Lenovo dives into consumer market with IdeaPad

All-business ThinkPad gets a consumer-focused cousin to help stave off Acer and other rivals

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata, a research firm in Nashua, N.H., said going the consumer route, should also open up whole new channels for Lenovo. "I'm not seeing ThinkPads in my local Best Buy," he added. "Maybe I'll start to see some Lenovo machines in retail outlets now."

To start off, Office Depot will begin carrying the IdeaPad Y510, according to Lenovo, which Haff called a smart move. Just last month, Dell Inc. announced it would begin selling desktop and laptop computers at Best Buy Co. stores, another move in its attempt to mount a stronger challenge to high-flying rival Hewlett-Packard Co.  Dell had long depended only on direct sales channels for many years, but the company last summer branched out to retail outlets.

Company executives hope that Lenovo's move into the consumer market will help the company ahead of Acer Inc., which is picking up market share and momentum in the laptop arena.

According to a recent report from iSuppli Corp., Acer actually reported the strongest third-quarter performance in the global PC market, with shipments growing by a whopping 68.8%. Acer's PC shipments shot up to 5.4 million units in the quarter, up from 3.2 million in the third quarter of 2006, said iSuppli.

Matthew Wilkins, an analyst at iSuppli, said in a earlier interview that Acer's continued growth should enable it to usurp Lenovo's No. 3 position in the overall PC market by the end of the fourth quarter.

The trio of IdeaPad notebooks -- the IdeaPad Y510, Y710 and U110  -- will be sold in the U.S. starting in the second week of January. The notebooks use facial recognition, which makes the user's face his pseudo password. They're also certified with Dolby home theater-level digital surround sound. The 15-in. and 17-in. laptops have five speakers, including a subwoofer.  

The Lenovo IdeaPad U110

The Lenovo IdeaPad U110

Merrigan noted that the 11-in. laptop has a red aluminum alloy cover with texture impressed into the metal. And select models come with frameless screens, which are designed to give users a wider view. Lenovo also added an ergonomics touch -- adding a hinge for a broad separation between the keyboard and the LCD screen.

"It looks more like a style statement versus business," added Merrigan. "ThinkPad is always business appropriate, like a black pinstripe suit, where this is more expressive."

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y710

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y710 Starting price for the 15-in. laptop is $799, and more than $2,000 for a 17-in. gaming model.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon