ThinkPads and Blackberries sit down together- exchange mail on the run

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thinkpadTwo devices that go hand in hand in the corporate world are the ThinkPad and the Blackberry.  The very thought of these devices has “enterprise” written all over it and a new alliance is going to make that even more the case.

Lenovo (s LNVGY) has announced the development of the Lenovo Constant Connect, a combination service and hardware peripheral that lets ThinkPads grab email from the owner’s RIM (s RIMM) Blackberry even when the laptop is not powered on.  The service uses an ExpressCard device for about $150 that plugs into the ThinkPad and downloads email directly from BlackBerrys via Bluetooth.  The goal is to make sure that ThinkPad owners can open up their notebook and get working with their email in mere seconds.

I could see this being big stuff for heavy business travelers who often need to jump online and get some quick email done.  The hardware solution makes sense as it removes the burden from either the ThinkPad or the BlackBerry and puts it on a simple little peripheral.  The Constant Connect scheme works with Exchange, POP, GMail, Outlook while Lotus Notes support is coming soon.

(via engadget)


Research Triangle Park, NC and Waterloo, ON – February 16, 2009 – Lenovo and Research In Motion (RIM) today announced that the two companies will work together to promote new Lenovo mobile solutions that will help on-the-go business users enhance their mobile computing and communications experience through tighter integration between Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computers and BlackBerry® smartphones.
Leveraging Lenovo’s extensive global R&D capabilities and engineering prowess in laptop computers together with RIM’s expertise in smartphones and wireless solutions, Lenovo plans to develop and deliver a range of industry-leading solutions and technologies that can help professionals conduct business more effectively on the go.
Lenovo Constant Connect, the first solution developed by Lenovo, will leverage the strengths of the BlackBerry® solution and Lenovo ThinkPad laptops to deliver an unparalleled user experience for flexible, real-time access to enterprise-based email. Lenovo Constant Connect will allow enterprise email received on a user’s BlackBerry smartphone to be automatically synchronized via Bluetooth® onto the user’s ThinkPad laptop – even if the ThinkPad laptop is off – without the user having to take any additional steps.
This level of integration and availability dramatically improves access to email on the Lenovo ThinkPad laptop from wherever a BlackBerry smartphone can access a connection. In addition to greater flexibility and convenience, it can also reduce the need to use the laptop with fee-based Wi-Fi® networks. Lenovo Constant Connect is expected to be available from Lenovo and its business partners in the second quarter of 2009 in the U.S, and to be rolled out in markets around the world later in 2009.
“With more and more mobile professionals relying on both their BlackBerry smartphone and ThinkPad laptop PC, we view better integration between the two devices as a necessity. Today’s announcement is the first step in combining these best-in-class solutions to deliver a more useful and powerful mobile work experience,” said Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing.

“Lenovo is adding significant value for our mutual customers by developing tighter and more seamless integration between Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and BlackBerry smartphones,” said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO, Research In Motion. “By leveraging the industry-leading, push-based connectivity of the BlackBerry solution, Lenovo Constant Connect will simplify email synchronization on the laptop and provide mobile professionals with greater flexibility to manage their email on the move.”

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I don’t see why you’re enthusiastic about this. This is an ridiculously specialized device which not only works with a specific laptop brand, but with a specific phone brand. That has “unreliable” written all over it. And it is a form of tying in that is extremely questionable in what are supposed to be competitive economies, and standards-based technology industries.

And it’s expensive and the benefit to the user is very marginal: when you don’t have a reliable internet connection and can’t get one, but still want more or less up-to-date e-mail, this device… saves you a little battery life by allowing the machine to stay asleep.

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