Lenovo India Says Gaming PCs, Convertibles Will Drive Near-Term Growth

The note ban did have a slight impact on the adoption of technology and purchasing trends in the country but that phase is now over and gaming PCs, along with convertible laptops, will drive the next level of growth in the personal computers’ space, a top Lenovo India executive has stressed.

Saying that demonetisation cooled down the demand for PCs in India, market research firm Gartner said earlier this week that worldwide PC shipments saw a 4.3 percent decline in the second quarter of 2017. It added that the PC industry globally is in the midst of a five-year slump and this is the 11th straight quarter of declining shipments.

In the Asia-Pacific region, PC shipments witnessed a decline of 5.1 percent in the quarter and, in India, “the PC market was primarily affected by market dynamics coupled with the absence of a large tender deal compared to a year ago and higher PC prices brought about weak market growth,” Gartner said.

“The market is only looking up. Demonetisation was a blip and it created an instability for a short time — 15 days or a month. We were all surprised with the way the market has bounced back,” Rajesh Thadani, Executive Director-Consumer Business and Ecommerce, Lenovo India, told IANS.

“After the demonestisation, we saw that demand for premium devices (priced more than Rs. 50,000) doubled. The mainstream market – devices which are available for nearly Rs. 30,000 – is also growing,” Thadani added.

According to the latest “Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker” by market research firm IDC, Lenovo, with 17.7 percent market share, came third in India for the first quarter of 2017.

Globally, Lenovo shipped 12.1 million units in the second quarter of 2017 and recorded 19.9 percent market share to grab the second spot, according to Gartner.

Aiming to change these figures, Lenovo on July 19 unveiled new additions to its Yoga and Ideapad range of future-ready laptops.

With this, the Chinese technology major has targeted mainstream and premium segment customers with devices ranging from as low as Rs. 17,800 to a highest of Rs. 74,850.

“The consumers today are no longer satisfied with a basic PC and want more power in it. There is a small set of customers who are deal seekers and want value for money, but those who want New Age devices and have spending capacity are growing very fast. I think this is the trend we are witnessing in the Indian consumer industry,” Thadani noted.

Lenovo India Says Gaming PCs, Convertibles Will Drive Near-Term GrowthEven gamers are now shelling out more money to get a top-of-the-line experience.

“When the cash was going out of the system owing to the note ban, Lenovo changed the strategy and offered discounts on credit cards, EMI schemes and tied up with third-party vendors. This helped us create even more demand,” the Lenovo executive told IANS.

Thadani highlighted that in mature markets like Japan, the PC market is declining but when it comes to evolving markets like India where PC penetration is still low, the demand is growing.

Talking about GST, he said that the move has forced businesses to become more structured.

“We see a lot of opportunity because enterprises and traders are now joining the new tax regime. They would need infrastructure and this is where companies like Lenovo will benefit by providing them solutions,” Thadani said.

Going forward, the company is building products around Virtual Reality (VR) and new technologies where the devices will be Cloud-enabled.

“It’s still early to talk about, but this is something that we look forward to. With the technologies around Microsoft Cortana, Lenovo will come with devices that will fulfil the current and growing needs of the consumers,” Thadani said.

Lenovo Posts First Quarterly Loss Since 2015 on Higher Costs, Slowing PC Market

Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo Group posted a first-quarter loss on Friday citing higher costs and slower growth in the personal computer market, and said the outlook was challenging due to supply constraints.

Lenovo, which lost its position as the world’s largest PC maker to HP in the quarter through June, lost $72 million compared with a profit of $173 million for the same period last year.

It was the company’s first quarterly loss since September 2015 and lagged forecasts for a profit of $5.29 million, according to the average of 8 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

“Looking forward, the supply constraint of key components in the industry and cost increases will continue to bring short-term challenges to the group’s business environment,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“Market conditions remain challenging in the short term, notably the component supply shortage and cost hike are expected to continue pressuring business operations.”

Revenue was flat at $10.01 billion (roughly Rs. 64,205 crores), in line with an estimate of $10 billion.

