Lenovo’s ThinkPad is the brand of choice when it comes to enterprise notebooks – Dell has a strong footing still, to be sure, but Lenovo dominated the PC market in 2013, followed by HP and then Dell. The acquisition of Motorola Mobility today gives them a chance to parlay that success in the traditional computing world into the booming enterprise hotspot of mobile tech.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lenovo Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing and CFO Wong Wai Ming explained that the purpose behind the purchase was to help Lenovo enter the U.S. smartphone market and make the company a worldwide player in the smartphone market. But we’ve also learned that Lenovo has been conducting research about what customers might be looking for in a ThinkPad-style smartphone, particularly at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Lenovo asking prospective buyers what they might expect in a ThinkPad phone doesn’t necessarily equate to a major mobile enterprise push, but there are more pieces to the puzzle to consider, too. One important one is that Lenovo made a bid for at least portions of BlackBerry, but the deal was ultimately nixed by the Canadian government since BlackBerry was so important a part of the Canadian telecommunications infrastructure.
It’s true that the company already sells Android phones abroad, and that these aren’t necessarily enterprise-focused. But the ongoing demise of BlackBerry leaves a gaping hole in the industry in terms of secure devices, and so far the only company really making a concerted effort to capture the attention of that market is Samsung, which has been touting its Knox security software for Android a lot in the past few months. But Knox isn’t without its detractors, and Samsung hardly has the brand cachet that does Lenovo when it comes to building enterprise hardware.
Lenovo says it will keep its Motorola brand separate in the same way it has done with ThinkPad, but that doesn’t mean it’ll keep the focus solely on consumer devices. Lenovo is clearly interested in that side of things too, as proven by its existing line of mobile hardware, but the growth opportunity in the U.S. is ironically replacing BlackBerry at the moment, so I think we’ll see an attempt by Lenovo to use Motorola to build on its strengths and give business users the phones they’ve been looking for.