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January 19, 2011

Lenovo Looks to Take Advantage of Tablet, Smartphone Craze With New Business Group

Chinese PC and laptop maker Lenovo (News - Alert) has created a new business group that will be charged with the task of developing Web-enabled home and mobile electronics, including tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs.

The Mobile Internet and Digital Home Business Group will be run by Liu Jun, formerly president of Lenovo’s Product Group. Peter Hortensius, former head of the company's Think Product Group, will take over the role left vacant by Jun.  

"Lenovo recognizes the tremendous growth potential of the mobile Internet, as well as that of new categories like cloud computing and smart TV, and so we are putting the focus and investments in place to fully capitalize on these opportunities to drive growth in our business today and for many years to come," Yang Yuanqing, chief executive officer of Lenovo, noted in a statement.

For Lenovo, the formation of the new business unit is part of the company's overall effort to take its brand into a number of consumer markets outside of China. The announcement comes just a few days after Lenovo unveiled the LePad, the company's first tablet device.

The LePad will go on sale in China before the end of the quarter, but it will not hit U.S. shelves until Android's (News - Alert) new tablet-centric operating system is officially released, according to the AFP. The company is also expected to launch a number of other Android-based tablets on a global scale during the second half of 2011.

Last year, Lenovo released its first Internet-enabled handset, the LePhone, and sold 400,000 units in China during the first four months. The thriving tech giant indicated that it won't market the phone outside of China until it develops stronger consumer appeal.

Meanwhile, Lenovo is not the only company with a track record in a different industry to try to take advantage of the tablet craze.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association (News - Alert), estimated that as many as 80 tablet devices were introduced or teased at the Consumer Electronics Show, which wrapped up in Las Vegas earlier this week. Companies with no real background in the space, including television manufacturers Vizio and AOC, each announced tablets during CES week.

Forrester Research (News - Alert) recently speculated that tablet sales will more than double in 2011 to a total of 24.1 million units, up from 10.3 million last year. The PC market, on the other hand, just finished up off a very below-average fourth quarter.


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