Lenovo has suffered from a global decline in PC demand as consumers turn to smartphones and tablets, particularly in its home market of China. Gartner forecast the global PC market will shrink by 3 percent in volume in 2017.

Lenovo Posts First Quarterly Loss Since 2015 on Higher Costs, Slowing PC MarketLenovo’s PC shipments declined 6 percent, after two quarters of growth. That compared with a 3 percent drop for the industry, Lenovo said in its filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its market share dropped 0.6 percentage points year-on-year to 20.4 percent.

Shortages of memory chips added to costs and dragged down margins, it said.

Revenue from the PC and smart devices business, contributing almost 70 percent of the total, increased 0.2 percent to $7.01 billion in the quarter.

The operating loss from the group’s struggling mobile business narrowed to $129 million, from a loss of $163 million a year ago. It turned in revenue of $1.75 billion on a 1 pct rise in smartphone shipments.

Its data centre business group recorded an operational loss of $114 million, versus a loss of $31 million a year ago.

Motorola Granted Patent for a Smartphone Display That Repairs Itself

Lenovo’s Moto brand has previously provided smartphones that have ‘shatterproof’ displays but it seems like the company is now ready to take things a notch higher. Motorola Mobility has now filed a patent for a screen that is capable of healing itself after getting deformed, at least to certain degree, as per the documents that were spotted on the Patent and Trademark Office website of the US.

As per the documents, spotted by The Verge, Motorola has explained that using a heating effect, the proposed smartphone will be able to repair the damage partially in the affected area after identifying the cracks on its own, as per the report. In its documents, Motorola has mentioned “shape memory polymer” to make the screen, which can essentially come back to its original condition after being deformed by simply applying some heat.

Motorola Granted Patent for a Smartphone Display That Repairs ItselfThe user can reportedly use their body heat to get the screen to its original shape as well. Considering that this is just a patent filing, you can almost be sure that we are not very close to seeing these kinds of displays on smartphones soon. There is also a possibility that Lenovo might ditch this concept altogether and move onto a different technology.

Despite all the aforementioned factors, there is no doubt that this kind of a screen will save users from the cost of screen protectors and cases and will certainly help those of us who drop our phones from time to time.

Lenovo will “never phase out” its brand for phones despite Motorola’s comeback

Maintaining two brands in the same industry is tough. Lenovo, however, doesn’t seem to mind the challenge. It’ll continue selling phones with its own name while the Motorola brand makes a comeback.

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing spoke to Reuters about changes going on within the business. After becoming profitable again in March, the executive revealed there are no plans to stop selling Lenovo-branded mobile devices. They’ll exist alongside Motorola-branded mobile devices and possibly in the same markets.

When asked about ditching the Lenovo brand, the executive gave this concise line:

“We will never phase out Lenovo.”

The decision to keep both brands is puzzling because the Motorola brand is well-known worldwide. Although damaged a few years ago, Google and Lenovo did a solid rebuilding. But, in 2016, Lenovo decided to drop “Motorola” and focus on “Moto” for about a year. Fortunately Lenovo opted to bring back Motorola this year. It looks like the company realized people are more familiar with the legacy brand than name attached to the devices.

Expect to see the Motorola brand pushed this summer when a new wave of devices become official.

Lenovo’s Yoga Book Aims for Top Shelf

lenovo-yoga-bookLenovo’s recently unveiled 2-in-1, the Yoga Book, is available in Android Marshmallow and Windows 10 Home versions.

Reviews have been mixed, with some praising its look and feel, but some considering its capabilities not up to scratch. Its Intel Atom processor doesn’t provide enough power for a workhorse device, they have argued.

The Android version costs US$500 and the Windows version goes for $550.

Inside the Covers

The Yoga Book runs on a quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8550 with a 2-MB cache that goes up to 2.4 GHz. It has 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of ROM, and a microSD card with up to 128 GB capacity.

