Do you like large ThinkPad PCs? You’ll love the smartphone version

At CES 2023, the Lenovo group has just lifted the lid on the ThinkPhone, a mobile version of the popular IBM-branded notebook computers released in the 90s before being acquired by Lenovo in 2005. Motorola owner’s target is business. .

CES in Las Vegas isn’t just about sexy products. Amidst more and more giant screens and connected showers, there are also more discreet products designed for companies. Most of them are generally not of interest to the media, but “Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola” is an exception. Why? Because it belongs to the family of ThinkPad laptops released by IBM in 1992.

Smartphone for business

The name chosen by Lenovo/Motorola for its B2B smartphone is not insignificant. If we can see an ounce of opportunism (after all, any smartphone can meet the needs of business), we can only be fascinated by the mobile version of such a popular series as ThinkPads. Nobody would be talking about ThinkPhone if it was called “Motorola Pro”, which Lenovo knows very well.

Here is the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola with a very long name. // Source: Numerama

Aesthetically, the ThinkPhone uses code from ThinkPads… which means it’s not very attractive. Forget modern and fancy looks, the Lenovo smartphone has a very plastic look, with a large ThinkPhone logo on the back. At least you can’t blame it for looking like other mobile phones.

Among other things in common with ThinkPads, the ThinkPhone has a red button to evoke the iconic TrackPoint (a small red pointer for controlling a ThinkPad mouse). This is a customizable key.

The acronym ThinkPhone is reminiscent of personal computers.  // Source: Numerama
The acronym ThinkPhone is reminiscent of personal computers. // Source: Numerama

Despite its very lambda design, the ThinkPhone is a high-end smartphone. Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, Wi-Fi 6E and 5G, reinforced Gorilla Glass Victus glass, IP68 waterproofing… Having a very high-capacity battery (5000 mAh), the smartphone even has the luxury of supporting 68 W ultra-fast support. Its charger is clearly compatible with ThinkPad computers, a point Lenovo has been promoting.

Of course, all this has a price. At €999, the ThinkPhone is an oddly placed product, too expensive to equip huge fleets of. His target is smaller. Lenovo is targeting professionals who need a secure Android smartphone and already own a ThinkPad.

On the left is ThinkPhone's customizable button.  // Source: Numerama
On the left is ThinkPhone’s customizable button. // Source: Numerama

Ecosystem and security, a guide to scamming companies

In general, how can companies be fooled by ThinkPhone when we know they are being fooled by Apple and Samsung? Lenovo has two ideas:

  • ThinkPhone emphasizes security with a chip responsible for the security of codes and passwords. It also has several pre-installed software to prevent the employee from installing anything. Finally, the software allows companies’ IT departments to remotely access the settings of a borrowed smartphone. There is no need to approach them physically.
  • Lenovo relies somewhat on “ecosystem” functions like Apple, Huawei or Samsung. Copying and pasting is shared between ThinkPhone and ThinkPad, connection is automatic, smartphone notifications appear on the computer, and the smartphone’s camera can serve as a webcam. There’s even an AirDrop replica called File Drop for sharing files.
One of the pre-installed security software on ThinkPhone.  // Source: Numerama
One of the pre-installed security software on ThinkPhone. // Source: Numerama

Any chance of Lenovo introducing the ThinkPhone? Given the popularity of ThinkPads in business, why not. If it’s hard to imagine iPhone-centric companies changing everything for this smartphone, those using Android devices today might be tempted by this 100% Lenovo integration… if they can afford it. Recall that ThinkPhone will be sold in France at a price of 999 euros.

Numerama is in Las Vegas for CES 2023

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