Lisbon It has rarely happened in recent years that a Motorola brand smartphone causes plenty of curiosity even before publication. With the leaked news that the parent company Lenovo still wants to present a smart remake of the most recently built in 2007 cult folding cell phone Razr, this has changed abruptly.
For Lenovo CEO Arthur Hu, this is a sign of Lenovo's intended image change. "Many customers have a picture of us in their heads that was right five years ago: as a manufacturer of good but not terribly exciting PCs," he told Handelsblatt at the Web Summit Tech conference in Lisbon. "We want to show the new Lenovo now."
The Chinese computer manufacturer has become global size through two US acquisitions: Lenovo bought the PC division from IBM in 2005, and in 2014 Google released the smartphone brand Motorola.
For Lenovo, Lenovo is now considered the world leader before HP. According to market researchers at Gartner, the market share recently reached a staggering 25 percent. Now Lenovo also wants to catch up with smartphones, where the proportion is in the low single-digit percentage range.
"We want to reach the hearts and minds not only of corporate IT decision-makers, but also of home users," said Hu. He wants to expand the smartphone range. Recently, Motorola relied on a combination of technology and price – with devices in the lower and middle price segment. In the future, Lenovo should again have a high-priced flagship phone on offer, Hu said. For Wednesday, Motorola has invited to an event in Los Angeles, where probably the new Razr will be revealed. Mother Lenovo will be showing innovations in Beijing at her annual in-house exhibition the day after.
At the same time, Manager Hu, who is also responsible for the transformation of the Group on the Management Board, wants to make more experiments. Under the brand "Motorola One" are more mobile phones with special features such as cameras for macro shots come. Lenovo must not only prevail against the market leader Samsung and Apple, but also against the fast growing Chinese rivals Xiaomi and Oppo.
Close connection to Google as a risk
Lenovo relies on a strong partnership with Google. Unlike Samsung's and Huawei's Android software comes almost unchanged on the devices. "It allows us to guarantee fast updates and good performance," said Hu.
Lenovo deliberately refrained from binding customers through its own services. For example, the manufacturer has so far not offered private customers their own cloud storage. "We experiment with such offers. But actually there are already a lot of good offers on the market, "said Hu.
The close connection to Google, however, makes the Chinese potentially vulnerable. Huawei, the second largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, is currently suffering from an embargo from the US, which is preventing its close cooperation with Google.
For new devices Huawei must therefore currently waive central Google services and build its own ecosystem. Hu does not scare this: "It's just a business risk among the many we have to deal with on a daily basis," he said. He does not want to force cooperation with Huawei on Google alternatives in a kind of China alliance. The consumer demand alone was relevant for the decisions, which cooperations Lenovo deal, it was said.
Instead, Hu wants to expand the connection of Lenovo PCs with Motorola smartphones. So far, no manufacturer has found a truly convincing solution, such as for data transfer and split screens. Therefore it could make sense to expand the own Motorola Assistant to own offers.
In addition, Hu wants to take advantage of the fact that many companies are already buying Lenovo PCs – and will increasingly offer them smartphones in the future. "We are already offering bundled offers to some pilot customers in Europe. We want to expand that – also because the companies ask for it, "he said.
The PC division is also expected to contribute to an image change. For example, Lenovo is currently growing strongly in PCs specially designed for gamers. For business users, on the other hand, Lenovo has just launched a novel laptop with a foldable screen – also an eye-catcher.
More: The technology industry discusses policy on regulation and innovation. At the Web Summit, this is more deliberate than in an election campaign or on Twitter.
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