Not to be outdone by its competitors, Lenovo is preparing to release an ultrathin, ultra-light laptop computer.

Lenovo engineers have produced the ThinkPad X300 that weighs in at an anorexic 2.5 pounds and – with screen open – stands about as tall as two 12-ounce  beverage cans.

Two Web sites first reported leaked photos and details about the new ThinkPad over the weekend. The leaks came after Apple announced last week its miniscule, thin (less than 1-inch tall when closed), lightweight MacBook Air. Sony, Toshiba and Dell have entries in the lightweight, small space as well.

However, some details about Lenovo’s X300 are as yet unavailable – such as price and release date.

The smaller laptops are not cheap. For example, the Apple model will retail for around $1,800.

Interestingly, Lenovo, which maintains its headquarters in Morrisville, chose a ThinkPad title for the machine. The name dates to Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s personal computer division, which was largely based in Research Triangle Park, and Big Blue’s ThinkPad brand name.

In its most recent publicly announced lineup of new PCs, both laptop and desktop, Lenovo chose its own name – IdeaPad. The switch is part of Lenovo’s attempt to establish its own global name separate from IBM and also to increase sales to consumers. IBM did not target consumers for its PCs.

Lenovo holds less than 8 percent of the global PC market share and ranks fourth behind HP, Dell and Acer. However, its sales are continuing to grow. Increasing brand identity and selling more to individuals are two of the company’s key strategies entering 2008, where it also will receive much exposure as a major sponsor of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

According to the leaked X300 details published by the Web sites Gizmodo and Laptop Logic, the laoptop won’t lack features or size.

• It packs a 13.3 inch screen

• The screen is backlit, enabling use in bright or dim conditions

• The processor is the Intel Santa Rosa Dual Core, the latest from the chip maker

• The memory is a whopping 64 gigabytes

• Up to 4 gigabytes of RAM should enable fast processing

• Battery life is up to four hours

Other standard Lenovo features include a fingerprint reader for security plus wireless capability (WiFi, WiMax, Bluetooth).

For photos and other details about the X300, see Web links with this story.