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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Susan Fourtané 6/27/2017 | 9:46:30 PM
Re: The future Scott, so it's almost like a secret project with a non-disclosed advanced material that eventually is going to revolutionize the way we see computers kind of thing. The design in the picture you included here is intriguing. I think the keyboard part doesn't match the rest of the design, though. We will have to wait and see what Lenovo comes up with next year after this teaser. -Susan
Scott_Ferguson 6/27/2017 | 10:32:18 AM
Re: The future @Susan: The one thing about Lenovo was they only called what they planned to use "advanced material" so not sure what that means but it looks like it will elliminate the hinge on the back and essentially make it one connected piece. I didn't see anything in particular at MWC but I didn't get to all parts of the show.
Scott_Ferguson 6/27/2017 | 10:28:59 AM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: I think my biggest problems is that I fat stubby fingers and using something too fragile is just not in the cards. When I first started out, I used to hit the keyboard so hard with my fingers, my colleagues asked me to stop.
Michelle 6/26/2017 | 10:47:31 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Scott *high-five*

I tried to type on an iPad for a while and it didn't work out well. I couldn't stand it --- I had to buy a bluetooth keyboard. You're addicted to the mouse because it's better than all the other options (me too). Laptop trackpads are awful!
Susan Fourtané 6/26/2017 | 10:36:51 PM
Re: The future Scott, yes, I saw the slide. :) That's why the title if my comment, which is the title of your last slide. I think it was Lenovo as well that at CES showed a bendable phone that you can wear on your wrist. Perhaps you saw it. I was not there, but read about it and saw a video some time ago around the time of the show. The back of the phone was made of something like rubber. It didn't look very nice, but that was not the point of the prototype. I missed MWC this year, unfortunately, but perhaps you saw some flexible/bendable phones there? -Susan
Scott_Ferguson 6/26/2017 | 9:17:35 PM
Re: The future @Susan: The flexible/bendable material has been around a while in different prototypes. I remember going to CES one year, and I believe it was Toshiba that was showing off such a model. If you look at the last slide here, Lenovo showed a prototype of one that it may build soon. They didn't give a date or much details at the show.

Susan Fourtané 6/26/2017 | 8:36:41 PM
The future It seems like we will be seeing more flexible screen devices in the near future. Other companies, such as Microsoft, Samsung, and LG have been playing around the idea of flexible OLED touchscreens as well. Sooner or later, one of them is going to bring the first flexible screen device to the market. Probably a phone will come first. It's easier to experiment on a smaller device like this one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Sfc_Peev660 -Susan
Susan Fourtané 6/26/2017 | 7:51:08 PM
Re: Iconic Daniel, the airplane trays were not orginally designed for laptops. :) -Susan
danielcawrey 6/26/2017 | 4:06:50 PM
Re: Iconic It's funny to see old laptops like this. The screen is so small - how did anyone ever get any work done on these things?

Now I realize why my 13" MacBook barely fits on an airplane tray - laptops used to be a lot smaller. 
Mitch Wagner 6/26/2017 | 10:29:41 AM
Re: Iconic Ariella - Looks like an interesting article. Bookmarked for later reading. 

I'm a skeptic that voice will take over everything. Having a little gadget in your pocket with a screen you can interact with will be useful for a lot of reasons, until we all get AR glasses or brain implants. 
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