The Atom processor “was a cost-saving measure, because Lenovo hasn’t yet shown that its customers will shell out top dollar for a device with a sixth- or seventh-generation Intel processor,” said Eric Smith, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

That choice was “not the best move performance-wise,” he told TechNewsWorld, but “from the standpoint of testing the market … very well done.”

The Book’s 8500 math li-ion polymer battery is rated to provide more than 70 days of standby time and 13 hours of general use.

It has a 10.1-inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1200 capacitive touchscreen with a 70 percent color gamut and brightness rated at 400 nits.

The Windows version runs Any Pen technology, and the Android version runs EMR Pen.

The Book has a metal housing. The Windows version is available in carbon black only; the Android device is available in carbon black, gunmetal gray and champagne gold.

The Book has an 8-MP autofocus rear camera and a 2-MP fixed-focus front camera with standard sensors.

The Windows device comes preloaded with Microsoft Office Mobile: Excel, Powerpoint, Word and OneNote, as well as a trial version of Evernote ArtRage Lite.

The Android version comes with Lenovo’s Note Saver, Collection, SHAREit and SYNCit, as well as Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, McAfee Security, Evernote ArtRage and TouchPal IME.

The Real Pen, which is compatible with both OSes, costs $40.

Early Reactions

The Windows 10 version “takes several seconds to boot up and apps stuttered or froze up entirely on it more than once” while Goode was testing it.

The Yoga Book “draws the eye like no other tablet or laptop available today,” wrote Alex Cranz for Gizmodo.

Still, it “feels … more like a funky distraction gadget,” she continued. “Its Halo keyboard “has a terrible layout” and “is frustrating,” with inadequate haptic feedback that has a minor delay, few keyboard shortcuts, and keys spaced “just differently enough for a lot of mistypes.”

“There’s very little about the design of this Yoga Book that doesn’t scream premium,” wrote Android Central’s Russell Holly. “If you really want Android to run your laptop and don’t care that apps are going to misbehave left and right, this is without a doubt the [device] for you.” However, the Windows version is “a lot easier to recommend.”

Where the Book Fits

The Yoga Book competes with middle-of-the-road Microsoft Surface clones from Asus, Acer, HP and Huawei,” said Strategy Analytics’ Smith.

It is “very innovative,” he added. “Further, people “looking to replace a tablet and/or PC are increasingly giving 2-in-1s a second look.”

Some observers were less impressed.

The Yoga Book “is more of a toy than a serious productivity machine,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“It doesn’t seem to have the power or interfaces to really work on, and its form factor isn’t really ergonomic from a work point of view,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“If you want a tablet, there are much better ones out there,” Jude said. “If you want a laptop … go buy a laptop.” Still, “this thing is just so cute and light that you want it to be useful.

Lenovo Says Committed to Manufacturing in India; Moto X Force Due Soon

Announcing its new logo and tagline in India, Chinese technology major Lenovo on Wednesday said it was committed to India in terms of investment in areas of manufacturing and research and development. The company also revealed upcoming products for the Indian market.

“In three years, we have reached a revenue of $2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 16,540 crores) in India compared to a target of $800 million (roughly Rs. 5,292 crores) when we came to this country which is fast evolving in the area of technology,” said Lenovo chairman and chief executive Yang Yuanqing.

“I have committed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Lenovo’s involvement in Digital India and Make-in-India campaign,” he said.

“We are looking to be the top four of 50 companies operating in India. Currently we are third in terms of rank in the smartphones category,” he added.

He also said that Lenovo will be investing in research and development in India, and that aside from hardware, we should expect software that is made in India. At the event, Motorola India head Amit Boni also mentioned that the Moto X Force was coming soon, but did not share any details of when, or at what price. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro tablet is also going to be available in India soon, he added.

At the event, Lenovo Chief Marketing Officer David Roman also showed off the company’s new logo, unveiled earlier this year. A first in that it was crowd-sourced with ideas taken from the brand’s followers, finalised into a new look. Along with that, he also showed off Lenovo’s new tagline, “Innovation never stands still”.