As we reported at CES, Lenovo is planning a refresh of its ThinkPad Edge mainstream laptop line, bringing Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors and some USB 3.0 ports in a slightly lighter design. Now, a source tells us that the new ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 will be the first of the company's laptops to bring a feature you probably don't want: "Battery Safeguard." Though the name makes it sound like additional protection for your battery, our source says it's actually all about protecting Lenovo's bottom line, as it's designed to make sure only official Lenovo batteries work in Lenovo laptops from now on. Allegedly, the laptop will scan for a special new chip that only Lenovo's battery packs will have installed, and will refuse to work without it.
If that sounds familiar, that's because another electronics category uses the same tactic. For years, printer ink cartridges have been chipped to help guide purchases. If true, this also wouldn't be the first time Lenovo's attempted to steer buyers towards its first-party lithium-ion packs. Some laptops flash the message "Genuine Lenovo Battery Not Attached" if aftermarket cells are used.
On an unrelated note, the new E430 and E530 series will apparently have some interesting factory options on tap, but you can't have them all at once. The regular E430 and E530 will have a soft-touch finish, but you can apparently get an aluminum lid and an anti-glare screen in the E430 Plus and E530 Plus... though you sacrifice the 10-key numpad on the 15-inch E530 when you do so. Also, don't expect an AMD chip in May, when these laptops launch. Only the 15-inch model will get an AMD Trinity processor, according to our source, and it allegedly won't show up until June.