How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

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systemBuilder
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How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#1 Post by systemBuilder » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:30 am

Can somebody please mail that guy a T50 so he knows what to do? Thank you.
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Lots of thinkpads (10+) but I would never be so stupid as to list them all because that would spam everybody's searches and people who *do* try to list them all would be jerks.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#2 Post by Summilux » Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:26 pm

Ha. I'm guessing D.Hill would come up with something along the line of: "Sorry but it's not in Lenovo's policy to consider counterfeit products" :twisted:
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#3 Post by Nigellus » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:38 pm

I'd hope they wouldn't turn down free R&D.

I wonder what it would take for a bunch of Thinkpadders to get together and produce a high-quality laptop for the market.

Obviously, we wouldn't be able to call it a "ThinkPad," but if someone produces a computer at least as functional as the T-series ThinkPads used to be, who cares what it's called?
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#4 Post by Saucey » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:02 pm

I hope Lenovo doesn't do a cease and desist order on the motherboards or sue them somehow... Not sure if it would apply to computers but I've seen it happen to the gaming world when it comes to remaking retro games.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#5 Post by Puppy » Tue May 03, 2016 12:07 pm

Nigellus wrote:I wonder what it would take for a bunch of Thinkpadders to get together and produce a high-quality laptop for the market.
It is impossible to design and produce custom laptop in such small volume these days. However it might be possible to get a proper keyboard replacement at least.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#6 Post by Summilux » Sun May 22, 2016 9:13 am

Nigellus wrote: I wonder what it would take for a bunch of Thinkpadders to get together and produce a high-quality laptop for the market.
We need people with expertise. Hardware engineers mainly, but probably also software engineers for the firmware and software tools.
Puppy wrote:It is impossible to design and produce custom laptop in such small volume these days. However it might be possible to get a proper keyboard replacement at least.
I'm pretty sure that if T50 mobos could be made, it wouldn't be too hard to produce the rest of the laptop. (Reminder that there was already a Chinese X200 clone back in 2011.)
Which is what I'd prefer in the grand scheme of things, since Lenovo has sorely been lacking in many departments besides the keyboard...

But it'd indeed be smart to begin with keyboards. If we can't get them directly from NMB or the likes, I'm certain there's all the necessary talent pool in PRC to produce a good copy of the classic keyboard; complete with the firmware (for proper key mapping) and why not including an external, USB version (I'd buy several of these).

The trick is to have Mandarin-speaking people quite knowledgeable about the local hardware scene, willing to liaise back and forth with potential manufacturers.

Which reminds me that Andrew "Bunny", who co-created the Novena open-source laptop, could be very helpful (maybe as a paid consultant since replicating a closed-source TP doesn't sound to be of interest to him) since he's both a Mandarin-speaker and very knowledgeable when it comes to both hardware making and hardware sourcing in PRC.
And I just saw that he's about to release a guide to component sourcing in Shenzhen.

I'm pretty sure that Lenovo would refuse to license us the design of their classic TP kbd, as they apparently forbad resellers to sell their old stocks (happened to me when I tried ordering a USB version), and there's also a slight chance that they reuse it in the oh-so-mythical Classic Thinkpad.
Even if they did license the design, it probably wouldn't entail embedded versions - only USB ones.

So despite goodwill, it appears that going not-so-legal through cloning would be our best bet. Which'd also mean that we wouldn't be able to raise funds through a Kickstarter campaign.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#7 Post by evening_hunger » Tue May 24, 2016 3:50 am

Why not wait-em-out strategy? you wait until Lenovo completely looses interest in producing Thinkpads, and then buy out the entire unit, creating a company.
And more seriously: I don't know if 3d printing magnesium-alloy is already possible or not...
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#8 Post by shahidt » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:17 am

Has anyone considered creating a change.org petition? Not sure how much that'd help, but it is something. I can create one, if you guys will vote.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#9 Post by kony » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:38 am

Just wait until CES and see if there are any news?

Personally I don't care about retro project much. I just wish they'd finally put a decent screen on T/X series.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#10 Post by shahidt » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:06 am

Yeah, as long as they put a 4:3 or 3:2 screen on the current models, I am good too.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#11 Post by bgx » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:09 pm

I just had a thought on the matter.

Why not start a new project like the X330, but instead of using a larger 16:9 screen, do it with a 3:2 screen. That's the number 1 item people want in the retro thinkpad.

Why not do it "ourselves" (well ask ppl at nb51 to do it ;))? which screen/machine would work? may be pick up the 12.85" 3:2 panel of a surface 4pro or the 13.xx panel of the surface book. There is so much vertical bezel space on thinkpad that it should be quite doable.

What do you guys think?

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#12 Post by 600X » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:08 pm

3:2 is too tall for 16:9 ThinkPads, despite the gigantic bezel. You could do 16:10 pretty easily though. Personally, I've given up on tall screen ThinkPads. Lenovo is a follower, not a leader. They will only switch to tall screens when everyone else does, so if you really care for that, you'll have to switch manufacturer, at least for now. Microsoft and Google are leaders in this regard.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#13 Post by Summilux » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:32 am

As I wrote above a few months ago, to me the cleanest way to do it would be to either do it ourselves through a dedicated group of engineers backed with a Kickstarter campaign, or to group up and ask Quanta to design us a legacy T/X clone.

The latter option wouldn't be the most cost-efficient, but if we lack technical and organisational skills, that could be a sure bet.

