Lenovo's scattergun approach to Windows 8 bears fruit in down market

Lenovo's scattergun approach to Windows 8 bears fruit in down market

Summary: The Lenovo Group has managed to post strong fourth quarter numbers in a market generally down for PC sales. The company's PC line with its diverse form factors that take advantage of Windows 8 is an apparent winner.

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ThinkPad Tablet 2 with keyboard-- Image credit: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Lenovo posted its financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter and full year ended March 31, 2013. In spite of a PC market that is generally down, the company managed to post records in sales (52.4 million PCs) and global PC market share (15.5 percent).

The company was quick to respond to the release of Windows 8 with its risky ability to cross the PC/tablet divide with a diverse line of products designed to take full advantage of the latest OS from Microsoft. Lenovo's line of Windows 8 laptops includes the now standard hybrid, tablets that dock into a laptop base that is now common for most OEMs. The just released Helix hybrid from Lenovo brings high performance to the hybrid.

It doesn't stop with hybrids, however, as Lenovo has several laptop models that bend and twist into a number of positions to work in a variety of user scenarios. These laptops can be used as tablets, laptops, and personal presentation devices to fit many work needs. Several Yoga models can be bent to suit the user instead of forcing the user to bend to the limitations of the notebook.

The ThinkPad line, long a mainstay for Lenovo in the enterprise, has evolved to handle the special properties of Windows 8. I am writing this article on the latest in the ThinkPad line, the T431s, one of the thinnest and lightest notebooks in this product line. It has build quality typical for the ThinkPad line and likely will be as popular as other models.

Lenovo extended the ThinkPad into the tablet space with the ThinkPad Tablet 2, a small tablet designed to firmly compete with the big guys in that space, Apple and Android. This tablet brings full pen support to a portable 10-inch form, while adding an optional keyboard lets it fill in as a laptop on occasion. 

While the company has been all over the laptop space with designs that take full advantage of touch in Windows 8, it has also pushed the limits on the desktop PC front. The innovative 27-inch desktop PC transforms into a huge table system operated like a tablet on the desk.

Lenovo's strong financial report shows the scattergun approach of building as many innovative PC forms as possible is apparently working. Windows 8 brings new capabilities to the platform with the handling of touch operation, and Lenovo is determined to produce different forms to take full advantage of that.


Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Lenovo, Tablets

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  • How far down is the market, actually?

    Dell looked bad on earnings, but revenue was up. That suggests increased competition (probably mostly from these guys) but is inconsistent with a slumping PC market. I am guessing that the putative precipitous drop in PC sales may actually be much *less* precipitous than purported. When Dell has solid revenue, Lenovo is sailing high, and HP manages to do better than hold the fort, I think the doom-and-gloom scenario for the PC may have to be postponed.
    x I'm tc
    • HP?

      HP beat its miserable guidance, and did so with one division — software — having very positive results and every other division was down.

      PCs are not going away and no one worth paying attention to is saying so. I don't even think the post-pc era will be as drastic as how compact discs overtook vinyl records. We are seeing the signs that suggest a forthcoming OEM contraction, meaning fewer, but more profitable, companies in the market.

      While interesting forms and utilizations of Windows 8 cannot be dismissed out of a hand — if a product line works, it works — I think some attention has to be paid to their product strategy. Lenovo started with high quality products and has not diluted its offerings for the customer base built upon those who came to them via the IBM PC purchase. Yes, brand value and customer loyalty is a difference when it comes to offering advances in technology.
  • Lenovo

    So much for Windows 8 killing the PC market. If you make hardware that compliments the new os, people will buy it.
    • Small niche markets perhaps

      These are more like specialty products at high prices. Clearly there is a market for that.

      That has very little to do with the commodity PC market, which is where the volumes are, which are tanking.

      As they say: One swallow does not make a summer.
      • Are you always a downer?

        It's obvious that Lenovo's doing well.

        Why can't you just accept that fact and stop finding a reason to be pissy?
        • Are you always stupid?

          He said:

          "So much for Windows 8 killing the PC market."

          The PC market is WAY down. That is a fact. Lenovo doing well does not change that. It is in spite of that. Good for them.

          Are you depressed about the state of the PC (and Windows) sales so you have to cling to every tiny bit of isolated good news and dump on those with a more balanced and realistic perspective?

