Lenovo downplays RIM acquisition story

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Jan 282013

Lenovo CFO Wong Waiming last week suggested that the Chinese company was open to the idea of acquiring Research In Motion in an effort to grow its mobile business as PC sales slow down. A statement sent to TheNextWeb by the company today suggests that certain statements may have been taken out context during the Bloomberg interview. Lenovo explains that Waiming’s comments were meant to be more general in scope:

In general, we do not comment on M&A rumors or speculation.

We are aware that Lenovo’s CFO [Wong] Waiming was speaking broadly about M&A strategy in a recent interview. RIM was raised as a potential target by the journalist and Mr. Wong repeatedly answered in a manner consistent with all of our previous statements on M&A strategy: Lenovo is very focused on growing its business, both organically and through M&A. When inorganic ideas arise, we explore them to see if there is a strategic fit.

With RIM open to various options to “create new opportunities, focusing on areas where we will be more effective partnering rather than going it alone, and ultimately maximizing value for all stakeholders,” it is likely that some level of discussion is happening or has happened between interested parties (including Lenovo). Such talks are likely on the backburner this week as RIM prepares to launch its BlackBerry 10 devices on Wednesday.

Read more: TheNextWeb

Lenovo considering RIM acquisition

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Jan 242013

Rumblings that Research In Motion could be acquired resurfaced today courtesy of Lenovo. Company Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming said that such a move was under consideration during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

“We are looking at all opportunities – RIM and many others. We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

No final decision has been taken yet but Lenovo has held talks with RIM and its bankers to discuss various options. The story coincides with comments made this week by RIM CEO Thorsten Heins that selling the company’s hardware unit remained an option.

With its PC business waning as worldwide sales decline, Lenovo is looking to other sectors to maintain its profits. Both the smartphone and tablet markets are strong and RIM happens to offer both. While organic growth remains the priority, acquistions would certainly help Lenovo establish itself in new markets.

The acquisition would not be without its challenges. RIM stock has been on a tear ahead of its launch and would likely continue their climb if the BlackBerry 10 launch is strong. It could end up being pricier than Lenovo is willing to pay. The deal would also require approval from both Canadian and U.S. regulators as well as a review by the Canadian government to determine whether it would be of “net benefit” to the country.

Lenovo is not the first company to have expressed an interest in buying all or parts of RIM. Samsung has been mentioned a few times and IBM, Microsoft, Nokia and even Amazon have all been rumoured interested parties in the past.

Read more: Bloomberg

CES 2013: Lenovo K900 with Intel dual-core processor unveiled

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Jan 092013

Lenovo K900Lenovo today unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Lenovo K900. It’s unlike most of the flagship devices being unveiled this week as CES 2013 unfolds. It does not sport a quad-core processor but will be among if not the first to use Intel’s first dual-core Atom chip for phones. It will also not sport a 5-inch FHD display but rather a 5.5-inch FHD one.

“With the K900, our team has broken down the key functions of the smartphone and redesigned them from the ground up,” said Liu Jun, president, Mobile Internet Digital Home, and senior vice president, Lenovo. “Rather than focus on specifications that look good on a datasheet, we’ve zeroed in on what consumers want and proved that for smartphone users, top performance doesn’t require a thick profile. The K900 is a game-changer that looks as good as it performs.”

We don’t have all the specifications about the Lenovo K900 yet but here is what we know so far:

  • Processor: 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580
  • Operating system: Google Android Jelly Bean with Lenovo Le Phone UI
  • Cellular connectivity: HSPA
  • Display: 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS with Gorilla Glass 2
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 13MP with Sony Exmor BSI sensor, f/1.8 lens, and dual flash
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Dimensions / weight: 6.9 millimeter thick / 162 grams

The Lenovo K900 will launch in April in China. Other “select regional markets” will follow soon after. Pricing was not announced.

Read more: Lenovo

Lenovo to split into Lenovo and Think business units

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Jan 062013

According to a leaked internal email, Lenovo is planning to split itself into two different business units later this year. The first group will retain the Lenovo name and will focus on mid- and low-range products while the second one, named Think, will focus on high-end products. The email from CEO Yang Yuanqing explains that the Lenovo name still does not have the same brand cachet as the Think one. Yang sees the Think brand as taking on high-end competitors such as Apple with its own innovative and high-end products.

The split is scheduled to take place in April. The Lenovo Business Group will focus on mainstream desktops, laptops, tablets, smart TVs as well as its smartphones. It will be led by Senior Vice President (Mobile Internet Digital Home) Liu Jun. The Think Business Group will become its flagship brand and is set to expand the reach of its Think products into the consumer space. It will be led by Senior Vice President (Product Group) Dr. Peter Hortensius.

It remains to be seen if we will see smartphones and tablets under the new Think brand or if it will limit itelf to PCs.

Read more: Engadget

CES 2012: Lenovo planning to launch smartphones in U.S.

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Jan 112012

LenovoLenovo appears to be eyeing the U.S. smartphone market. Asked if the company planned to launch a phone in the United States, David Schmoock, a Lenovo senior executive, responded, “I think we will.” What is not so clear is when this could happen but it could still be a few years away.

Lenovo has begun to work with some U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, and distributors in preparation for such a move. Schmoock expects that it will take “the next couple of years” to build up the relationships necessary to launch a smartphone in the US. “You have to build out that network first, then that allows you to put products on the shelf,” he explained.

