Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Like every other enterprise, Lenovo is jumping into the red-hot “cloud” business, but with its own twists.

The world’s No. 4 PC maker says it is the first to provide the capability to link its PCs directly to the cloud, utilizing the latest Intel Core chips.

Plus, Lenovo is offering a secure cloud service.

The package, says Lenovo, means customers can connect simply and securely to applications through the cloud “anytime, anywhere.”

What’s the end game? More enterprise business, says ZDnet.

“With the move Lenovo is looking to tie its devices in with cloud data center overhauls,” the website reports.

Cloud computing is all about shared access and the ability to gain computing/server power on demand. Everybody and his brother claims to be “cloud” enabled these days.

However, Lenovo has sought to set itself apart with application programming interfaces, or APIs, to connect to a cloud.

Its “Lenovo Secure Cloud Access” is designed to provide a safe environment through which a users’ desktop resembles that one in the office. Lenovo worked with Stoneware webNetwork for the cloud access service.

“For cloud computing to be truly effective, the cloud must recognize the client device and its capabilities, and the applications and resources have to be capable of exposing themselves to the cloud,” said Rich Cheston, Lenovo’s executive director and “distinguished engineer.”

“That’s why Lenovo Cloud Ready Client and SCA are a match made in heaven,” he added. “SCA levels the playing field between cloud application and device by mirroring what users are already familiar with while creating an easy management experience for the IT staff.”

According to Lenovo, its service enables users to deploy a private cloud or a mix – a so-called hybrid. Plus, it’s geared to simpler sign-on access.

“If the user is operating a Lenovo Cloud Ready Client, SCA detects the device’s capabilities, such as processor performance, free memory, graphics and available bandwidth and takes advantage of those capabilities to optimize application delivery and end user experience securely,” Lenovo explained in its announcement.

The SCA supports multiple browsers, adding to its flexibility.

Lenovo also is expanding its security to the cloud client with a built-in finger print reader to augment or replace passwords.

The SCA service will cost $80 per user.

(Read full announcement here.)

Tablets and more tablets

In addition to the “cloud” efforts, reports surfaced Tuesday that Lenovo is expanding its tablet lineup.

In China, the People’s Daily quoted unnamed Lenovo officials as saying that the LePad tablets to be sold outside of China will have a different name. LePads went on sale in March.

The tablets will go on sale elsewhere in June and will have either Windows or Linux operating systems, the newspaper said.

“The new product has its own name. The new products that will be sold in foreign countries will support the new name, and whether the new products that will be sold in China’s domestic market continue to use the name LePad is still uncertain. Nevertheless, these new products will be part of Lenovo’s Tablet PC family,” officials were quoted as saying. (Read full story here.)

Meanwhile, the website TechRadar reported that Lenovo is also working on a 23-inch tablet PC for use primarily in home and businesses rather than on-the-go.

Citing information from a senior marketing specialist, William Cai, TechRadar said the home tablet will arrive later this year.

“It’s obviously not for full mobility use, but it could be moved from room to room in the house and used with a full keyboard, or as a television,” Cai said. “Or you could lay it on a table top and use it for family games.”

The home tablet could be on sale later this year, Cai added. (Read the TechRadar report here.

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