New-and-improved ThinkPad X301 comes August 26

— 6:00 AM on August 18, 2008

Many have coveted the ThinkPad X300 since its release six months ago, and it's not hard to understand why. Lenovo's slim 13.3" laptop delivers many of the ingredients that make Apple's MacBook Air so hip and sexy, but with a far more generous feature bundle (not to mention a user-removable battery). Sure, the ThinkPad is pricier and may get disdainful looks from art students, but that's not going to stop road warriors who need a built-in GPS, wireless WAN connectivity, or an integrated DVD burner.

The ThinkPad X300. Source: Lenovo.

How could Lenovo's MacBook Air killer get any better? A move to Intel's Centrino 2 platform would be a start. The X300 escaped the bulk of Lenovo's refresh earlier this month, but eWeek reports that a Centrino 2-toting ThinkPad X301 is in the works nevertheless.

The ThinkPad X301 will apparently stick to the same rough formula as the X300—13.3" LED-backlit display, 2.9-lb weight, and sub-1" thickness—but with new low-power Intel processors, DDR3 memory, and higher-capacity solid-state drives. You'll be able to order an X301 with 1.2GHz or 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo U9000-series chips, both packing 6MB caches and 1066MHz front-side buses. Storage options will include 80GB and 128GB SSDs, both steps up from the 64GB drive in the X300. Oh, and Lenovo's also going to throw in DisplayPort video output.

Look forward to the new ThinkPad on August 26. Be prepared to shell out at least $2,599 for the privilege of owning one, though, and expect to wait until September for the 128GB variant.

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