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back to article Lenovo planning US smartphone push as PC sales stall

Lenovo is set to take aim at the US smartphone market within a year. Yang Yuanqing, CEO of the Chinese hardware giant, told the Wall Street Journal that smartphones represent a “new opportunity” for the firm to grow, especially as demand for PCs continues to wane. In the world’s biggest market of China, PC shipments are …

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ThinkPhones

Presumably they will be black with an excellent keyboard, I'll have one please.

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But they aren't "smart". Phones can't actually think.

Nor are they telephones, not over most of my Sonoma County acreage.

I'll stick to my over a decade old Nokia, TYVM :-)

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Re: But they aren't "smart". Phones can't actually think.

I agree - and "smart" is just a marketing term (since most non-smartphones can still do apps, Internet etc, and at least one smartphone in 2007 couldn't do apps...)

Regarding the article, it's actually Samsung and Nokia who dominate phones - looking at only smartphones just means 100% of Apple sales get compared to a fraction of everyone else's sales. What's more interesting though is that Samsung dominates Android - unlike Windows (where any company could come along and start making PCs), Android sadly hasn't resulted in the same healthy marketplace.

For all the doom and gloom about stagnating PC sales, mobile phone sales actually fell in 2012. The media get round this by focusing on the ill-defined "smartphone" category, which has changed with time. Yet, we could do the same trick with PCs:

In 2010, count all PCs costing £800 or more as "smart".

In 2012, count all PCs costing £600 or more as "smart".

Oh my, "smart PCs" are growing!

Or alternatively, count a smart PC as being one with a touchscreen, and - no matter how good or bad Windows 8 hybrid sales have been - it'll be true that they've experienced massive growth in relative percentage terms since 2011...

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These phones will no doubt be utterly derivative Android devices that nobody will choose over anything made by Samsung, Sony or HTC. They will have names like 'UVC-934x', that say to potential customers "we don't care about these phones enough to give them proper names".

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Lenovo should buy HTC

Lenovo should buy HTC, they would be cheap enough to acquire an ideal fit.

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As long as it's Android, it'll sell.

I look forward to seeing Android devices from Lenovo. If they are running Android and have the same look and feel of Lenovo laptops (meaning: IBM ThinkPad style) they will do well.

If they do something INCREDIBLY STUPID (meaning: Windows Phone) they will flop.

(Hey, did you know that "flop" and "Elop" rhyme? Windows Phone == guaranteed fail, every time.)

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Unknown brand

Outside the rarified world of discerning el'reg readers and a few spotty teens who read FHM for the product reviews there are two types of phone, iPhone and "other".

If you can't afford an iPhone or your local provider offers a great deal on brand X you will buy brand X, nobody cares if it is an HTC running Android or an XYZ running Android.

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Re: Unknown brand

No, there are three kinds: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and "other". Maybe if you feel charitable you can include Windows phones and Blackberries as categories, as while they have small user bases, they are as rabid as any Apple or Android fanboy.

But aside from that, while it'll rankle the fanboys who prefer HTC or whatever, it is pretty much true. That's no doubt in large part due to the fact that Apple and Samsung are pretty much the only ones who advertise, and the average person doesn't spend hours online researching when they buy a phone. Most people buy based on a combination of price, what their friends have, and what they've heard of. The weighing of the different factors may be different between different people, but that's what it comes down to for most.

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Re: Unknown brand

At 75% share, it's Android and other.

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Re: Unknown brand

Brand X is how it should be. You should be able to have the hardware of your choice running the software of your choice. As phone CPUs get more powerful, the arguments for software that runs only on a particular phone, or only on a particular manufacturer's phones, will look weaker and weaker. Lock-in? No thanks.

Samsung has just released a pure-Android version of the Galaxy. Looks as if they understand, and they should concentrate on what hey are good at. At present, they're much better at hardware than software.

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Anonymous Coward

they already make great phones

P770 for example with dual sim and a 3500 mAh battery

http://www.gsmarena.com/lenovo_p770-5140.php

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FAIL

Re: they already make great phones

I wanted to believe, but the P770 you linked to looks like similar specs to the 2yo HTC Sensation I just traded in. Hopefully they'll come up with a stronger flagship, and give it a proper name. Even then, the tinfoil-hats here in the US will likely label it a commie spy phone, "journalists" will lead with scary headlines to that effect, and the masses will stay away "just in case."

http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/03/28/us-slaps-china-with-cyber-security-law-huawei-zte-lenovo-will-all-suffer/

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Whodda thunk?

Imagine that...PC sales have dropped during a world wide economic depression. DUH.

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Re: Whodda thunk?

And yet sales of $600 iPhones and iPads have gone through the roof.

I think it's more accurate to say, sales of horse buggies have declined in the 21st century

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Re: Whodda thunk?

Oh look, it's the obligitary Applevert.

By "gone through the roof", you mean "less than PCs" (the "failing" Windows 8 reached 100m in a few months, which took ipads years to do). Similarly iphone sales are nowhere near PC sales.

Most people aren't spending $600, they're on contract which means pay monthly, and subsidised.

I suspect you're making the schoolboy error of confusing absolute sales, with relative growth. The difference is that PC sales are already much larger - of course new products are going to grow, whilst PCs are at saturation, and therefore not going to see new growth, and going to see more fluctation from the general economic trend.

In fact, phone sales overall actually decreased last year too - if we looked at individual product lines within PCs, I'm sure we could pick out plenty of newer product lines that experienced relative growth.

Apple's tablet market share collapsed in Q1, with Android sales going through the roof - I guess Apple are doomed, like PCs, by your logic?

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Unlikely to do another "Samsung"

The reason Samsung has such a large share of the market is because they created an "iPhone killer" - Something that had all the bells and whistles of an iPhone (and looked better as it happens) but without being locked into the Apple ecosystem. Unless Lenovo can create an iPhone AND Galaxy killer, they'll just be fighting for scraps like the rest of the market.

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Other options

They should definitely focus on Android - it's 75% of the market. You'd have to be elopian not to focus on Android.

But they should also offer an alternative - not iOS (Apple would rather die) or WinP8 (Nokia has locked up that burning buoy already) or Tizen (Samsung's new BFF). FirefoxOS is one option - very low cost and already shipping. Jolla is another, with The Other Half blowing some hardware innovation in from the sea.

But given they already have a strong PC presence, a strategy that builds on a 20 million+ PC fan base with well-received synergistic tablet and phone user interfaces and good global reach would be Canonical's Ubuntu. Bundle the Dalvik engine (like Tizen and Jolla) for an instant (non-Play) app catalog, incentivize some native Qt developers, and push for Ubuntu to become the illusive Third Platform with Lenovo playing the role of Leading Supplier.

It's risky, but entering a commodity market always is, and at least this strategy plays to Lenovo's strengths.

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