IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad X41T: The original iconic Tablet PC
This is the thinkpad x410, and this would have the distinction of essentially being the first tablet computer. That would bear the thinkpad name for a good long. While there had been previous ones, but nothing quite like this, so to give you a bit of background information on the x41t, it was released in may of 2005 and was the tablet version of the x41 that was developed by ibm. Now, at this time, ibm has just sold its pc division to lenovo, and that, of course, does include thinkpad, while it would be a little bit of time before lenovo would develop their fully own independent branded thinkpad. This would be the very first machine that would be made after lenovo acquired ibm, and this was a very busy and exciting time, and i know this because ive talked to some of the people that were there in fact rob herman who ive spoken to on this Channel not too long ago, and if you want to see the full interview you can, click right over here was the product manager for this device and im just going to splice in a couple of words that he recalls when this thing was being developed. That was an exciting time for our brand. I mean you, you brought up the x1 and the x1 carbon. I mean those were definitely ground, breaking and exciting products, but you know, even even back in that time frame that was 2004, 2005 and uh at the time.
I was managing the thinkpad product management team, so i had the whole portfolio and the x41 i mean i, i thought it was a great product. I had a very capable product manager, uh um, who worked on that product. I i had a lot of confidence in him and honestly, i didnt really pay a lot of attention as as that product was coming to market, and it was you know the finalizing development on it and and one day you know the product manager jeff. He came into my office, he said rob here. Is the x41 tablet check out? You know the the the twist and and flip um. You know feature of this check out the the garaged pen, uh and and uh. You know just just all these different features and i said: hey jeff i id like uh a svt unit which is basically our beta. You know before we get to final production, and so he he gave me one, and i was hooked. I i just. I could not believe how capable that product was. I mean it really. We designed it as a notebook first and uh a tablet second, but a very capable tablet, and then you know just the innovations that were happening with um. You know pen enablement, like uh the the wacom digitizer uh, the uh, the windows for tablet, uh capabilities that were out there and just the the ease of being able to write. I mean i, i used to write a lot so um and id gotten away from that over the years, just using a standard form factor product and i just fell in love with the ability to take notes, digitally and – and you know, just use natural handwriting uh.
So so it was, it was quite an amazing product and you think about you know the innovations that we had there theyve, really you you can really see a number of them and and the products that we have today the x41 tablet. I it caught me by surprise and, and i i fell in love with it for a number of years and used it so lets get back to talking about the x 41t in terms of its physical form. There was a lot of unique and distinguishing characteristics that made it very different from the x41 that it was based upon. The first off was a unique set of batteries in which you can see one that sticks out here along the back, and it was essentially either a four or eight cell battery. So this would be the eight and you would expect to get around two and a half hours to six and a half hours with those and then the x 40 extended life battery, which fits to the bottom would add additional life as well. There was an additional cpu option, which was the pentium m: ultra low voltage or the pentium m low voltage, and the ulv was the 753 and then the lv was either the 558 or the 778 and those were available after march of 2006.. Obviously, because of the tablet design and where the latch is means that you do not have a think light on this model, the gpu on the inside was an intel graphics, media, accelerator 900, and that was powering.
This 12.1 inch 1024 by 768 tft panel, which was a whopping 180 nets and, of course, supports the digitizer, which has a garage where the pen fits right in in terms of ram youre. Looking at 256 or 512 megabytes of ddr2 533 sd ram solder to the board, and you could upgrade that with the memory slots to 1.25 or one and a half gigabytes, which was the official maximum. But a two gigabyte stick works perfectly fine because of the unique size theres a 1.8 inch ide hard drive in here, and it was shipped from the factory either in 40 or 60 gigabyte sizes. The fingerprint reader that you see over here was optional as well. Was the optional bluetooth module these machines also shipped with a special edition of windows xp, which was the tablet edition and excitingly enough thats exactly the image that is on this device? Obviously, the screen can rotate and latch down here and can be used for writing and we do have access to a set of hardware buttons that allow us to rotate the screen open up and use basic keyboard shortcuts and, of course, power on and off the machine. We also have front and back arrows, which are a nice addition that didnt survive on future iterations of this design. So with that being said, weve got a lot more to talk about so lets go ahead and take a look at some of the ports and features that are available on this thing.
So, on the right hand, side we have the power plug for charging vga. We have technically two usb ports, the top one is standard. The bottom one is to provide power, only its three pin. We do have an exhaust there. The pen garage is here on the front, we have the latch mechanism and on the other side we have the pcmcia card slot. We have the headphone and microphone jacks that are separate an sd card reader, another usb port, your ethernet and modem, and then, of course, the kensington lock slot on the bottom of the device. We have some of our upgrade bays and we have, of course, the connector for not only the port replicator or the docking station, but this is also where your extra battery slice would attach, speaking of which here it is so this is the docking station that was Standard with this device – and as you can see on the bottom, it is called the thinkpad x4 dock, so this would also work with the 41, the 40 and 41 t, which of course, we have here now. This does give you an ultra bay that can be hot, swapped and ejected, which is excellent to see this one is particularly stiff and has a dvd multi plus, and you can see that it is ibm branded just because of that transition period. On the other side, we have the lock and then, of course, if youve seen my previous video on picking those theyre, not super secure, but its a good effort.
