Lenovo is the fastest growing PC maker in the world. The Chinese computer company outgrew every other PC maker for the past seven quarters and is now the third largest PC maker by volume. There’s no questioning Lenovo is a major player in the desktop and notebook fields — and soon tablets, or so says the CEO, Yang Yuanquing.
Lenovo recently announced three tablets, the Honeycomb ThinkTab and IdeaPad K1 along with the Windows-powered IdeaPad P1. The first two just hit the market with the Windows tab coming this fall. With these three tablets, each with a distinct target demographic, Lenovo hopes to surge to the front of the tablet race. Of course that means going head-to-head with the iPad, a product Lenovo’s CEO sees as a top-tier item and whose $500 price puts it out of reach of those in “the small cities, townships, low salary class, low-income class.” Someone should probably tell Yuanquing that his craptastic IdeaPad is only $50 less.
Let’s look at the full quote, courtesy of the Financial Times:
“Apple only covers the top tier. With a $500 price you cannot go to the small cities, townships, low salary class, low-income class. I don’t want to say we want to significantly lower the price, rather our strategy is to provide more categories, to cover different market segments.”
It’s hard to argue against that strategy. Different consumers want their tablets to do different things and one product cannot cover all the bases. The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 targets consumers with a curvy exterior and Netflix app. The prosumer ThinkPad packs a strong security suite, active digitizer stylus, and enough straight lines to look right in any corner office. The IdeaPad P1 is there for consumers and companies that still need/want Windows on a tablet for some reason.
This multi-demographic approach is widely different from what other companies are doing. But it’s not off to a good start.
IdeaPad P1 reviews started popping up. I turned down a review sample; all Honeycomb tablets are essentially the same right now. Engadget gave it a 6/10 while Joanna Stern over at ThisIsMyNext awarded it a more honest 4.5/10. The only notable feature on the consumer-oriented Honeycomb tablet is the Netflix app but is effectively countered by Honeycomb itself and a cheap build. The IdeaPad P1 will likely make a few owners happy but it’s a hard sell at $449 when the iPad is only $50 more. It’s hard to see how Lenovo views their tablet hitting the lower-income demographic when there’s only a $50 price difference.
Lenovo is hitting the tablet market running but it’s still unclear if it will pay off. The IdeaPad K1 is just another stale Honeycomb tab while the remaining two-thirds of Lenovo’s tablet offering targets businesses with tablets that replicate notebook functionality. If Lenovo wants to set their tablets apart from the iPad – and they should – the Android tablets should first prove how they increase productivity and fit in business world – that’s a trick even the iPad hasn’t pulled off.