Lenovo ThinkPad Turns 20; Still Not Legal to Drink in USA

Yes, this whole tower is a cake, even the laptop.

Lenovo sent over a reminder that the company on Friday is celebrating the 20th anniversary of "one of the most iconic laptops in history," the Lenovo ThinkPad. Lenovo said its overall look was inspired by the classic design of the Japanese Bento-Bako box, and has become the "gold standard" of enterprise laptops. CEOs, presidents and even kings can be counted among its fan base.

"Nearly every innovative feature, from the spill-proof keyboards to roll cage encased motherboard, to owl wing inspired quiet fans to the airbag like hard drive protection, are all designed to alleviate our customer pain points. And it is no wonder that our customers have rewarded us with the #1 market share in commercial notebooks," wrote Dilip Bhatia, Vice President and General Manager, ThinkPad Business Unit.

"Today is the day we officially celebrate the anniversary of ThinkPad. This year, however, is no ordinary anniversary. This year is the 20th anniversary of what has become a design classic and an icon of the industry. I am very proud of ThinkPad and all the people who have helped make it special over the years," wrote David Hill, Vice President, Design and User Experience, Lenovo.

Hill also presents a "virtual" copy of a book he authored and designed for the MoMA event Lenovo hosted back in August. This book, ThinkPad Design: Spirit & Essence, captures his "thoughts on ThinkPad and punctuates them with striking graphical illustrations." You can flip through its pages by heading here.

Over on Flickr, Lenovo has uploaded a number of pictures showing the evolution of the ThinkPad. "We took over the Museum of Modern Art for a night to celebrate two amazing decades of ThinkPad," the company said. "We looked back and looked ahead too, showing off vintage ThinkPads and mind-blowing new ones like X1 Carbon and ThinkPad Tablet 2. We toasted, we ate cake, we conquered."

Lenovo also offers 20 fun facts about the 20-year old device, revealing that the name was inspired by the leather-bound pocket notepads – embossed with the motto “Think” on the front cover – once issued to all IBM employees. Other facts include:

* The original ThinkPad was actually a slate tablet
* Every ThinkPad notebook comes with an "airbag" accelerometer system
* The fan blades are based on the unique design of an owl's wings
* In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the Decepticon-turned-Autobot named "Brains" is a ThinkPad Edge
* And more, as seen here

"For myself and on behalf of Lenovo, I want to thank our valued business partners and customers for 20 years of success," Bhatia said. "I also want to reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the quality and reliability of the ThinkPad brand as we transition into the 'PC+' era – a time where we interact with four screens made up of PCs, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs, as well as the larger ecosystem of cloud, services and applications."

North Carolina governor Beverly Perdue has officially designated October 5 as ThinkPad day, as Lenovo's North American branch resides within the state. The company will launch a U.S. personal computer production line in Whitsett, N.C., near Greensboro, where workers will build Think-branded notebook and desktop PCs, tablets, engineering workstations and servers. Lenovo currently employs more than 2,000 people in North Carolina (near the Raleigh area with Epic Games, Nvidia, Red Hat and others), and this new incentive will add even more local jobs.

"North Carolina continues to lead the world as a hub for technology innovation and entrepreneurial activity," said Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager, ThinkPad Business Unit. “It’s the right place for Lenovo to guide the innovation and development of ThinkPad products in the U.S. and we’re proud to contribute to the continued economic development of our state."

Even more, here are a number of Lenovo video ads through the years, all uploaded on YouTube:

ThinkPad accessories (Get your options on, James Bond)

Lenovo BE anthem

ThinkPad Air

ThinkPad X60s lightweight (Sneeze)

Grandma proof

Booting up the original IBM PC nearly 30 years later

IBM PC convertible commercial (Chaplin)

IBM 5100 first portable computer commercial 1977

Welcome to the ThinkPad family – IBM 1994
IBM included this video with their ThinkPad 755CD, 755CE, and 755CSE computers, which were released in late 1994. It was part of a multimedia presentation that introduced the laptop's features.

ThinkPad Commercial circa 1998 (from ThinkPad 385XD)
A better place to think

ThinkPad X60 viral (martial arts)

IBM ThinkPad 701 butterfly keyboard commercial

ThinkPad 701 butterfly keyboard

Play Pacman with ThinkPad
This is a hack that uses ThinkPad hard-drive sensor as a game controller.


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  • leongrado
    Dat Title.
  • Sorry Thinkpad, you're not cool enough for tom's staff :D

  • spartanmk2
    Long live the little stuby red dot!
  • Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer
    Yay, ThinkPad! :D
  • lpedraja2002
    spartanmk2Long live the little stuby red dot!I've always wondered what that button was for on the keyboard.
  • greghome
    we ate cake

    The cake is a lie!
  • It may not be legal to drink, but you can still spill your beer on it.
  • jehanne
    I have a ThinkPad this is 15 years old, has been running now 7x24 for about 10 years (doing the Seti@Home project), and is still going strong!
  • Gundam288
    DrinkyCrowIt may not be legal to drink, but you can still spill your beer on it.
    The ThinkPad is legal to drink in Canada tho. 19 is the highest age required in any province currently.

  • livebriand
    Long like the Thinkpad!