Lenovo reacquired its mobile phone business in 2009 after selling it off earlier. It has so far focused handset and tablet sales on China.

Read more: Reuters

CES 2012: Lenovo introduces IdeaTab S2 10 transforming tablet

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Jan 092012

Lenovo IdeaTab S2 10The ASUS Transformer tablets are about to get some competition. Lenovo has unveiled the IdeaTab S2 10 tablet with a a detachable keyboard dock. Here is what we know so far:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with Mondrian UI
  • Cellular connectivity: TBD
  • Other connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Display: 10.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen, optional keyboard dock
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB options and microSD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP
  • Front-facing camera: 1.3MP
  • Connectors: microUSB, MicroHDMI
  • Weight: 499 grams

The keyboard dock sports a second battery. Between the two batteries, Lenovo promises up to 20 hours of operation.

The Lenovo IdeaTab S2 10 will be available initially only in China. Worldwide availability will follow but no specific details were provided. Pricing has not been disclosed yet either.

Read more: Lenovo

Acer and Lenovo Wintel tablets coming in Q3 2012?

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Jan 022012

The tablet market is set to get even more crowded in 2012 with the expected launch of Windows 8 tablets. Citing “sources from the upstream supply chain,” Digitimes claims that both Acer and Lenovo will launch tablets powered by Intel’s Clover Trail platform and Windows 8 in the third quarter of 2012.

While Intel will likely show off Medfield-based smartphones and tablets at next week’s CES, the report suggests that manufacturers could wait for the Clover Trail platform as it promises better performance and more efficient power consumption.

The report also suggests that Wintel-based tablets may do better in the enterprise market where Microsoft is firmly entrenched. The consumer space could remain (at least in 2012) primarily a battleground between dominant Apple iPad and the multitude of Android tablets.

Both Acer and Lenovo (and likely others) are expected in the meantime to unveil new quad-core Android tablets in Q1 2012 (possibly as early as CES 2012).

Read more: Digitimes

Lenovo to release a Windows Phone smartphone in 2012

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Dec 042011

Windows PhoneThe same week that Lenovo introduced a new Android smartphone, the Lenovo LePhone S2, for the Chinese market, it also confirmed plans to support another mobile operating system in future products. In an interview with Chinese blog iMobile, Lenovo product manager Chen Yue confirmed that the company will launch a Windows Phone device in the second half of 2012. He revealed no details about specifications of the new devices.

Yue also confirmed that recently leaked pictures of a LePhone S2 running Windows Mobile are genuine. This could mean that one of its first devices would pair Windows Mobile to a device sporting a 1.4GHz single core Qualcomm processor, 3.8-inch WVGA (480×800) display, up to 16GB of onboard storage, and an 8MP camera capable of 720p video capture.

Yue gave no indication whether Lenovo would bring its Windows Phone smartphones to the North American market.

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Quad-core tablets coming from Acer and Lenovo in Q1 2012

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Nov 292011

It should come as no surprise that the quad-core ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime is going to get some competition soon. HTC is already rumoured to unveil its quad-core tablet, the HTC Quattro, at MWC. Digitimes is now reporting that both Acer and Lenovo will also announce quad-core tablets in Q1 2012. Both will feature NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor and Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Much like we have seen with current Android tablets, Digitimes expects that there will be little differentiation among these competitors. That would play into the hands of Apple and fast-rising Amazon, allowing them to continue to dominate the tablet market.

The sources pointed out that the competition over the quad-core tablet PCs will be difficult as these quad-core devices will only see improvements over their performance and design, but will still feature the same concept as their dual-core predecessors.

Prices for Acer’s and Lenovo’s tablets are expected to fall in the US$459 to US$599 range.

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Lenovo delays Skylight smartbook

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May 312010

Lenovo Skylight

Back at CES 2010, Lenovo unveiled the Skylight smartbook, promising to launch it in April. April came and went and there was no Skylight. Now comes word that Lenovo has delayed (canceled?) the device to make changes to the OS that will power it. Rather than a proprietary Linux based OS, Lenovo is likely to use Google Android (or Google Chrome maybe?).

“After careful consideration of market conditions and user feedback, Lenovo has decided to focus its resources on building a family of next-generation mobile internet devices based upon open technologies such as (but not limited to) the Android kernel, similar to the Lenovo smartphone, which is available for sale in China now.

As a result of Lenovo’s strategic shift towards open standards such as an Android kernel based environment, the Company has shelved its plans to release the initial version of the Skylight smartbook that featured a proprietary Linux based OS.”

Lenovo provided no indication as to when the Skylight could resurface.

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Lenovo to buy back mobile device division

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Nov 292009

LenovoLenovo is buying back the mobile-phone division that it sold off last year. It sold the money-losing division in January 2008 for US$100 million. It will now buy it back for US$200 million.

Today’s announcement signals that Lenovo is gearing up its efforts in the burgeoning mobile Internet market in China. Lenovo Mobile now ranks No.3 in China’s mobile handset market and is the No.1 domestic brand.

The handset division made a profit last year as demand in China continued to grow. Estimates now suggest that China mobile Internet market could top US$16 billion by 2014.

Lenovo will first focus on growing its market share in China. Later, it will offer its handsets globally.

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