January 2, 2008 9:00 PM PST

Lenovo has eyes on consumer PC market

Lenovo is undertaking an Olympic-size effort to establish itself as a consumer PC brand.

The Chinese PC maker has found great success with the iconic ThinkPad brand of commercial laptops, a business it purchased from IBM. And now it's taking the world stage with a new line of consumer-focused notebooks called IdeaPad. There will also be a desktop line called IdeaCentre.

The IdeaPad will come in 15-inch and 17-inch widescreen models beginning this month, with an 11-inch widescreen to be available near the end of March. There's a heavy emphasis on design and an obvious appeal to specific lifestyle applications, including gaming, entertainment, and easy portability.

The 15-inch model is sleek in the tradition of the ThinkPad, but with a linen-like texture on the outer cover, chosen specifically to stand out from the high-gloss route taken by so many other PC makers. The 11-inch model will come in metallic red and will measure just more than half an inch thick. The 17-inch model has specialized gaming, music, and video controls, and comes with an optional high-definition Blu-ray drive.

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All have Dolby-branded sound with four speakers plus subwoofer, as well as an integrated camera with face-recognition software so a person's face can be used in place of a password. There is no bezel, or border, on their screens.

Just two years since buying IBM's PC business and a month since ditching the IBM logo on its ThinkPad line--which it was entitled to use for two more years--Lenovo is launching a whole new product category. But the timing of its entry into consumer electronics retail in 15 markets worldwide comes with risks.

With Lenovo being the official sponsor of the 2008 Summer Olympics in its home country, it's a good bet the company will use its position to introduce itself to the world as a consumer PC maker. It'll also be showing off the new systems at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But this isn't the most opportune time to be entering the consumer notebook market.

Industry growth numbers are not nearly as high as they used to be. In the third quarter, growth stood at 22.5 percent, according to IDC, compared with 36.3 percent in the third quarter of 2006. And the already-crowded marketplace is getting even more packed, as PC giant Dell has made a splashy entrance into the retail market to tangle with established players like Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Apple, and Gateway.

Consumer retail is mostly new for Lenovo. As a brand, it is the third-largest PC maker in the world, thanks to its commercial business. Lenovo hopes the popularity of the ThinkPad will lure consumers into buying a Lenovo for home or school use.

"There's a certain halo effect into consumer, better than you might anticipate," said Craig Marigen, Lenovo's vice president of global consumer marketing. But, he added, "there is a long way to go in establishing a really leading brand for Lenovo."

Good looks help in selling oneself to the masses, but will that be enough? As visually appealing as the IdeaPad notebooks may be, it's tough finding room on the shelves of retail outlets, especially when the low-end pricing of $799 for the 15-inch model and $1,199 for the $17-inch model puts IdeaPads squarely in competition with practically every other major notebook vendor.

CONTINUED: Shut out of Circuit City…
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14 comments

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Wow "LENOVO"! Remember the IBM (DOETSCH) ThinkPad Anyone!
Wanna sell LENOVO (DOETSCH) ThinkPads...

Now, "All Your (OS/2 (DOETSCH) ThinkPads) Base Are Belong To Us"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9oh3gqOEKU" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9oh3gqOEKU</a>

Happy (Live Long) and Prosperous New Year 2008!

;-) :-$ :-D !

Commander_Spock
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Three Things That OS/2, ELVIS and CHAIRMAN MAO...
... have in common:

1. They are all dead but still folks all around the world remembers them and make money from them.

2. They all had a affinity with the word "central": CHAIRMAN MAO - DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM; ELVIS - CENTER STAGE; and OS/2 - CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT.

3. Now that IBM PC has been sold to China's LENOVO - this, along with the recent formation of the OS/2 WORLD FOUNDATION... there will now perhaps be millions more; and not "thousands of fanatics won?t let these three deceased entities (legends) rest in peace." ;-) :-$ :-) !

