Lenovo this week showed its desire to stretch beyond the PC market, breaking ground for a new facility in China to house its smartphone and tablet efforts and introducing a Lenovo Smart TV to the China market. The TV is the first to run Google's Android 4.0 and is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm CPU.
"While we continue to strengthen our position in the PC industry, we are also further expanding into the field of Internet devices," Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO and group chairman, said in a May 8 statement.
"As a global leader in the PC industry," he added, "our customers look to us to provide new technologies, and as we drive further into the PC-Plus era, we will continue to introduce new products worldwide."
The developer community contributing to Lenovo's Le Store has already produced more than 1,000 apps for the TV. These include games and apps for categories, such as education and what Lenovo calls "life service."
Lenovo has also teamed with SMG's BesTV to a create an ISmartv joint venture that already provides viewers with more than 300,000 hours of high-definition video resources, and the Smart TV will come with a "Sandwich" user interface said to integrate "touch, voice, air mouse, gravity sensor, smart keyboard and [a] traditional television remote control in a 'Six in One' Smart Remote Controller."
As for Lenovo's new facility, it plans to spend about $800 million on the effort, which will include integrated facilities for mobile Internet product research and development, as well as sales. Lenovo expects revenue from the new base to reach approximately $1.6 billion by 2014 and be five times that within the next five years, according to estimates quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
China is now the world's largest market for smartphones, research firm Canalys announced earlier this month. While the Apple iPhone holds enormous appeal there, 25 percent of all Android smartphones shipping during the first quarter were delivered in China, according to Canalys.
By "accelerating development in smartphones, tablets and other mobile Internet terminal markets," said Yang, "were determined to firmly seize the tremendous opportunities for innovation in this market ..."
On May 8, Lenovo also introduced new ThinkCentre and Edge PCs based on Intel's Ivy Bridge processors. Appealing to business users, the new PCs focus on speed, slimmed-down footprints and advanced cooling mechanisms. The new models include tiny towers, slim and sleek all-in-one PCs and the ThinkCentre M92p, a 1-liter desktop that's the width of a golf ball. The PCs also include Lenovo's Enhanced Experience 3 for Windows 7, which speeds up boot-up times by 30 percent.
While Lenovo needs to work on boosting brand-name recognition in the United States, it's nonetheless the world's second-largest PC maker. In its May 7 statement on the new facility, it added that it's now also a top-three smartphone maker in China, with "double-digit market share, and the second-place tablet maker with a market share of 16.5 percent, far ahead of its competitors in the Android market."
In March, Lenovo agreed to recall 50,500 desktop computers from its ThinkCentre M70z and M90z lines. The units were said to have a defect that caused them to overheat, which could pose a fire hazard. The units involved in the recall were sold from January through May 2011.
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