Lenovo to release ThinkPad X1 Carbon business ultrabook in August

BREAKING: New ultrabook folds to the size of a tablet, includes durability features, high performance.

Lenovo will begin shipping its new ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook by the end of August. The new ultrabook is designed specifically to appeal to business users and includes a number of Lenovo's security apps and Intel's vPro technology. The new ultrabook is .71-inches thick and weighs in at 3 pounds. This is about twice as thick and twice as heavy as a third-generation iPad, but thinner and lighter than most ultrabooks.

What makes the ThinkPad X1 Carbon attractive to business are the design features that make this device suitable for travel and everyday use. The X1 Carbon gets its name from what Lenovo calls a "roll cage" made of carbon fiber. In addition, the X1 Carbon features a carbon fiber top. The result is extremely light--Lenovo says in its announcement that it's the lightest 14-inch laptop available--and very thin.

The X1 Carbon will be available in four configurations, starting with a Wi-Fi-only model that has an Intel i5 processor, a 128GB solid state drive and Intel HD 4000 graphics running a 1600x900 display that's anti-reflective. Other models include 3G connectivity, a larger SSD and Intel i7 processors. All include a built-in webcam, USB 3.0 and wired Ethernet (via USB) connection.

Lenovo has designed the flat-black case so that it will fold nearly flat, which may be useful in some circumstances. There's also a new glass touchpad that reportedly is much more responsive than the touchpads available on other ultrabooks. The touchpad will support gestures including multitouch, which should make it work well with Windows 8. The keyboard has backlighting and continues Lenovo's new "island style," which is flatter than Lenovo's previous keyboard, but fits into the very thin profile as a result. These are not the chiclet keys used by some competitors. Unlike virtually every other ultrabook, Lenovo includes a trackpoint rubber-tipped pointing device--a boon for users who don't like touchpads, and for precision uses where touchpads don't work so well.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon isn't cheap, starting at $1399 and selling for as much as $1849 in the fully loaded version. The availability is rumored for August 18, but that hasn't been confirmed by Lenovo. At a Beijing press conference, Lenovo would only say it would be out this month.

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