Lenovo unveils first global offerings

The PC maker rolls out new desktops and notebooks that are the first to have features from both Lenovo and IBM's former Think products.

PC maker Lenovo is finally ready to unveil its own branded line of desktops and notebooks to the global market, one year after its acquisition of IBM's personal systems group was announced.

The new offerings, the Lenovo C100 notebooks and J100 and J105 desktops, will be targeted at the small business and consumer segments, said Ou Shian Wei, general manager for ASEAN and South Asia at Lenovo, in a phone interview Thursday. The new product lines will be launched in Singapore on Feb. 28, and across the region over the next few weeks.

The move comes about nine months after the Chinese company finalized its buy of IBM's PC division, which included the ThinkPad and Think Center product lines.

According to Ben Naden, brand manager for Lenovo Singapore, the new offerings incorporate features from both the Lenovo and Think brands, such as automatic updates and back-up.

Bryan Ma, associate director of personal systems research at IDC Asia-Pacific, noted that Lenovo's increasing focus on its own branding is a "natural progression" since the merger last year.

He pointed out that whilst the Lenovo brand has been getting some attention from the merger and the recent Olympics, the company will face a certain degree of challenge in building up its brand name, particularly in the consumer space.

Market players such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) may not feel the heat now, but they will need to pay attention to Lenovo's moves, he added.

"At this point, it may not necessary be a direct attack [on market share], but [brands such as] HP will obviously need to watch out," said Ma.

Ou noted that Lenovo will adopt a duo-brand strategy using both the Lenovo and Think family names, each serving a distinct market segment. "Going forward, we will target the Think brand to the higher end space, and we want to focus aggressively on the lower end [market with the Lenovo brand]," he said.

With the announcement, the PC maker will continue to expand its network of resellers in the region and beef up its retail presence, he added.

Ou had hinted at Lenovo's expansion into the global market earlier this month, when he discussed the company's increasing emphasis on the small and medium-sized business segment.

Some features in the new notebooks and desktops, such as OS and warranty period, have been scaled down to keep costs low for small businesses and consumers. They are bundled with Windows XP home edition, and come with a one-year warranty while enterprise-class systems have a three-year warranty.

To further lower prices to levels "which were never possible before", Naden said that Lenovo is also offering desktops that are powered by AMD processors. The J105 comes with either the AMD Sempron or Athlon processors and is priced from S$1,269 (US$777.64), while the J100, which comes with Intel's Pentium 4 or Celeron D processors, is priced at S$1,339 (US$820.54).

The Lenovo C100 notebooks boast of a 15-inch display, and are equipped with wireless connectivity and multimedia features such as integrated microphone, DVD-recordable drive, and a multi-card reader for viewing digital photographs. The company, Naden added, will also introduce two other series of wide-screen notebooks in April and May.

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