Life is good for Lenovo. For the third straight quarter, the company reported record market share numbers in the worldwide PC shipments business, which helped Lenovo double its profits from one quarter ago. Now it appears Lenovo will try to duplicate that success in the smartphone market as it prepares to buy the entire interest of Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology from an investor group.
"For the first time since the acquisition of IBM PCD, Lenovo was the fastest-growing PC company in the world," Yang Yuanquing, Lenovo's CEO, said in a statement. "In the future, while we continue to expand our PC business, we also want to attack the mobile Internet category to drive growth and capitalize our innovation efforts."
Sure the move is risky, but given its recent success, Lenovo can afford to take a gamble. And as Technology Business Research analyst John Spooner puts it, "Lenovo is hitting its stride" and is in "full-on attack mode." So what are the plans for the smartphone biz?
Spooner says Lenovo will target customers in rural China and other markets with lower-priced devices, which include both smartphones and netbooks.
What's all this talk of a tech recession? It's apparently of no consequence to Lenovo, who reported a 42 percent year-over-year increase in worldwide PC shipments during the company's third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2009.
Even more remarkable, this marks the third straight quarter Lenovo has been able to boast its highest market share ever, this time at 9 percent. By comparison, industry PC shipments increased 17 percent during the same time period.
"For the first time since the acquisition of IBM PCD, Lenovo was the fastest growing PC company in the world. We have achieved our highest ever global market share for the third straight quarter and notably increased profitability. These achievements demonstrated the effectiveness of the strategies we mapped out at the beginning of the year," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO. "In the future, while we continue to expand our PC business, we also want to attack the mobile internet category to drive growth and capitalize our innovation efforts."
All across the board Lenovo has reason to celebrate. Operating profit, for example, hit $99 million for the quarter, which is twice as much as the company claimed in the previous quarter.
Following a series of cyberattacks on Google and 33 other large-scale U.S. institutions suspected to have originated from China, Google earlier this week said it would delay the China launch of a pair of cell phones made by Samsung and Motorola. But if there was any fear that Google would attempt to stop all Android-based smartphones from launching overseas, you can put those concerns to rest. According to Lenovo, the company has every intention of releasing its Android-based LePhone in China this May, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"LePhone uses the Android operating system but we tailor our phones with our own applications. We are cooperating with other major Chinese Internet service providers including Sina, Sohu, and Tencent," said Lenovo Chief Technology Officer He Zhiquiang.
Meanwhile, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said his company remains "quite committed" to staying in China, but how that plays out is anyone's guess. Google last week also vowed to no longer censor its Chinese website, even if it led to halting operations in the country. This was reiterated on Thursday when Schmidt said his company will make changes to its now-censored search results in a "reasonably short time."
America loves split personalities -- how else do you explain Hanna Montana's rise to stardom? -- and that's exactly what Lenovo aims to deliver with its new IdeaPad U1 laptop/tablet hybrid.
"The IdeaPad U1 hybrid notebook is a game-changing technology in the PC industry that lets users switch their PC experience within a single device to match their dynamic lifestyle," said Liu Jun, senior vice president, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. "By fusing the functionality of a notebook with the slate tablet's rich multitouch entertainment and mobile Internet experience, U1 provides consumers the freedom to choose the device they prefer for any activity."
On the portability front, Lenovo says the IdeaPad U1 has a footprint slightly smaller than a sheet of notebook paper and weights just 3.8 pounds. And in terms of the hardware, the hybrid notebook sports an 11.6-inch HD LED display and Core 2 Duo SU processor. Remove the outer display, however, and it transforms into a tablet with a Qualcomm ARM Snapdragon processor.
Other features includes 4GB of RAM (512MB in slate/tablet mode), a pair of USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, VGA, HDMI, 4-in-1 memory card reader, and a 1.3MP webcam.
Can you remember the last time Lenovo unveiled a high-end tower system aimed at the performance crowd? It's a bit of a trick question, because up until now, that's been new territory for Lenovo. Not anymore, starting with the just-unveiled IdeaCentre K320.
The K320's base configuration screams of modesty with its Core i3 processor, but fully decked out, you can piece together a beast of a system with an Intel Core i7 860 CPU, ATI Radeon HD 5970 videocard, and a Blu-ray burner, among other options. These and other amenities will jack up the starting price from $600 to $2,000 when it launches on January 31st.
