Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
MORRISVILLE, N.C. – The year of 2011 is not getting off to as good as start as 2010 for Lenovo.
A spinoff of the world’s No. 4 PC maker is running into problems with a new videogame console. Launch of the “eBox” had been planned for early this year.
However, IDG News reports the launch date hasn’t been decided as Eedoo Technology, which Lenovo is helping to fund, focuses on making user experience better.
Once released, eBox will be preloaded with some 30 games, according to Eedoo.
The delay is a rare bad news for Lenovo, which has been on a roll since a major reorganization two years ago. The company has improved its global market share beyond 10 percent for the first time as sales soared in 2010. Plus, Lenovo continues to roll out a wide variety of new machines.
The videogame initiative is one of several Lenovo has made over the past two years to expand its presence in China beyond computers where it is tops in market share. Lenovo repurchased a smart phone unit it had spun off and launched the “LePhone” last year. It also is rolling out a new tablet PC known as “LePad.”
By moving into video gaming, Lenovo hopes to capitalize on global interactive entertainment growth. As IDG points out, China could be especially lucrative since the government restricts sales from Microsoft for the Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation.
“The arrival of the eBox could allow Eedoo to plunge into a market that companies such as Microsoft and Sony have long sought to tap with their own gaming consoles,” IDG reported Monday. “Concerns with how devices will affect Chinese youth have caused the country’s government to ban gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 from being officially sold in the country.”
Eedoo is incorporating motion sensing technology in its platform, hoping to replicate the success of Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect. The eBox console doesn’t require a controller; instead, it uses a camera to track player movement, according to the China newspaper.
“We are the world’s second company to produce a controller-free game console, behind only Microsoft,” Jack Luo, a former Lenovo executive, told China Daily when the company launched. He is president of Eedoo.
Lenovo spun off Eedoo last August with some 40 of its engineers forming the new company after developing the console. At the time, Lenovo spokesman Jay Chen told the Wall Street Journal: “We saw game consoles as an area with growth potential.”
Lenovo maintains its global headquarters and employs some 1,500 people in Morrisville. Most of its operations are based in China.
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