In January, Lenovo tipped its strategic hand on smartphones, unveiling the big 5-inch screen “Rendezvous” K900 Ideaphone and others at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The world’s No. 2 PC maker demonstrated it clearly was serious about becoming a global player in the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy dominated market with the device that it said “packs it all in” in terms of features.
But there won’t be one building off the “Think” brand, Lenovo says. (This blog has been updated and revised to reflect new information from Lenovo.)
Responding to a report in China today about a “Think” phone, Lenovo told WRALTechWire this afternoon the story was “inaccurate.”
“We have not announced plans for a ThinkPad smartphone,” the company said. “Our executive stated that we continuously evaluate opportunities for growth, including things like new technologies, designs, markets and form factors.”
Kristy Fair, part of the Global Communications team at Lenovo, said the initial report was based on information “taken out of context. …Our executive stated that we continuously evaluate opportunities for growth, including things like new technologies, designs, markets and form factors.”
Lenovo, which operates its global executive headquarters in Morrisville, hosteda big pep rally of sorts for its employees across the Americas in Raleigh today with some 3,000 people expected to jam the convention center. And there was a great deal of talk about smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices in addition to about PCs.
While Lenovo continues to threaten HP for the world’s No. 1 ranking in PC sales, the standard desktop and laptop markets are in trouble as more people worldwide shift to cheaper tablets and smartphones.
Lenovo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing, who spoke at today’s kickoff, has been repositioning the company to capitalize on the “PC-plus” era, as he sees it. Yuanqing wants Lenovo to become the world leader in Internet connect devices. And even as Lenovo cooled talk that it might buy smartphone maker BlackBerry, reports surfaced that the company could acquire the phone business of NEC. The two firms are already PC partners in Japan.
Under his direction, Lenovo is rapidly emerging as a global player in smartphones, especially in China with its “LePhone” products. In recent months, the company has begun selling phones in several other countries. But executives have said on numerous occasions there won’t be a Lenovo smartphone available in North America until Lenovo has more market penetration.
“Think” is an even more important word at Lenovo following a corporate reorganization in January when Yang created two operating groups – Lenovo Business Group and Lenovo Think Group.
Interestingly, the Think group is tasked with focusing on “premium products.”
At the time of the announcement, Lenovo explained the changes:
“Lenovo Business Group (LBG), led by Liu Jun, senior vice president, will focus on the mainstream consumer/commercial desktop, notebook PC and tablet businesses. Previously, Liu Jun led the company’s Mobile Internet and Digital Home (MIDH) business. The MIDH product portfolio, including smartphones, will be incorporated into the new LBG.
“Think Business Group (TBG), led by Peter Hortensius, senior vice president, will focus on premium products in both the commercial and consumer segments, as well as enterprise solutions (such as servers and storage) and workstations. Hortensius previously led the company’s global Product Group, which was primarily focused on PCs.”
The reorganization took effect April 1.
Lenovo also recently realigned its global operations with all Americas operations now under one umbrella.
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]