New laptop agreement eliminates slate and UltraBook

Chief Information Officer Dr. Stephen Landry announced the finalization of the laptop selection for Mobile Computing 2013 as the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, instead of the slate or Samsung Ultrabook from this year.

The idea to change to the Lenovo ThinkPad came from Student Government Association Sen. Drew Holden and Sen. Timothy Hoffman.

According to Landry, a group of Teaching, Learning and Technology representatives met with the SGA on Feb. 26 to get the input of members on the selection of a vendor for Mobile Computing 2013.

He said the SGA recommended that future junior refreshes be scheduled in early fall rather than spring, that the University adopt a single model for all majors and adopt a hybrid slate or PC rather than either a pure slate or an Ultrabook and that the University adopt the Lenovo Helix.

“Procurement and IT were able to negotiate the following model that meets the requirements for the Mobile Computing 2013 (Request for Proposals) and that fits within the Mobile Computing Program budget while providing this model as the standard model for all incoming students, freshmen and transfer and all juniors, except those in the Mac program,” Landry said.

Holden said he thought giving students all the same laptop would be beneficial because if everyone has the same computer, repairs will be easier and because no one student would be paying more than another.

“The tablets cost more than the Ultrabooks, which I would assume made some students uncomfortable,” Holden said. “Further, I think that moving to a hybrid computer gives students the flexibility of a tablet, the utility of an Ultrabook and avoids the pitfalls of each machine.”

He said unlike the current tablets, the Helix snaps into its keyboard, making it look more like a normal laptop, rather than the slate that has a keyboard that is not attached.

“It is smaller than an Ultrabook and has the detachable tablet portion for easy use on the go, just like a normal tablet,” Holden said.

Holden said an aspect of the Lenovo that he liked was that it holds an additional four hours of battery life in its keyboard, lasting for 10 hours rather than the Samsung’s duration of five to seven.

Hoffman said this new selection is more convenient and fits the needs of all students.

“Some students were not happy being forced to take a tablet or to take an Ultrabook, and we feel that the Lenovo Helix provides the most flexibility for students and should meet the needs of everyone on campus,” Hoffman said.

According to Landry, the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Ultrabook Convertible Computer comes with Window 8 Pro, Intel i5-3317U processor, 4GB RAM, 256 GB solid state drive (SSD), 11.6 inch multitouch screen with full high-definition (1920 by 1080) resolution, a docking keyboard, dual internal batteries (one on the slate and one in the keyboard) for five hours each of battery life, a digitizer pen and a three-year warranty and asset damage protection insurance.

“Delivery of the first batch of units to develop the SHU software image will arrive later this month,” Landry said. “Faculty units will be available in early June. Freshmen will receive their laptops during their June and August orientations. Junior refresh will be rescheduled for September.”

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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