I'd prefer an X, but would settle for a 14"-ish T if that meant a consensus could be found.
The only deal breaker would be the lack of a classic (non-island) keyboard.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#14 Post by creshal » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:22 am

16:10, 3:2 and 4:3 panels are mainly available in the 12-13ish" range, so it'd most likely be an X-ish model, unless you want 16:9.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#15 Post by shahidt » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:24 am

I guess 13" would be a good compromise then

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#16 Post by Summilux » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:29 pm

A 4:3 or 3:2 13" X would be fantastic for my use.

But I know there are users who are after bigger machines, up to W size... so I could upsize if they'd be willing to downsize.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#17 Post by creshal » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:35 pm

Problem with that is the utter lack of plausible display candidates. Apple has exclusive contracts for their panel from all we hear, and that leaves exactly zero non-16:9 panels bigger than 14". And Lenovo seems to be unwilling to foot the (admittedly unreasonable) bill for an exclusive.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#18 Post by Summilux » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:30 am

Naja. I guess 13" panels would still draw a good number of people ; the rest of the specs would have to be decided upon, but it probably wouldn't be too hard to agree on a middle road which would cater to all.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#19 Post by hoichi » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:26 pm

Summilux wrote:A 4:3 or 3:2 13" X would be fantastic for my use.

But I know there are users who are after bigger machines, up to W size... so I could upsize if they'd be willing to downsize.
Personally, I do want more screen estate than my 12.5'' X220 has, but a 4:3 or 3:2 13'' may actually help me out more than a 16:9 14'', because with my usage (IDEs etc.) I rather miss the vertical space.

Aaand hi everybody! Just registered :oops:

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#20 Post by hoichi » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:35 pm

Summilux wrote:The only deal breaker would be the lack of a classic (non-island) keyboard.
I wonder how many of those xx20 series keyboards are still out there, and if any new ones is still being produced.

Maybe it could work as a Frankenpad-kit that would get you a display, complete with a lid, and a case/palmrest where you’d house an xx20 keyboard and a xx60/70 motherboard you’d have bought yourself.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#21 Post by Summilux » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:49 pm

hoichi wrote:Aaand hi everybody! Just registered :oops:
Privet :wink:
hoichi wrote: I wonder how many of those xx20 series keyboards are still out there, and if any new ones is still being produced.
The production has certainly been stopped.
hoichi wrote:Maybe it could work as a Frankenpad-kit that would get you a display, complete with a lid, and a case/palmrest where you’d house an xx20 keyboard and a xx60/70 motherboard you’d have bought yourself.
The problem with this approach is that the mobo's BIOS would still have to be tweaked to accomodate the classic keyboard. Else the mapping would be messed up.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#22 Post by hoichi » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:59 pm

Summilux wrote:The problem with this approach is that the mobo's BIOS would still have to be tweaked to accomodate the classic keyboard. Else the mapping would be messed up.
Oh yeah, haven’t thought about that. But it was done for that xx20→xx30 transplant, so it might work. Even with the limited amount of keyboards, that might satisfy a few enthusiasts.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#23 Post by Cigarguy » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:05 am

Wouldn't it be nice if you could pick your choice of keyboard at time of buying. Similar to that of picking a screen. Lenovo can implement this easy enough. It would also endure Lenovo to those of us who will not even consider a Thinkpad post Sandybridge (Tx20, Xx20, and Wx20.)

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#24 Post by creshal » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:23 am

hoichi wrote:
Summilux wrote:The problem with this approach is that the mobo's BIOS would still have to be tweaked to accomodate the classic keyboard. Else the mapping would be messed up.
Oh yeah, haven’t thought about that. But it was done for that xx20→xx30 transplant, so it might work.
It worked with the 30 series because the bios could still be modded without triggering Boot Guard. I'm not sure that's still possible.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#25 Post by Summilux » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:05 pm

Cigarguy wrote:Wouldn't it be nice if you could pick your choice of keyboard at time of buying. Similar to that of picking a screen. Lenovo can implement this easy enough. It would also endure Lenovo to those of us who will not even consider a Thinkpad post Sandybridge (Tx20, Xx20, and Wx20.)
This very idea had been proposed earlier, as very cheap and sensible solution to increase their market share, but Lenovo being Lenovo.............
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#26 Post by nitrocaster » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:41 am

hoichi wrote: Personally, I do want more screen estate than my 12.5'' X220 has, but a 4:3 or 3:2 13'' may actually help me out more than a 16:9 14'', because with my usage (IDEs etc.) I rather miss the vertical space.:
You may want to put FHD display in your X220. That brings a lot of screen estate.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#27 Post by Puppy » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:46 am

Just (my) another naive post in Lenovo asocial CES 2017 forum :wink:
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#28 Post by hoichi » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:41 pm

nitrocaster wrote:You may want to put FHD display in your X220. That brings a lot of screen estate.
Actually, I’ve preordered the T420s/T430s FHD upgrade kit, so if it comes I’m gonna try a T430s with a T420 keyboard and an FHD IPS.

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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#29 Post by Summilux » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:12 am

Puppy wrote:Just (my) another naive post in Lenovo asocial CES 2017 forum :wink:
'Love your speculations Puppy :lol:
Still silence so lets start to speculate

(60%) the project has been cancelled because it is going against current Lenovo vision to produce low components cost generic laptops with ThinkPad sticker
(30%) the project continues but a lot of quality and feature compromises has been applied so it is far from the original idea
(10%) the project will have expected outcome later in 2017
hoichi wrote:Actually, I’ve preordered the T420s/T430s FHD upgrade kit, so if it comes I’m gonna try a T430s with a T420 keyboard and an FHD IPS.
Nice kit, great job from the bros at 51nb. Gotta respect the Chinese DIY scene.
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Re: How to speed up the Retro Thinkpad Project

#30 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:29 am

Maybe Lenovo should get rid of David Hill and hire the likes of Javie-Jie and Hope instead?

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