Announcements of new Lenovo ThinkPad systems typically occur in the first few months of the year, with new systems eagerly awaited by Linux users and ThinkPad enthusiasts. Lenovo announced the first of the new ThinkPads for 2019 on Monday at the HIMMS19 Global Conference: The T490 Healthcare Edition, a specialized version intended for use in “nurses’ stations, patient rooms, medical diagnostics and executive offices,” according to a press release.
The T490 HE, Lenovo’s first healthcare-oriented ThinkPad, uses slightly different components to integrate more easily to the existing infrastructure, including a FIPS-201 Fingerprint Reader produced by Crossmatch, and an RFID reader by RF IDeas, for interoperability with existing ID badge infrastructure. The ThinkShutter-a cover for the webcam introduced on the currently available generation of systems-is now able to cover the IR camera as well.
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Lenovo also offers their screen-obscuring PrivacyGuard protection on the T490 HealthCare Edition, protecting screen contents from “shoulder surfers” attempting to look at the contents of your screen-particularly important due to the sensitive nature of electronic health records. PrivacyGuard is an integrated alternative to the aftermarket 3M Privacy Filter film used to darken screens when viewed from the side. Like other implementations, such as HP’s SureView G3, it can be enabled and disabled using a button.
The T490 Healthcare Edition also includes an antimicrobial surface for infection control. Previous ThinkPads have offered this only for keyboards, though the option became substantially more rare as backlit keyboards became standard. This appears to be the first to offer it for the whole device chassis, however.
Availability for the T490 HE is claimed to start in July 2019, with pricing information available closer to that date.
Overall, the T490 HE is likely a useful glimpse into what is coming to standard models of the T490. The T490 HE is touted as using “the latest” 8th Gen Intel Core processors, Dolby Audio Premium and Cat 9 LTE (LTE Advanced) WWAN, with a device weight of 3.41 pounds (1.55 kg) and “up to 16 hours battery life.”
Based on product previews images, the T490 appears to use a completely new chassis. A leaked product roadmap indicates the T and X series, and the Yoga 390 are set to receive a new chassis, while the L-series is receiving only CPU upgrades this year.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The T490 HE, Lenovo’s first healthcare-oriented ThinkPad, uses slightly different components to integrate more easily to the existing infrastructure, such as RFID badges and fingerprint reader.
- The T490 HE is likely a useful glimpse into what is coming to standard models of the T490.