CHINESE COMPUTER MAKER Lenovo is celebrating the 20th anniversary today of its Thinkpad laptop, which survives as a successful business focused brand to this day.
The Thinkpad has changed as PC technology has evolved since IBM launched it in 1992, but it has managed to retain a distinctive styling of its own, such as the black colour scheme of the original 700c model.
It has even survived the sale of IBM's PC division to Lenovo in 2005, and has arguably gone from strength to strength since then.
The Thinkpad has seen a number of firsts over the last 20 years, including its claim to be the first laptop with an integrated CDROM drive and the first to feature built-in wireless technology.
One notable innovation from the earlier days was the famous Butterfly keyboard on the Thinkpad 701 series released in 1995, which unfolded as the laptop lid was opened to present a wider keyboard than would otherwise fit into the chassis.
Another Thinkpad characteristic that goes all the way back to the first model is the Trackpoint mouse controller embedded in the middle of the keyboard, which serves as an alternative to the touchpad used almost universally in other laptops.
But not all Thinkpad innovations were successful. The Thinkpad Transnote of 2001 combined a laptop with a digitiser pad that allowed the user to capture handwritten notes, but failed to catch on.
Today, the Thinkpad lineup also includes tablet devices such as the Thinkpad Tablet 2, as the world awaits the launch of Windows 8, along with the ultra-slim Thinkpad X1 Carbon ultrabook. µ
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