Lenovo steps up its European smartphone ambitions with the launch of five Android devices

The Chinese hardware company is making a push into the EU, starting with the east.

The S850. Image: Lenovo

Lenovo has finally taken the step of expanding its smartphone business into the European Union.

The Chinese hardware manufacturer has decided to launch its European campaign in Eastern Europe first, starting with Romania, where Lenovo smartphones are already popular due to sales through unofficial channels such as eBay. Rumours about a Lenovo smartphone launch in Romania have been building for over a year.

Lenovo said it has "high expectations" for its sales in Eastern Europe and, after Romania, it's planning to hold press launch events in Bulgaria and Hungary. The company's smartphones are already available in Serbia — though in Europe, the country isn't part of European Union.

On Wednesday, Lenovo announced the Romanian launch of five affordable smartphones: two S Series devices, the S860 and S850, and three A Series handsets, A859, A536, A328. The first two were unveiled this February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year.

According to Lenovo, the metal-backed S860 has "epic battery power" for all-day use, and runs on Jelly Bean. The dual-SIM smartphone has a 5.3-inch 720p IPS display, quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek processor, Mali-400MP2 GPU, 2GB of RAM, an eight-megapixel rear camera and 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera. Its also has a 4000mAh non-removable battery, which can be used to charge other devices.

The Jelly Bean powered S850 is aimed at the "the fashion-conscious and socially connected", according to the company. The smartphone has an all-glass exterior and houses a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, five-inch 720p IPS display, 1GB of RAM, 2000mAh battery, 13-megapixel rear camera, and a five-megapixel front camera for selfies.

Lenovo also launched three affordable smartphones from the A Series. The A859 sports a five-inch 720p IPS display, quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 CPU, 1GB of RAM, eight-megapixel rear camera, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera and a 2250 mAh battery. It runs Jelly Bean.

The A536 has Android 4.4 KitKat onboard, a five-inch 854x480p display, 1.3GHz quad-core CPU, five-megapixel rear camera and a two-megapixel front camera. It's pitched by Lenovo as an all-round device.

The A328 also comes with the latest Android version, 4.4 KitKat. It packs a 4.5-inch 854 x 480 display, five-megapixel fixed-focus with flash rear camera and a 2MP fixed-focus front camera, quad-core 1.3 GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 2000mAh battery.

This smartphone launch in the European Union comes just after the release of Lenovo’s first quarter earnings report when, for the first time, the company sold more smartphones than PCs . It sold a record high of 15.8 million mobile devices, an increase of 39 percent year on year. PC shipments were up 15 percent for the quarter, reaching 14.5 million units.

Lenovo is the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the world, according to IDC, with a 5.4 percent market share, behind Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.

Lenovo made $10.4bn over the quarter, an 18 percent increase compared to last year. Profit grew to $214m, a 23 percent rise year on year.

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