ThinkPad loyalists will almost certainly direct their attention to the new trackpad when first laying eyes on the T431s. Or, perhaps, they’ll spot the notable (and very deliberate) omission of the physical buttons that have historically sat just beneath and above a far smaller tracking surface. According to Parrish, the overall concept was to “simplify the appearance of two pointing devices in ThinkPad notebook design and maximize touchpad area — while optimizing it for interaction with Windows 8.” A tricky approach, no doubt, given that a solid swath of ThinkPad users have no doubt grown used to mousing with the crimson-clad, centrally located nub. The end result is a five-button clickpad, as it was detailed to me, which supports 20 gestures and handles northerly clicks for those who refuse to switch from using the aforementioned pointing stick.
So I guess Linux support is out? Right now I’m pissed at the desktop environment mess, but once the dust has settled, I’ll probably be going back. I’d like to go back to Linux on a Thinkpad, but if Lenovo chooses to block me from that, I’ll buy a computer from some other OEM that does let me.