IBM Unveils Active Protection System – Laptop ‘Air Bag’

IBM Unveils Active Protection System – Laptop ‘Air Bag’


IBM unveiled a completely updated line of ThinkPad notebook computers today, including new ThinkPad R50 and T41 models that include the world’s first automatic hard drive protection technology.

Because smaller, lighter, and more mobile systems are at a continual risk of being dropped and damaged, IBM developed a patent-pending hard drive protection technology to help protect people’s data. The IBM Active Protection System, similar to the technology used in automobiles to deploy airbags upon impact, uses a microchip on the system board to detect system acceleration (such as in a fall). The system responds by temporarily parking the drive’s read/write head until the system is stabilized. This rapid response can help prevent hard drive crashes that could occur in some falls, to help prevent total data loss and reduce warranty costs.

Some insurance and analyst reports indicate that more than 10.5 percent of notebooks in a corporate enterprise are damaged annually, and that accidental damage accounts for the majority of PC loss claims. Of the three notebook components most prone to damage — hard drive, display, and keyboard — hard drive damage results in the loss of valuable information and productivity.

“Applying this life-saving technology to personal computing is revolutionary. If you’re rushing to finish a report in an airport and you accidentally drop your notebook, with any other machine you’d face a greater potential for losing all your data,” said Peter Hortensius, vice president, Think Offerings, IBM Personal Computing Division. “IBM is committed to providing our customers with the most reliable notebooks in the industry. This new technology and Rapid Restore Ultra are two great ways of doing that.”

Choose How You Work

The new ThinkPad R50, available in 14 and 15-inch models, has a travel weight of less than 6 pounds and measures 1.3-inches thin. The ThinkPad R50 features a long-life battery, and by adding a second system battery option users can achieve almost 10 hours of battery life, providing users with a truly mobile computing experience. Select ThinkPad R50 and T41 models are available with Intel Centrino Mobile Technology or with integrated IBM 11 a/b/g wireless. Both the ThinkPad R50 and T41 feature select models with the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem and, when used with industry-standard wireless encryption, provide the most secure wireless computing environment in the world.

IBM also announced today updated ThinkPad X31, R40, R40e, and G40 models featuring faster processors, integrated wireless technology on select models, and some of the latest ThinkVantage Technologies. The ultraportable ThinkPad X31 now features integrated 11 a/b/g on select models and shares a common software image with the R50 and T41, giving flexibility to organizations purchasing various ThinkPad models by enabling a single image to be deployed across multiple platforms. Additionally, for the first time, select wireless models of the ThinkPad T40, T41, R40, R50, and X31 feature enhanced wireless security as defined by the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Cisco Compatible Extensions certification programs, providing enhanced wireless data security for organizations of all sizes. The Cisco Compatible Extensions program ensures compatibility with Cisco Aironet Access Points through independent third-party testing.

New models of the ThinkPad R40 and R40e offer users a reliable, mobile computing experience at an affordable price. Both models feature Intel Pentium 4-M and mobile Celeron processors and have a travel weight of less than 6 pounds. The ThinkPad G40, with the Intel Pentium 4 processor on select models and up to 3.0 GHz of processing power, features the ThinkPad EasyPivot base and ComfortSlant keyboard, design enhancements developed for a more comfortable and enjoyable computing experience.

Leveraging ThinkVantage Technologies

Several ThinkPad models announced today feature updated ThinkVantage Technologies including Rapid Restore Ultra, Access Connections 2.7 and Access IBM 4.0. Rapid Restore Ultra is a one-button disaster recovery solution, giving users the ability to restore their system to a previously saved state after a software crash. Access Connections saves wireless and wired network settings so that users can easily switch between networking environments. The new Access IBM 4.0 software provides easy access to on-system and online information including IBM service and support, which can reduce help desk calls and increase employee productivity and help desk efficiency.

Additionally, select ThinkPad models feature the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem, consisting of an integrated security chip and downloadable IBM Client Security Software. This hardware and software-based solution provides a higher level of security for the client, providing a secure repository for storing sensitive keys, identity information and confidential data.

New ImageUltra Services

IBM is also announcing new features to its signature manageability service designed to make image management more efficient and less complicated for the enterprise customer. ImageUltra Builder now features six new services designed to provide IT managers with significant cost savings, security and flexibility. These new services include the support of out-of-date images by creating, verifying, modifying, and migrating images for discontinued hardware.

Pricing and Availability

All new ThinkPad models are available immediately through IBM personal computers are also available through select business partners. Prices for the ThinkPad R50 start at $1529; prices for the ThinkPad T41 start at $1649; prices for the ThinkPad X31 start at $1449; prices for the R40 and R40e start at $1129 and $849, respectively; and prices for the ThinkPad G40 start at $899.