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Cloud Native/NFV

ThinkPad at 25: Looking Back at an Icon

Before the cloud, artificial intelligence, big data and even the smartphone, there was the personal computer -- still the most basic of all enterprise IT.

One of the most iconic of all PCs is the ThinkPad. First developed by IBM 25 years ago as a portable PC, the brand is now manufactured by Lenovo, which bought Big Blue's PC division in 2005.

While the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone looms this month, the ThinkPad is marking its silver anniversary as well, and at Lenovo's recent Transform show at the Metropoitian Pavillion in New York City, the company brought out several vintage models dating back to the original design that went on sale in 1992. (See Lenovo Eyes Bigger Roles in Cloud, Data Center.)

Originally designed by Richard Sapper for IBM, the ThinkPad laptop has, for the most part, kept its simple, square, black design, although it has gotten thinner and more lightweight over the years as components have shrunk and storage, first in hard disk drives and later solid state drives, have moved to the cloud. The latest models allow for detachable screens that carry on as tablets.

Still considered one of the reliable business laptops, the ThinkPad has been to space, and its design is iconic enough that the machine is also considered a museum piece -- a work of art.

Let us now travel back to the halcyon days of 1992, when IT computing was just getting started, and see how the ThinkPad has withstood the test of time. If you have any fond memories of a particular ThinkPad, let us know in the comments section below.

25 Years of the ThinkPad
25 Years of the ThinkPad

(All images by Scott Ferguson for Enterprise Cloud News)

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mhhfive 8/1/2017 | 2:59:51 PM
I miss old laptops.. I fondly remember an old Macbook that could actually hot-swap TWO batteries from its component bays (or take a CD drive or ZIP drive or 3.5" floppy drive instead).
Joe Stanganelli 7/4/2017 | 5:52:25 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: Yup! That's what a track stick is. They're generally found most often on enterprise-grade laptops (ThinkPads, Latitudes, EliteBooks, etc.).
Michelle 7/3/2017 | 8:55:32 PM
Re: Celebrating tech Escape and a regular mouse are what I use when the trackpad gets stuck. I don't have a track stick (that's the eraser on the keyboard, right??).
Joe Stanganelli 7/1/2017 | 1:46:36 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: I have had this issue on occasion, but I find that the track stick (assuming your machine has one) can help "unstick" the trackpad.
Michelle 6/29/2017 | 1:49:06 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Joe In my experience, they freeze up and don't respond frequently (on Windows). A mouse is just more reliable. 
Joe Stanganelli 6/28/2017 | 9:27:41 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Scott/Michelle: I'm in complete agreement on this point. I can get some use out of tablets on their own, but to be *truly* productive, I need me a classic QWERTY keyboard.
Joe Stanganelli 6/28/2017 | 9:26:17 PM
Re: Iconic @Ariella: Indeed. Remember when 8 or 9 out of 10 CIOs were boldly declaring that no way were iPhones fit for the enterprise?
Joe Stanganelli 6/28/2017 | 9:25:01 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: what's wrong with laptop trackpads, in your opinion?

At first, I thought no way would I ever get used to laptop trackpads? Now I find them more convenient than computer mouses.

Weird how we adapt.
Joe Stanganelli 6/28/2017 | 9:23:29 PM
My own take For my own part, I had always heard great things about ThinkPad...so I wound up buying one...shortly after Lenovo took over.

And. It. Was. Terrible.

The thing kept blue-screening repeatedly from Day One. After about a year of that nonsense on top of other, compounding problems, I finally -- after several hours of phone calls -- got the thing sent back for a complete refund.

Never again. Maybe it was great when IBM was fully responsible for making and selling them...but what a different story, it appears to me, with the changing of the guard.
kq4ym 6/28/2017 | 12:51:26 PM
Re: Iconic And how many of us have decades old computer stuff in our closests. I'm guilty and I'm sure there's lot of folks who for sane and insane reasons hang on to those old laptops and gear, maybe thinking they'll sell it 50 years from now or maybe just remembering the "good old days."
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