          Is logical reasoning too difficult for you?
          • Are you always rude and stupid?

            Just because he doesn't agree with you?
          • D.T. Long....

            What's happening, if you stop with your mindless babble and pay attention, is that innovation wins and Lenovo is innovating. Look no further than the Yoga tablet/ultra portable. While Dell, HP and even Apple continue with conservative designs, Lenovo is offering something different and people like what they see. You see D.T., what this also proves is Windows is far from dead. With innovative design, top notch build quality and stellar customer support, its still anyone's game to win.
    • Re: So much for Windows 8 killing the PC market

      Tell that to HP and Dell.
  • Fortune favors the bold

    Lenovo didn't sit around complaining about PC sales falling or microsoft making their own hardware. They got off their duff and made great hardware that utilized the new features in Windows8. They did what other OEMs should have done.

    Look at the other OEMs that are really struggling. Instead of innovating they are complaining. Instead of making better hardware designs they are running to ChromeOS and Android. Not that there is anything wrong with it if they can find succes there, but they shouldn't cry about Windows sales if they are not willing to commit their designs to it.

    OEMs have been a large part of the PC problem for far to long. Time for the weak to die and the strong to take what was theirs.
    • Yeah ... I totally agree with this.

      I bought my wife a Lenovo notebook last August and upgraded it to Windows 8 right around Christmas. She loves it! It is a well-built but very economical Core i3-based machine to own.

      I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one!
      M Wagner
  • Lenovo's scattergun approach to Windows 8 bears fruit in down market

    We get 2 things from this.

    1. Microsoft Windows 8 is selling despite ZDNet trying to tell us its not. Amazing what happens when OEMs embrace Microsoft Windows 8 instead of trying to fight it.
    2. PC sales are good and this is the start of the downfall of the tablet.
    • Ah Lovie

      Your logical reasoning is just priceless. I cannot decide whether I should laugh or cry.

      And you even got 4 votes (so far). There are several others here in your league apparently.
      • XD

        "The start of the downfall of the tablet" made me laugh so hard!
        Ehsan Irani
      • Just like in Burn After Reading,

        They are all in league alright. A league of morons.
  • Lenovo is good

    Unlike HP they tried and succeeded. HP just sat down and cry.. Making their hardware as poorly as before without even giving it a reasonable price. I'm considering Lenovo if I even get tired of my Asus
    Emmanuel Fransson
    • I have never been imporessed with HP hardware.

      In fact, the only PC I have ever owned that died before I retired it was a Compaq Notebook made by HP! And, the war stories I have heard about HP support would curl your hair. One person I knew went through TWO HP notebooks under warranty in a matter of months - and both times it took weeks to get satisfaction. She finally got a Toshiba and has gone years since her HP troubles.
      M Wagner
      • true

        My wife had a HP for work and the processor died... It was the first and last time that I saw a movie ruining the processor of a laptop.
        Emmanuel Fransson
  • Lenovo makes great stuff

    I'm glad they're doing well because I recently purchased my first Lenovo laptop and it's on a whole other level compared to laptops I've owned from HP and Dell in the past. My Yoga 11 feels like the ultimate evolution of the laptop form-factor with its different modes, slim form, all-day (and then some) battery life, and fanless design. The keyboard and trackpad are top notch as well.

    The hardware and software compliment each other so well it's hard to believe that they were made by different companies. And with all that in a package for $550 they definitely deserve to be the shining star in the middle of a PC industry that often feels like it isn't really trying.

    I kind of feel like an advertisement here, but I've just been so overwhelmed by the quality of this machine that I have a hard time not gushing about it.
  • It just goes to show you that ...

    ... a consumer-oriented Windows OEM can be more agile than a monolithic enterprise-oriented vendor dependent upon high-volumes of similar models. The trick is to be willing to take risks in a volatile marketplace. Once a vendor reaches a certain size, their leadership often becomes more hesitant to take risks and anger shareholders.

    For instance, Microsoft released Windows 8 in plenty of time for the 2012 holiday season but OEMs were slow to get products out there which were geared toward Windows 8 strengths. FUD been a big factor in the slow adoption of Windows 8.

    It's the early bird that catches the worm!
    M Wagner