Lenovo debuts AI PCs that have specs a lot like vanilla PCs with this year's accelerated CPUs

While you ponder that, look – or try to – at a concept transparent lappie

Lenovo has used Mobile World Congress (MWC) to debut a clutch of updated ThinkPads for business users that it claims are AI PCs – but which look a lot like just PCs that ship with AI-capable processors.

The ThinkPad T14 i Gen 5, ThinkPad T14s Gen 5 and ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 are conventional clamshells. The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 boasts design similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro. The ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 is a touch-screen model that can fold over to become a tablet.

All are billed as including "the latest Intel Core Ultra processors with Intel vPro." The T14 models run the AMD Ryzen 8040.

That chip, and Intel's latest Core Ultra silicon, all feature neural processing units (NPUs) – accelerators dedicated to AI workloads.

Lenovo's only example of the NPUs at work is in an app called "Lenovo View" that uses the accelerator to provide "video enhancing tools for the camera including a new Low Light Enhancer that can brighten and denoise video in low light environments."

Beyond that, it's not obvious how the ThinkPads will make AI hum. At the time of writing the abovementioned machines are not on sale and Lenovo hasn't published detailed specs. The little we've been provided suggests all models other than the X12 Detachable Gen 2 can handle 64GB of DDR5 memory. The detachable can handle 32GB of LPDDR5x. All the machines use PCIe for solid state disks up to 2TB, with the detachable again the runt of the litter with a 1TB maximum.

In the T14s the camera is found in a "Communications Bar" that protrudes a little from the screen and apparently also "acts as an easy one-handed lip for opening and closing the device."

Here it is in all its glory.

ThinkPad T14s Gen 5 Communications Bar

The ThinkPad T14s Gen 5 Communications Bar – Click to enlarge

We've asked Lenovo for more details so we can understand what – beyond the presence of NPUs – makes these AI PCs.

Lenovo often reveals concept machines at big conferences, and has stayed true to form at MWC by showing off the "ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop" – a 17.3″ machine with a see-through screen.

The micro-LED screen will, we are told, integrate the virtual and the real.

"Through the power of Artificial Intelligence Generated Content (AIGC), the transparent screen opens up new avenues of work collaboration and efficiency by enabling the interaction with physical objects and overlaying digital information to create unique user generated content," Lenovo enthused in a breathless press release.

The machine will apparently "integrate naturally within its environment. Users can seamlessly switch between the keyboard and drawing board with a supported pen, unlocking new levels of creative efficiency. AI in combination with transparent displays will open up new ways of engaging with data and applications, offering opportunities to develop new features and form factors."

Or maybe it won't. Lenovo admits this is pure concept and it offered no info about when it might ship, or even be available for a little hands-on prodding.

 ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop proof of concept

ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop proof of concept – Click to enlarge

The Chinese builder also used MWC to debut a multi-cloud edge architecture it cooked up with Telefonica, which can use AI for tasks like smoke detection with computer vision.

Lenovo last week announced Q3 revenue of $15.7 billion, a three percent year-on-year increase, and steady gross profit of $2.6 billion. The conglomerate's intelligent devices group, which sells PCs and other personal devices, saw revenue grow by $775 million to $12.35 billion, and land a $911 million profit. The infrastructure solutions group – servers, storage and networking – saw revenue fall $382 million and a $43.3 million profit become a $37.7 million loss. ®

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