Live Long And Prosper!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Two additional things...
... "Things That OS/2, ELVIS and CHAIRMAN MAO had in common were that that they knew how to stick to their "PROGRAMS": OS/2 - System Calls, Multi-Tasking, Robustness (to wait for DOS, Windows 95, XP...), ELVIS - When To Come On and When To Leave The Stage; and, CHAIRMAN MAO - TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACKWARDS. ;-) !
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Lenovo/Legend not exactly new to consumer market
I visited Legend in Beijing back in 2001, before it acquired IBM's PC group and changed its name to Lenovo. I remember that they had a fairly well developed marketing effort geared towards Chinese consumers, with displays of colorful and friendly PC's for kids, home computers and more professionally looking systems. If you want to read more about Lenovo/Legend and China's computer market, you can visit my English blog "The Nordic Link"
at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sandberghans.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sandberghans.blogspot.com/</a>
Just search for Beijing's Silicon Valley or Leegend, and the articles should pop up.
Hans
Posted by h4sweden (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So....
... the article describes Legend as "a shining star among China?s young and fast-growing computer companies. It has leapfrogged the competition - both domestic and foreign ? and captured 31 percent of the PC market in China, as well as 12 percent of the Asian market (outside Japan.) Last December, it opened a new $200 million PC factory, which can build 2 million desktop computers each year..." How is it that "Legend" did not/could not influence the decision-makers for the OLPC Program that it can also come up with "better" (or competitive) alternative.?
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Lenovo can't meet shipment deadlines
Lenovo will not make it if they continue to conduct business like they do with the laptops. Although initially thought to be a one time event, Lenovo habitually misses deadlines on delivery of laptops.
3 customers as of this writing have been waiting since before Thanksgiving for their laptop. They will not receive their laptops until after 2/10/2008 - IF even then. These are not special builds.
Last spring - customers waited 3 months for laptops to be delivered.
There is too much competition for apathy on the part of larger companies.
Posted by Dolphie1 (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lenovo Quality?
When IBM controlled the laptop design, the Thinkpad was a good system. Lenovo built it, but they built it to IBM's harsh specifications. It was a no nonsense business class machine.

When IBM finally sold the laptop line to Lenovo, the quality immediately shifted to budge / economy but still asking high prices. I have to service all of it and there is a very real change in materials, construction and design between IBM Thinkpads and Lenovo models. Lenovo models are very cheaply built and designed. The cases are fragile and frequently broken. The LCD's they use in the X60/T60 line have known issues with a high failure rate.

I'm surprised that they would introduce a consumer line- I'm not sure you can build as system any cheaper than they are now unless they decide to use cardboard instead of plastic for the cases.

I don't see this as being a good thing for consumers.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What is the "Quality" of the PC?
The "Box", the "Operating System" - OS or the "Network"! "Lenovo built it, but they built it to IBM's harsh specifications. It was a no nonsense business class machine..." So, what has changed from the "IBM T. J. Watson's Philosophy" as far as OS/2 is concerned?

Again, from the subject line: What is the "Quality" of the PC? The "Box", the "Operating System" - OS or the "Network"!

Now, "All Your Base Are Belong To Us"

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9oh3gqOEKU" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9oh3gqOEKU</a>

"To Boldly Go" At Warp Speed.

;-) ;-) ;-) !
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
ThinkPads rule
I haven't touched the latest models by Lenovo, but I love my ThinkPad R50. If what you say is true, it's a shame that such a great line of portable, business-worthy machines has been ruined.
Posted by TBolt (70 comments )
Link Flag
Something for you to think about Lenovo's quality here
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techspot.com/news/23245-lenovo-and-apple-offer-best-laptop-quality-says-rescuecom.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.techspot.com/news/23245-lenovo-and-apple-offer-best-laptop-quality-says-rescuecom.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2767" target="_newWindow">http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2767</a>

"In other words, there's no shortcuts being used in build quality from past ThinkPad notebooks since the Lenovo takeover of IBM -- only enhancements."
Posted by bigandcute (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I only fix the broken laptops
And the laptops produced by Lenovo using Lenovo designs instead of the IBM ones previously simply have a much higher failure rate and suffer damage in case design than the IBM models.

Make what you will of that- I only work on the broken stuff. Cost of repair of a Lenovo is 2-3x that of any other brand. If your Lenovo works, then that's great.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
 

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