Lenovo navigates post-PC era, becomes smartphone player

Lenovo navigates post-PC era, becomes smartphone player

Summary: Lenovo is on its way to becoming a Windows ecosystem anomaly---a PC maker who can play the mobile game too.


Hewlett-Packard couldn't navigate the industry shift to mobile even with the acquisition of Palm. Dell tried the tablet game and Android for a bit to no avail. Acer and Asus ran with netbooks as everyone else sprinted to the iPad.

To date no Windows PC player has been able to transform from a computer maker to a smartphone player. Apple is excluded of course since it basically invented the post-PC era with the iPad.

Enter Lenovo. The company's first quarter results highlight a company that has used its brand in China to become a top tier smartphone player. Lenovo's first quarter mobile sales were 14 percent of total revenue. A year ago, mobile revenue was a blip. The story isn't that Lenovo's mobile shares have surged. The story is that Lenovo is the first PC maker that hasn't been completely blindsided by a mobile shift. 

Rest assured Lenovo is still a PC maker---52 percent of first quarter revenue was laptop sales. The company reported first quarter earnings of $174 million on revenue of $8.787 billion, up 10 percent from a year ago. Lenovo was powered by commercial sales and a unit surge that made the company the largest PC maker.



But the real kicker is that Lenovo said its combined sales of smartphones and tablets passed PCs for the first time ever. Lenovo is the fourth largest smartphone maker and the No. 2 player in China.

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing prefers to use the term "PC Plus" over post-PC because obviously computer system sales are funding mobile expansion. Lenovo's strategy is to use developed market strength to fund new categories.



Simply put, Lenovo has a plan that it has been working for years. It defends China, grows in emerging markets and pushes new categories. In China, Lenovo revenue in the first quarter was $3.7 billion, up 5.6 percent from a year ago. Smartphone and tablet sales were up 76 percent from a year ago.

In Asia Pacific, Lenovo sales were $1.3 billion in the first quarter and EMEA sales surged 18 percent to $1.9 billion. Americas revenue was $1.9 billion, up 29 percent from the first quarter a year ago, powered by Brazil and enterprise strength in the U.S.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Lenovo, Smartphones, Tablets, PCs

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  • "Post-PC" Or Not "Post-PC"?

    People argue over the "post-PC" term, with some claiming these new mobile devices are simply embodying PC functionality in a different form factor.

    Be that as it may, one undeniable fact is that few or none of these new devices are running Microsoft Windows.

    So it may or may not be the post-PC era, but it is certainly the post-Windows era.
    • Bhahahahaha - what post-windows? 90 percent of business uses Windows.

      • 90% run Windows..

        ..but most are running Windows 7. Most businesses are not wanting to switch to Windows 8 for obvious reasons.
        • PC Market is here to stay..so does Windows OS

          But Windows 7 is still Windows. It will be too expensive for organization to switch from Windows OS to another OS even when its free. Not many people know how to use operating system other than Windows. Well, a little bit of Mac OS but there are still plenty of in house tools that are not supported iN Mac. PC market is here to stay...probably it will affect consumers market but not business market. I still need PC to work. I can't picture using tablet while typing documents in front of my computer for 8 hours.
        • The most obvious being...

          ...upgrade cycles are much longer than in the consumer market, many are still migrating to Windows 7 and typically enterprise skips every other Windows release; especially if there is a learning curve involved (by Windows 9, the learning curve will largely be abated as employees are exposed to the new concepts through other means).
        • You must not work for an IT department

          Companies take 2 - 3 year to switch. Most companies are just getting Windows 7 now. They won't upgrade to Windows 8 until late 2014 at the earliest. That's how companies operate.
          A Gray
    • pure

    • Go back to the fry station it's almost lunch time rush

      you have posting the same sad - and man I mean SAD - commentary about the death of windows, you obviously work in McD's... to keep being so wrong.

      Lenovo is the main company showing good and interesting Windows 8 devices, you need to get out more.
    • post-Desktop!

      I know I'll never make a dent in this distincton, unless everyone agrees that PC means large Windows or Mac desktop boxes.

      There is absolutely no reason a "smart" phone or tablet can't do as much or more in a few years than a desktop now. Video gets sent to your flatscreen of choice as a second high res monitor, nearby keyboard and game controller replace onscreen kbd and touch, or kinekt like gesture controller. Take the tablet out of range, and it's just the same "personal computer".

      It's just a matter of form factor and power. In fact that is exactly how I use my 6 year old lenovo x60.
      • lenovo x60

        It has a reversible tablet like screen with stylus, and I long ago replaced Vista with Ubuntu. I use it with my 22" monitor external dcs, and 500 gig drive that ALSO boots into Win7, for all my Adobe apps.
        So Penicillin has already done this, just a larger 'tablet'.
        • typed on htc phone w f*g autocorrect

          Penicillin--Lenovo, dcs-DVR
      • Re: Post desktop

        There will be a few sections of the market that won't let go of the desktop -- the DIY crowd, the home server crowd, and the "need workhorse/gaming monster machine" crowd. Laptops and mobile will never be able to outperform those as long as there are power restrictions, and the laws of physics dictate that there will always be power restrictions.

        Personally, the next computer I get will probably be built by me (and it will be the second one I will have built). I'll probably skip getting a case and instead just build it into the desk it will be on, with a full-size fan for cooling its massively overclocked processor and video cards. None of this "have to pump all the heat out" for me.
        Jacob VanWagoner
    • There is no Post-PC era

      We are not stepping into a Post-PC era. The PC has become a member of a new eco-system, with tablets, smartphones and what else we may see in the future as other members.

      We have so many means of connectivity between stationary devices, semi-mobile devices (laptops and notebooks) and fully mobile devices (phones, tablets), that each can play its perfect role and provide users with situational convenience.

      What is going to change is how people will be prepared to open up their private data when they make use of these connections.

      While they were prepared to give them voluntarily to Google, Facebook and some other companies, they now find out that NSA and further organizations (think of the Chinese Communist Party) stand out there and secretly grab them as well. This may be the next big game changer.
      • Re: There is no Post-PC era

        I didn't say there was.
  • Its not an anomaly, its called innovation

    Post PC talk is pure rubbish.
    • let the owl do the talking

  • please for a good quality Google edition phone!

    please for a good quality Google edition phone!

    we would like to buy a phone every year = there ire innovations
    we want to buy a new PC just once in 5 years = no innovations

    Windows are for we have to just suffer with.....Android we love
    • Makes sense since...

      "we would like to buy a phone every year = there ire innovations
      we want to buy a new PC just once in 5 years = no innovations"

      Makes total sense since Windows PCs are already what the phones are striving to be from a functionality standpoint. I am into music, videos, and normal productivity and no phones can really handle what I want to do without non-stop eyestrain and herky jerky delivery.
      Woned B. Fooldagan
  • Interesting

    What's interesting is that Lenovo has barely scratched the surface of the U.S. market with these devices. Apart from a couple of not so successful Android tablets, Lenovo is largely absent from post-PC in the US. I wonder when we'll see the company's first U.S. smartphone release.