One of the biggest surprises in the tech world this year came when Apple decided that it wouldn’t try to attract consumers in emerging markets by releasing a truly low-cost iPhone. Instead, the iPhone 5c that the company launched in September is mostly another high-end smartphone that’s slightly less expensive than the iPhone 5s off-contract because of its older hardware and cheaper plastic casing. Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, which has been the one company to actually thrive during the great PC sales collapse of 2013, now sees an opportunity to deliver to consumers in emerging markets and is planning to target consumers whom Apple has failed to reach with the iPhone 5c. More →
2013 has not been a good year for the PC market but Chinese manufacturer Lenovo has somehow managed to thrive despite facing the same set of challenging circumstances that have crushed OEMs such as Acer and Asus. As ZDNet notes, Lenovo actually grew its desktop PC shipments year-over-year in its second fiscal quarter this year, a pretty remarkable achievement given that overall desktop PC shipments declined by around 6% over the same period. Lenovo shipped a total of 14.1 million PCs on the quarter, which the company says gives it the fastest PC sales growth rate of any major vendor. More →
It looks like Chinese electronics giant Lenovo really was interested in BlackBerry after all. The Globe and Mail reports that although Lenovo was considering making a formal bid for the one-time Canadian smartphone titan, the Canadian government repeatedly told BlackBerry that such a move was a complete nonstarter because of national security concerns. BlackBerry was also seemingly cool to Lenovo’s overtures, mostly because even if the government changed its mind about approving it, it would still take months of review before passing off on a merger. That Ottawa flat-out rejected Lenovo’s bid for BlackBerry isn’t too surprising since BlackBerry is responsible for a lot of critical military and national security communications infrastructure in North America.
Undeterred by another recent tablet announcement, Lenovo has unveiled its own entries into the marketplace — the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10. The Yoga Tablet might not have the specs to compete with its competition, but what it lacks in screen resolution and processing power, it makes up for with 18-hour battery life and an adjustable kickstand like Microsoft’s Surface. More →
As we’ve mentioned before, a Lenovo-BlackBerry merger is probably a nonstarter because the Canadian government is likely to block any acquisition of BlackBerry by a Chinese company. So why would Lenovo, which is presumably smart enough to understand this, be willing to make a bid anyway? Forbes contributor Gordon Change theorizes that Lenovo is only bidding on BlackBerry because “the Chinese government wants an excuse to go through BlackBerry’s books so that it can learn as much about the company as it did about Nortel,” and thus give it the ability to hack into the platform for the first time. More →
BlackBerry’s shares got a slight boost on Thursday when rumors circulated for the 12,497th time that Chinese hardware manufacturer Lenovo was interested in buying the firm. But as The Globe and Mail points out, a deal to let Lenovo buy BlackBerry is probably a nonstarter since it’s highly unlikely that the Canadian and American governments would be comfortable letting a Chinese firm buy a company that is responsible for so much security infrastructure. The Globe and Mail notes that the Canadian government “has killed several foreign takeovers under the Investment Canada Act,” including a recent deal that would have sold a Winnipeg-based telecom company to an Egyptian-led group.
Samsung shot to the top of the market in China and it is currently the No.1 smartphone vendor there by a wide margin in terms of shipment volume. But in a recent research note to clients, Wedge Partners analyst Jun Zhang wrote that things are changing rapidly in China and local brands will soon drive Samsung out of the top spot in this crucial market. “In China, a $300-$400 price range is considered the middle-range smartphone market, compared with the high-end market segment which is dominated by Apple, Samsung, Sony and other foreign brands,” Zhang wrote. “Local brands such as Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad, Meizu, Vivo, etc. view this segment as their high-end smartphone segment, compared with Apple’s and Samsung’s flagship products retail price above $700.” More →
It looks like we can add Lenovo to the long list of manufacturers shunning Windows RT. Engadget reports that Lenovo’s Australia marketing chief Nick Reynolds said during his company’s IFA 2013 press conference that Intel’s new power-saving Haswell processors mean that Lenovo can make full Windows 8 tablets that have both high performance and strong battery life. Because of this, Reynolds said that there was really no need for a low-power tablet-centric version of Windows, which means it’s unlikely that we’ll see any new Windows RT-based Lenovo tablets anytime soon. Lenovo isn’t the only OEM to give Windows RT the cold shoulder, of course: Both Asus and HTC have cancelled plans to release Windows RT-based tablets this year while Acer has said that it’s unsure if it will ever release another Windows RT device again.
If something sounds too good to be true, then that probably means it’s bloatware. Ars Technica reports that Lenovo’s new Start menu replacement for Windows 8 PCs probably won’t deliver the traditional Start menu experience that many PC users have been looking for. Essentially, the third-party Start menu from SweetLabs that Lenovo is pre-loading onto its new PCs has an annoying habit of constantly prompting you to buy new apps that you probably don’t want. More →
Although Microsoft is indeed bringing back a version of the Start button with its upcoming Windows 8.1 update, it’s still not bringing back the full Start menu that’s long been a staple of the Windows experience. Lenovo, however, is aiming to fix this by bringing the Start menu back on its own. Bloomberg reports that Lenovo plans to “pre-install SweetLabs’ Pokki software, which provides a replacement for the dearly departed Windows Start menu” on new Windows 8 PCs that it will start shipping in the coming weeks. More →
If anyone needed more evidence that the post-PC era is upon us, they likely got it Thursday morning. Lenovo on Thursday posted its fiscal first-quarter results, revealing that it earned $170 million in profit on a record $8.8 billion in sales. The most interesting news from Lenovo, however, was that it confirmed that combined smartphone and tablet sales overtook PC sales last quarter. Lenovo, mind you, is currently the top PC vendor in the world, and yet its smartphone and tablet sales outnumber PCs. And it’s also not as though Lenovo’s PC sales are doing poorly — in fact Lenovo just outgrew the overall PC market for the 17th consecutive quarter. Lenovo’s full press release follows below. More →
Throughout 2013, Lenovo has been the only major PC vendor to hold its ground while rival vendors have gone into free fall. The company is unsurprisingly trying to expand its success in other markets and new research from Canalys shows that the company is off to a terrific start so far in the smartphone market. In all, Canalys found that Lenovo is now the third-largest smartphone vendor in the world with shipments that more than doubled year-over-year from 4.9 million in the second quarter of 2012 to 11.3 million in Q2 2013. Lenovo’s biggest growth unsurprisingly came in its home country of China, where it shipped 95% of its smartphones on the quarter. Canalys says the challenge for Lenovo is to expand its smartphone sales to other markets such as India so it can continue to grow itself into a global brand.
It may not mean as much as it did a few years ago, but HP could soon overtake Lenovo to once again become the world’s largest manufacturer of notebooks. Digitimes‘ supply chain sources claim that HP “is expected to see notebook shipments in the third quarter of 2013 increase 15-20% on quarter while Lenovo is expected to see a sequential drop of 7-9%,” which would give HP an overall edge over its Chinese rival in the notebook market. Lenovo has been the only PC vendor to actually perform reasonably well this year as the shrinking PC market has badly hurt OEMs such as HP, Acer and Dell.