Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lenovo tablets to take on Samsung, Apple




After increasing its market share from 7.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 to 10 per cent in the first quarter this year, Lenovo India is ready to take on Apple, Samsung and domestic tablet PC vendors with its own Lenovo Ideapad and Thinkpad tablets. These range between Rs 14,990 and Rs 46,900.

The three different tablet PC models are targeted at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) enterprises and consumer segments. Amar Babu, managing director, Lenovo India, positions the brand ahead of its competition. “Some vendors have only tablet PCs, while others have pure enterprise tablets. Just like personal computers, different users have different demands from tablet computers. So, we chose to target SMBs & enterprises with distinct tablet PCs, complete with business features like customised app stores. Consumers can choose the affordable seven-inch Android tablet PC for Rs 15,000,” he says. The tablet PCs from Lenovo would be available across 700 Lenovo outlets and large format retail stores by the end of October.

Chinese computing giant Lenovo, the fourth-largest PC vendor after HP, Dell and Acer, carried out extensive enterprise research before launching its business tablet PCs. “Lenovo has over 1,000 enterprise customers. Practically, everyone gave us feedback that they would like to see a USB port on a business tablet PC, since this would ensure official data can move from PC to the tablet,” says Babu. The Android 3.1 ThinkPad tablet, meant for enterprises, comes with a stylus that helps in taking notes (which automatically convert to handwritten text), gives secure e-mail access, supports Cisco VPN, has Microsoft ActiveSync integration and also packs in a HDMI connector, a USB 2.0 connector and a micro USB connector.

The Android-powered Lenovo tablets come with over 40 pre-loaded apps customised for users in India. “We will also work with enterprises and SMEs to deploy closed app stores for business tablets allowing chief information officers to manage devices and tablet content efficiently,” says Babu. Lenovo App Shop, a custom-built app store on its tablet PCs, would feature entertainment, books, productivity, social networking and weather apps scanned for malware. The company has also loaded apps like the Social Touch app, built specifically for Lenovo. This integrates Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, other e-mail and calendar access into a single timeline feed that can be viewed by contact, date, or time.

The nascent tablet PC market is yet to see 'enterprise-focused' tablet PCs succeed, indicating a fully-featured consumer tablet PC perhaps works far better than building one tweaked for professionals. However, Babu says, “We are not experimenting in the Indian tablet PC market that is estimated to touch 200,000 units in 2011. We are serious about this business so much that globally, Lenovo has set up a new division to develop services and applications for tablets, smartphones and digital home technology.” He says the company would begin seeding Lenovo tablet PCs with existing Lenovo PC enterprise and SMB clients. “They know the brand and our service. We are confident that within few months, we should have a healthy order book from India,” Babu says.

Rajiv Rao, director (SMB), Lenovo India, says, “Lenovo aims to create an impact in the SMB market by an aggressive retail push, deeper channel penetration and channel engagement, and introduce an exclusive product range.

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