Nonetheless, and then on the back, we have the rest of our i o, which includes vga serial parallel printer port, your replication of the modem and ethernet three usb ports, your essentially keyboard and or mouse ps2 plug and then of course, power and then a kensington lock. Slot and luckily for us, this thing works like a charm still so im going to plug that in and put it off to the side, all right so before we get too carried away. Lets talk about some disassembly here. Removal of the battery is quite simple. We just want to make sure that the battery lock catches moved off to the side. Then we can pull this one and remove the battery. It is interesting to note, while the main parts of the laptop are still branded ibm as part of the brand deal that they had, the battery is marked lenovo lets start with some disassembly of the obvious components. So if we spin out these three screws here, we can see our single ram upgrade module. We can see a massively oversized wi fi card and that apparently is the thinkpad, 4 or thinkpad bluetooth 4, with 56k modem card, all in one huh go figure. The pin does need to be removed, letting you know here that pictogram and if we remove that and spin, this screw out that uh little trap door removes, and ideally there would be another piece that allows the easy extraction of the hard drive there.
We go with our friends pliers. We were able to get that open, no problem, and this is the 60 gigabyte variant and, as you can see, those sorts of drives are rather unique in size and provide all sorts of problematic opportunities when it comes to replacing them. Just because of their height and their size because of the height, it would be exceptionally difficult to use, say a device like this just because of the height difference, as you can see its not about to really fit in there, at least not by pushing it. In so with this cover removed, we are nearly ready to remove the keyboard. There are a variety of screws that still need to be removed. However, to do that and in traditional thinkpad fashion, they are all labeled all right with all of the keyboard screws finally lifted out, and there are a lot of them. You can gain access to the cmos battery. We can, of course, disconnect and remove the keyboard, and then the only other thing to come out is this plastic bezel and, as you can see, this ones had a rough life and has broken in several places, which is not uncommon and then to disassemble this. The rest of the way kind of involves a three handed measure that im not really going to bother to go into today, but those are all the primarily serviceable components. The other thing that i will point out is that, at least on my example, the hinge mechanism has gotten exceptionally loose, possibly broken, and it does not appear even with further disassembly to be any real way to tighten it if there are any enthusiasts or owners of These older devices that know a way to refresh or tighten it.
Please. Let me know in the comments down below, because id love to hear about it, im going to go ahead and reassemble this and im going to throw it on the docking station and were going to boot into windows. Xp tablet edition all right now that we have the dock all ready to go. We will drop this down, see that the indicator has illuminated that it is successfully docked. We will open up this very creaky display, hit the power button and listen to that glorious glorious boot. Again, not a super bright screen, 180 nits not going to be winning any brightness contests, and there is the windows xp logo, and i have not seen that in a good long. While almost makes you nostalgic all right and we are in so as you can see, this is running the pretty much the original boot image of what would come on these devices and well raise the brightness as high as we can get it so this device it Doesnt end up being too camera shy, and this is quite the time capsule because you can see it has the original thinkpad tablet wallpaper. It has all of the ibm utilities that lenovo was using under license at the time of this things, development and its uh, its just such a fascinating uh experience looks like rob owned. This, probably not the same rob im. Thinking of though so weve got everything from like different applications for tablet pc, like sticky notes, windows journal, weve got sticky notes.
All sorts of things like that. The access ibm software is all running, live on this thing, so for fingerprint access we can go ahead and configure that if we really wanted to – and of course, if we wanted to use this in its tablet configuration, we can go ahead and do that, although it Seems to automatically go to that. I think i accidentally disconnected it yep. I did so. As you can see, this is uh quite an experience using something like this. As you can see, the screen rotation button works like a champ, so you can have it in whatever orientation that you want some of the other tools that came with it, of course, would have been things like microsoft or windows journal and sticky notes. So i could be like Music to do list and then i can be like um need to film next. Thank pad right. Click, of course, is done by hitting the button on the side. You can toggle quickly between the eraser by using the top one, which is a bit handy, because if you want to erase some chicken scratch, you can just do that very quickly. All in all, even though the x41 is definitely retro in every sense of the word, i could connect this to the internet, but man, oh man, running windows, xp. I certainly would not want to do that just because of the security vulnerabilities, and this thing is really well preserved in terms of its software.
It might not be a perfect example cosmetically, but you can really get an idea for what a tablet experience was in the xp era, and i think this goes to show that lenovo was taking things pretty seriously when they took over ibm and wanting to make sure That they could do new and interesting things, and the x 41t is one of several of those ideas that i think got off the ground in a really big way. That probably wouldnt have happened if the company or if the brand stayed in the hands of ibm. If you want to have a better understanding of some of the complexities of that history, you might actually want to go check out my x 300 video series up here. I have the chance to talk to david hill and the development of the x300 and what a landmark product that was showing that lenovo knew what they were doing when it came to innovating and handling the thinkpad brand. At any rate, ladies and gentlemen, i really hope that you enjoyed the look at this tablet. It is a beautiful piece of equipment that was ahead of its time in a lot of ways and was a trendsetter for what tablets would essentially become for years afterwards with the x220t, the x230t, and you can see little features here and there that were obviously prototyped On this, that would make their way into future editions of thinkpad and touch computing in general.
If you do have any questions feel free to leave them in the comment section down below and as always im going to encourage you to do the big four please, like the video share, subscribe and hit that notification bell so the next time. I feature a cool tablet like this youll be the first to know about it.