Switching gears, Lenovo also plans to launch the IdeaCentre C315 nettop down the road on March 1st. It will come configured with an Intel Atom 330 processor, up to 640GB of storage space, optional ATI Radeon 4530 graphics, and a DVD burner. Seems a bit pricey at $650 though.
CES is just around the corner, and that means lots of new product announcements and sneak peeks at upcoming projects. The excitment can be too much to contain, and in some cases, that means catching a glimpse at what's in store even before the annual convention kicks off, whether intentional or not. Take Lenovo, for instance, whose "New product showcase" page reveals half a dozen new laptops scheduled to go on sale starting January 5th-7th.
Kicking off the new lineup is theThinkPad Edge, a sleek 13.3-inch ultraportable with a spill-resistant keyboard, dual-core processor, up to 7.8 hours of battery life, three USB ports, and "clean lines with color and finish options." This one will go on sale January 5th.
So too will the ThinkPad X100e ultraportable, which sports an 11.6-inch HD display and weighs less than 3 pounds. It will come equipped with an AMD processor and boast corporate OS support and "robust warranty options."
Other upcoming models, each of which is slated to go on sale January 7th, include the ThinkPad T410s (14.1-inch, up to Intel Core i5 processor), ThinkPad T410 and T510 (up to Intel Core i7), ThinkPad W510 (up to Intel Core i5), and ThinkCentre A70z desktop (19-inch display).
Five years ago, when IBM sold its consumer PC division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, business users trembled. ThinkPads were a staple of the IT community not because they were attractive, nor especially powerful, nor dirt cheap. IT guys often insisted on ThinkPads because they were simple, durable, and reliable. Price was "low enough" and performance was "good enough." Five years later, we can safely say that Lenovo has kept the ThinkPad principles alive. If anything, one could complain that it hasn't evolved enough. The SL510 model is a good example of this.
Is it fast? It's fast enough. The particular configuration we reviewed, clocking in at $999.00 at press time, comes with a Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz with 3MB of L2 cache), a decent 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive, but only 3GB of DDR3-1066 memory. It's outfitted with Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. It's built on Intel's GM965 chipset platform with GMA4500 integrated graphics. Our configuration includes Intel's 5100 AGN wireless adapter as well as an AT&T-ready 3G radio with GPS. If you can't decide whether you like to use a touchpad or a eraser-head like "nub", you'll be happy to see the SL510 includes both.
It doesn't matter how good you've been all year, Santa won't be placing an Atom N450-based netbook under the Christmas tree this year. But on the bright side, you may not have to wait long. According to reports, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and MSI, all of which originally planned on launching Atom N450-based netbooks this month, will release the units on January 11, 2010.
The decision to hold off until then complies with their agreement with Intel to only launch the products after January 10. There will be three versions of Atom N450-based netbooks using different OSes, the most popular (and expensive) expected to be Windows 7 Starter. The other two include Moblin Linux and Windows XP Home.
Here's an ad campaign we're willing to be you've never seen before. In an effort to prove just how tough their laptops are, Lenovo has outfitted buses and tram shuttles throughout Germany with the company's Thinkpad notebooks installed as seats.
That's right, Lenovo is daring Germans to plant their hind quarters on an open Thinkpad as prospective buyers are shuttled to Lenovo Roadshows all across the country.
A couple of questions immediately come to mind. Can this kind of seating really be good for sperm counts? And what happens if you have a bad case of gas? In that case, it sucks to be the next guy who's more interested in surfing the web than sitting on a laptop that's seen more ass than Paris Hilton.
The guts of the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 are virtually identical to the IdeaPad S10 that we reviewed back in 2008—1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, and integrated Intel GMA950 graphics. The difference is the body. At 11.4 inches wide, this is one of the largest “netbooks” we’ve ever tested. The S12 has a 12.1-inch WXGA screen with a 1280x800 native resolution—far superior to the netbook-standard 1024x600, and much more usable. The glossy screen is impressively bright even at low LED-backlight levels.
The S12’s keyboard features large, comfortable keys and is a joy to type on, although as usual, Lenovo has mixed up where the Ctrl and Fn keys should be. The glossy black patterned lid and matte-black ABS frame make the S12 one of the best-looking and best-constructed netbooks we’ve ever tested, although the battery is a little wobbly and the lid is a fingerprint magnet. Both RAM and hard drive are easily accessible and upgradeable.