As you may know, the legendary IBM Thinkpad keyboard is almost dead. Lenovo plans to replace these keyboards with their "AccuType" chiclets. As you can see (I think the image is of the soon-to-be-released X230 ultraportable) there are changes to keyboard format. The main ones would be reducing the number of rows to only 6 and changing the keyboard key sizes.
The AccuType certainly a good keyboard but not as good as the IBM half height laptop keyboard. I think its much better than the chiclet keyboards found on other business grade laptops like Precisions, Elitebooks, and Macbooks.
I understand the reasoning behind the change. The benefits of a chiclet keyboard are pretty good: it allows easy keyboard backlighting, it can save space allowing you to cram larger trackpads, and you can generally have a thinner laptop.
But look at the picture. Can you really say Lenovo took advantage of any of the benefits besides keyboard backlighting?
1) Eliminating the 7th row and going chiclet saves quite a bit of space...however Lenovo has done nothing with the space savings. Look at this image and look at how much wasted space is at the top.
2) A shift to chiclet keys probably means no spill protection. Thinkpads are known for ruggedness so Lenovo has eliminated one of their main selling points.
3) The space savings don't really translate to a larger, more usable trackpad design. Its still as awful as the trackpad on the X220...it might be a little bit wider but still a bad design.
4) Lenovo still don't use 16:10 screens so there's this rather thick bezel under the screen.
So Lenovo has made a change only to take advantage of none of it. Even if they did think that the AccuType boards were 100% better than the IBM boards, the designers are still doing an awful job because there is just so much wasted space.
Not only that, their laptops are slowly becoming just another business laptop instead of being the only easily accessible business laptop (so no Panasonic Toughbooks) with good keyboards. I don't understand the business decision whatsoever.