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.
Throughout this year of gloomy PC sales, one constant has remained: Lenovo has been the only vendor whose shipments have either held steady or have actually grown. IDC’s latest report on PC sales illustrates this trend in particularly stark terms, as Lenovo was the only PC vendor to post a year-over-year increase in PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In all, IDC found that Lenovo’s PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew to 2.6 million in the second quarter of 2013, a 19% increase from the 2.2 million PCs it shipped in Q2 2012. Over the same period, IDC found that HP’s PC shipments fell by 23.2%, Acer’s shipments fell by 42.2% and ASUS’s shipments fell by 38.5%. In fact, the only major PC vendor other than Lenovo that didn’t post a yearly decline of more than 20% was Dell, whose PC shipments declined by a comparatively small 9%. IDC’s press release follows below. More →
We hear a lot about American companies offshoring their manufacturing operations to China, but now we have a true man-bites-dog story of a Chinese company shifting its own manufacturing to a plant in the United States. Bloomberg reports that Chinese PC vendor Lenovo has “recently opened a manufacturing plant in North Carolina” that will help the company ship its devices more quickly to American consumers. Lenovo North American president Jay Parker told Bloomberg TV that while the U.S. plant does pay higher wages than Chinese plants, the company is saving money by importing components rather than making everything in-house. Both Google and Apple have also signaled their intentions to produce a limited number of their hardware products in the United States so it seems that tech manufacturing in America may not be as dead as many once feared.
It may not be as big of an honor as it was five years ago, but Lenovo can now proudly say that it’s the world’s No.1 PC vendor. AllThingsD points out that the latest numbers from both Gartner and IDC show that Lenovo has overtaken HP to become the top PC OEM in the world by shipment volume. Lenovo didn’t accomplish this through stellar growth, however — the reality is that the company’s PC business is simply shrinking less quickly than its rivals. More →
Lenovo has never made a serious push into the realm of mobile devices but that may be about to change. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lenovo “is in preliminary talks with ‘multiple parties’ about a possible joint venture in smartphones” as a way to offset the global decline in PC sales. What makes Lenovo particularly interesting is that it’s been the only major Windows OEM to weather the collapse of the PC industry so far, as IDC earlier this year estimated that the company’s overall year-over-year PC shipments remained steady even as rival vendors’ sales plummeted by more than 20%. More →
A recent report suggested Windows 8 may have hurt the declining global PC market rather than helped it, and new inside data points to a continued negative trend in April. According to Digitimes’ research arm, the top-5 PC vendors in the world saw their notebook shipments plummet a combined 20% sequentially in March. The site thinks overall shipments will likely fall yet again in the second quarter as a result, and Q2 shipments could be down 15% year-over-year. HP, Acer and Lenovo saw the worst April shipment plunges according to Digitimes and excess inventory is reportedly building as vendors ready their next-generation laptop models.
The Wednesday IDC report on the disastrous state of the PC industry had one very interesting tidbit that many overlooked: Namely, that while companies such as HP (HPQ) and Acer (2353) saw their shipments collapse by more than 20% year-over-year, Lenovo (LNVGY) actually held steady and experienced no decline in shipments. According to Businessweek, there are a couple of reasons for this: First, Lenovo has been targeting its sales toward emerging markets such as Brazil and its native China, where demand for new PCs is higher than in the United States, Europe, Japan and Korea. Businessweek also says that Lenovo “makes almost one-third of its products in house, which helps it innovate and get those innovations to the market more quickly” while also allowing it “to rely less on factories that are also making computers for its competitors.” Having completely flat growth may not be ideal for most businesses, of course, but in the 2013 PC market, holding your ground is something of a miraculous triumph.
Reuters is reporting that Lenovo (LNVGY), the Chinese electronics giant, is in talks to acquire NEC’s mobile phone unit. Lenovo has been speculated to be in talks with both Nokia (NOK) and BlackBerry (BBRY) over the past two years. Various brokerages have claimed that it is negotiating to buy Nokia’s feature phone unit, Nokia’s Lumia phone unit or BlackBerry’s hardware operations. If Lenovo ends up buying the NEC handset operations, it would acquire a technologically highly sophisticated operation with a minuscule annual production volume of roughly 4 million units. More →