Lenovo Small Business Laptops

AMD Small Business Laptops and Product Positioning Analysis
On March 3, Lenovo held a presentation of new product lines aimed at small and medium businesses in Moscow. The presentation was organized as usual at Lenovo. In a pretentious place (in this case, the Gallery café on Petrovna), close to the city center, but you can’t get there and park, besides, even in the morning, when all the cars go to the center. Traditionally, for Lenovo presentations, people were invited much more than they organized places (flea market is the same attribute of these presentations, as well as the choice of places), and the demonstration area was the size of an average elevator …

What’s new interesting?

The presented models formally belong to the corporate ThinkPad line, but at the same time they are aimed not at corporate users, but at small and medium-sized businesses. As you know, the requirements for technology in this segment differ from corporate ones, in particular, buyers of small and medium-sized businesses pay much more attention to the price of the product, in contrast to corporate users, for whom the “total cost of ownership” parameter is decisive.


The second most interesting fact is that the models of the new lines are built on the AMD platform. A couple of years ago, a forecast that AMD products would appear in IBM / Lenovo laptops, especially corporate series, would have caused laughter or suspicion of the author’s madness. And so … But first things first. There were four presentations in total.

Lenovo market position

The first speaker was Arthur Wei, Vice President, Lenovo Group, General Manager, Russia and CIS, Lenovo Emerging Markets Division.

China’s Lenovo still views Russia as an emerging market. However, Toshiba, as far as I remember, also had the same for a long time. An emerging market is good, but although manufacturers insist that “there is no difference”, this is a little bit wrong. Certain programs (including warranty support), models, and accessories may not be available in such markets. Also, although now this happens less and less, nevertheless sometimes it jumps that in these countries there are lovers of glass beads.

In his presentation, Arthur Wei focused on describing the company’s position and its success in the market over the past year. In the first part, he spoke in detail about media feeds. Lenovo made many announcements at CES, attracted a lot of attention from the press (who unsubscribed in detail about new products), conducted 53 video interviews, and received various awards from publications at the end of CES.

The most original and interesting is undoubtedly the U1 Hybrid. This is a netbook from which you can pull out the screen (it will start working as a separate tablet) and take it with you somewhere, and then insert it back and continue working as with a laptop. From the point of view of functionality and originality in our boring market, the novelty is extremely outstanding, and therefore has received a large number of awards: in modern conditions, when there are almost no original products on the market, it looks like a breath of fresh air. It remains only to wait for her to enter the market and see what happens and what her marketing prospects will be.

The second novelty is the Skylight internet device. Built on the Qualco Snapdragon platform with a 1 GHz processor and its own Linux-based OS, it is mainly focused on working on the web and simple applications (special attention is paid to blogs, this is just some kind of mania!). 10-inch screen, 20GB storage on a flash drive (which can be undocked and used separately), online storage available. An important feature of the model should be its autonomy – up to 11 hours of battery life.

Another interesting model is the Halo A300 Monoblock.  The screen supports multi-touch.

And finally, the heroes of today’s presentation are ThinkPad Edge laptops.

But for now, let’s leave the topic of products and technologies and turn to financial indicators. Here is the third quarter data from the event.

The next slide shows data on the company’s position in the market. The leftmost graph shows Lenovo’s market share changes, the middle one shows growth in emerging markets, and finally, the last slide shows the company’s growth in the consumer sector. It is worth noting that the first slide shows Lenovo’s share in sales of computers in general (i.e. not only laptops) and takes into account the whole world. That is, if I understood correctly, this includes China, where the company has the strongest (almost monopoly) positions.

Finally, the last slide illustrates the dynamics of the Russian market. True, it is difficult to draw conclusions for one third quarter (especially with regard to the decrease in the shares of Acer and ASUS), but the share of Lenovo is growing and quite stable. But starting from the bottom, it’s easy to show steady growth.

This concludes Mr. Wei’s presentation.

During Mr. Wei’s speech, Ekaterina, an individual entrepreneur, was invited to the stage to illustrate what a typical buyer of new Lenovo lines looks like. Her speech was remembered for the phrase “suddenly it is necessary to go to the client for a shopping consultation”. In general, such speeches are very similar to all presentations of all companies. And it is never possible to understand why, for example, in the corporate segment a strict black laptop is needed (from almost all manufacturers), and small businesses are equated with parrots, hanging a bunch of silver moldings and other fintiflyushki on the models intended for them, as well as making laptops of a variety of unexpected flowers.


Innovation at Lenovo

The next speaker was Philip Davy, Lenovo VP of THINK Series Products. By the way, Philip came to Lenovo from IBM.

It is even named – “the company of the first”. Philip focused on the innovation and innovation of the company: the first portable model on the market (weighing less than 2 kg), the first to bring a hard drive protection system to the market, etc.

However, the tactics of emphasizing the company’s innovativeness and leading role in the creation of new technologies are not new. At one time, almost every company on the market emphasized its innovativeness, sometimes even putting it at the top of the list of priorities. Recent examples include Toshiba and ASUS. Now almost all manufacturers are pushing against innovation, because in the current environment, renewal and technological growth are probably the last remaining reason, appealing to which, you can force users to update systems that are already working extremely well. Moreover, it is very funny to observe how companies demonstrate the same or very similar technologies in support of their own innovation.

This slide shows the many stages of the creative path of improving the line – each of them marks the introduction of a new unique technology for the market.  The final step is the new T400s with a touch-sensitive screen. Here’s a good example. On the one hand, touchscreens have existed on the market for a very long time, Chinese developers have tried from time to time to install them in a variety of models, and large world manufacturers stubbornly ignored them. For a long time, the technology “did not go”, remaining a niche and interesting only to a small circle of enthusiasts. Now, when Microsoft has taken over its promotion, many manufacturers have begun to pay great attention to it: more and more 12-inch models acquire the functionality of tablets, most of the solutions got rid of Wacom’s radical drawback – the ability to work only with a stylus, and learn to work with a finger user. The monoblocs that appear at all manufacturers make their contribution. So the technology is not new. However, in terms of functional features, this particular Lenovo model is unique to the market. Personally, the ThinkPad T400s with a touchscreen is very interesting to me, I would like to have it as the next laptop.