Author(s): Peter Bryer
There's a lot that's new about Lenovo lately. The company has a new logo, a new slogan and is now hosting a new industry conference. Most of all, there's a new sense of technology leadership radiating from Lenovo. This is a confident global competitor.
At the Lenovo Tech World 2015 event being held today in Beijing, the company's CEO Yang Yuanqing is demonstrating devices, software and services alongside industry leaders such as Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Baidu CEO Robin Li. Lenovo could establish this event as a new display of global innovation, pulling in big names and showing off long-term visions and projects.
Lenovo's event is more focused on demonstrating possibilities than products, unlike shows hosted by rivals including Apple. Among the purported firsts at the show was a dual-screen smartwatch concept called Magic View. The technology uses optical reflection to provide the wearer with a secondary screen for wristwatches that can magnify images up to 20 times, giving the illusion of a large (but private) display. Magic View appears to be an interesting demo, but is still a few years away from productization.
Lenovo also showed a prototype smartphone with a built-in projector, able to cast an image of a touch screen. For example, a virtual keyboard could be displayed from the phone onto a table, affording the user a full-sized PC experience. Such concepts and even products have been making the rounds for more than five years, but Lenovo showed some potential in bringing the idea to a wider audience to deviate from the market standard of a smartphone. The company has the volumes to change the market.
CCS Insight's figures suggest that Lenovo is now the world's third-largest smartphone maker, having surpassed long-established handset brands like HTC, LG and Sony in recent years. It's a fantastic accomplishment that's been helped by the growth of the Chinese market and the company's long-term thinking. Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola Mobility last year did more than round out the Chinese company's portfolio — the move extended its global reach and provided it with an international, balanced management team and brand recognition.
Lenovo's Tech World conference is expected to become an annual event, rotating around the globe. The company has joined the ranks of top industry leaders, and earned its own venue. Lenovo's management has demonstrated a talent to outgrow the market and outmanoeuvre venerable competitors.
The company's "never stand still" motto is more than an idle boast: it reflects the company's evolution from an original design manufacturer to a major tech brand. A decade after buying IBM's PC business, Lenovo has grown into a top maker of PCs, smartphones and tablets. The company has earned its position in the leadership table.