Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lenovo Thinkpad Edge laptops to 'reject' third-party batteries

Lenovo is planning a refresh of its ThinkPad Edge mainstream laptop line, which will add Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors and USB 3.0 to a slightly lighter design. However, a source has told The Verge that the new ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 will also add a "Battery Safeguard" feature, not to safeguard you against defective batteries, but to safeguard Lenovo's coffers from an invasion of third party batteries.

With "Battery Safeguard," Lenovo laptops will scan batteries to ensure that only genuine Lenovo batteries are installed. They will look for a special chip, and if that chip is missing, they will "reject" the battery.

It's not because of "safety" reasons that Lenovo does this. It's similar to how some printer vendors have added chips to their ink cartridges for the same reason. Some Lenovo laptops flash the message "Genuine Lenovo Battery Not Attached" if third-party batteries are used.

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Just as with the ink cartridge chips, it's just another way of OEMs to force consumers to only buy "official" (translation: expensive) replacement parts. It really makes more "sense" with ink cartridges, which are replaced frequently, while laptop batteries are not.

Still, this could become an expensive proposition for consumers.

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