M71z announced as Lenovo

Beijing, China-based Lenovo Group Ltd. has discontinued the entry-level model in their AIO (all-in-one) category of PCs and replaced it with the M71z. Besides packing the standard power upgrades, the M71z is also debuting at a more aggressive, cheaper price than the A70z: $599.

Bill Dominici, Lenovo’s product manager for monitors and AIO desktops for North America, said the refresh was meant to address “some of the pain points that business customers had in relation to all-in-ones.”

The company has added video-out to allow for multiple monitor configurations, adding support for Intel’s new core-i chipsets (up to core i7) and upgrading the display from 19 to 20 inches, Dominici said.

Between the new features and the existing ones — toolless entry for upgrades and a small footprint — Tim Brunt, senior analyst of personal computing and technology at Toronto based-IDC Canada Ltd., said Lenovo may be poised to “(do) very well at that price point.”

“If you look back a year and a half ago, most of the all-in-ones out there were basically sealed units, so they were very difficult to repair, difficult to upgrade, and that’s one of the reasons why they didn’t do so well in the market,” Brunt said.

He also said market trends put Lenovo in a good position. “In Q4 2009, the average AIO sold for $1,729, and in Q2 (2011), we’re at $1,086, so (a) huge price decline,” Brunt said. Despite the fact that Apple has long been a leader in the AIO space with the iMac, that figure puts the average selling price actually below Apple’s lowest-priced unit.

“That’s a pretty aggressive price point for an all-in-one in the commercial space,” he said.

The one caveat for enterprise adoption, however, according to Dominici, is the lack of VPro software support, something available in the more expensive M90z. He thinks that makes the M71z a safer bet for more budget-conscious government, educational and small business buys.

He also touted the costs saved from the power-saving benefits of the M71z, which he attributed to a “combination of what we’ve done with it from a Lenovo perspective and the benefits of it being an all-in-one.”

“It certainly makes it a difficult decision between buying a regular desktop compared to an all-in-one,” Brunt said.

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