Birth of a new machine

Heading into CES two weeks ago I wrote about the Lenovo Skylight, the first so-called “Smartbook” to run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ARM process, a device explicitly conceived to be a “cloud computer” or social device.

My colleague and Lenovo’s first official blogger, VP of Design David Hill, has written a riveting account of how the Skylight came to be designed by Richard Sapper, the Milan-based wizard of industrial design who designed the first IBM ThinkPad. Skylight began in the early fall of 2008 when a small team was formed to look into a rapid development project to get Lenovo ahead of the commodity netbook market with a strong, differentiated offering that addressed the rapid shifts in online usage. While we focused on alternative operating systems such as Android, our SVP of Notebooks, Peter Hortensius, urged the team to consider the Qualcomm processor because of its unique architecture, amazing power consumption profile, and integrated wireless communications.

Once the principles were established, Hill recommended we turn to the original master for a concept. His blog post details the remarkable birth of the machine, including a chance meeting at a Gloucester, Massachusetts cocktail party where Sapper was introduced to a luthier (stringed instrument craftsman) with a woodworking shop and the capability to produce a wooden model.

I think the tale is the best thing we’ve ever published on a corporate blog. I hope you enjoy it.

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