The audio controller driver of this particular laptop seems to interfere with the functionality of the SpeechMikes and prevents them from being recognized as a microphone in Windows. Another manifestation of this problem is a distorted playback via the SpeechMikes speaker.
During our investigation it turned out that this laptop seems to have a sampling rate depending problem and setting the sampling rate of the SpeechMike to 44,1 kHz solves the problem.
You can change the sampling rate of the SpeechMike from 22.05 kHz to 44.1 kHz via the attached SamplingRateTool, which includes a readme.txt how to use it.
Note: A general change of the default sampling rate to 44.1 kHz via new firmware seems to be much too risky at the moment, as there are only 1-2 support cases in this regard.
Why Lenovo does not fix the issue?
Lenovo point to their warranty policy which excludes that the following is not part of this warranty:
"Pre-installed or retrofitted software programs or software programs that come with the machine".
This is clearly an Intel driver issue, but Intel refers to Lenovo:
Intel is not able to validate compatibility between USB Audio devices and third-party systems like laptops. In regards to this behaviour, we would like to inform you that the Intel® Smart Sound Technology (Intel® SST) Driver is not posted to intel.com website (the driver is provided directly to the computer manufacturers) and we don't provide support for this on third-party systems.
For drivers and support for Intel® Smart Sound Technology on your laptop, we recommend that you refer back to your computer vendor (OEMs) for your laptop as they can provide you with the required support.