Lenovo, the biggest maker of personal computers, is adding a “premium” device to its smartphone lineup as it broadens its challenge to market leaders Samsung Electronics and Apple.

The Vibe X smartphone with 5-inch display running Google Inc.’s Android 4.2 system will go on sale in China next month, with international sales to start in December, the company said in a statement ahead of a press conference at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin today.

“Lenovo continues to bring head-turning innovations to the PC Plus marketplace with the Lenovo Vibe X smartphone’s uncompromising hardware design, its rich display and memory-making camera technologies,” said Wayne Chen, vice president and general manager, mobile business unit at Lenovo.

Lenovo is beefing up its highest profile smartphone to date – the K900.

The company “continues to refine its smartphone portfolio by updating its popular premium Lenovo K900 smartphone2 with several new features including choices of new colors in either black or orange as well as storage options of 16GB or 32GB,” Lenovo said.

At the Berline show, Lenovo added that it also is bringing to market another tablet to its “Pc Plus” product lineup, which is Lenovo’s effort to continue to expand its business beyond PCs.

“Along with the S5000 tablet, these carefully crafted devices unleash a powerful blend of beautiful and smart technology to improve people’s lives,” Chen said. 

Lenovo also touted its growing line of “hybrid” Yoga computers that can turn from laptops into tablets with a flip of the lid could spur growth in the ailing PC market. In recent years, consumers have been snapping up tablets, causing sales of desktop and laptop models to wane.

The company is unveiling a range of new models based on its Yoga platform at the Berlin gadget show to attract new buyers who want to be able to use their device in the office, in bed or in the kitchen.

Gianfranco Lanci, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Thursday that Lenovo still considers PC making to be its “core business.”

(More details about Lenovo’s newest products can be read online.)

Lenovo, which rose to become the second-largest smartphone vendor in China and the fourth-largest globally with a range of inexpensive handsets, now plans to move up the value chain with devices that can pose a more direct threat to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 or Apple’s iPhone. Lenovo in May released its flagship K900. The Vibe X expands that “premium smartphone portfolio,” the company said in the statement.

The iPhone 5 ranges from $864 in China, as much as double the price of Lenovo’s K900 IdeaPhone. Today’s statement didn’t provide a price for the Vibe X.

The Vibe X runs on a MediaTek Inc. 1.5 gigahertz, quad-core processor, and its high-definition display uses Gorilla Glass 3 from Corning Inc., Lenovo said in the statement. The device is “as thin as a pencil” at 6.9 millimeters, and weighs about as much as five AA batteries at 121 grams, Lenovo said.

Top Five

The top five global smartphone vendors in the second quarter by International Data Corp.’s ranking were: Samsung with a 30.4 percent market share; Apple with 13.1 percent; LG Electronics Inc. with 5.1 percent; Lenovo with 4.7 percent and ZTE Corp. with 4.2 percent.

The Vibe X will be sold in markets where Lenovo’s handsets are currently available, and so it won’t be on sale in Europe, the company said in the statement. Besides China, Lenovo now sells devices in India, Indonesia, Russia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

In China, Lenovo’s 12 percent of the smartphone market trails only Samsung’s 18 percent, research firm Canalys said last month. Lenovo plans to surpass Samsung for smartphone sales in the China market within two years, partly by opening a chain of company-owned retail stores where customers can experience the devices, Chen Xudong, Lenovo’s president of China operations, said in an interview last month.

Lenovo operates its global executive headquarters in Morrisville.

[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out eight years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRALTechWire.]