel graphics but also doesn't have a realistic upgrade to the Core 2 Duo S. Lenovo has been willing to use Intel video and doesn't have this barrier, making its reasons for silence less apparent.