Tonight Alex was at the Lenovo Tech World Conference in Beijing as a guest of Lenovo and joined us via Skype
with Matt Codington,
Managing Director, Lenovo Australia and New Zealand. Together they gave us some details on the conference and Matt spoke about Lenovo in general.
Lenovo founded the conference as a way of looking at how technology is changing and the challenges this creates. The connectivity of devices and the implications of that to developing technology is the driver behind this conference. There are some big players at the conference. Satya Nadella - CEO of Microsoft, the CEO of Intel - Brian Krzanich and Robin Li - CEO of Buida, China’s equivalent of Google, are all giving keynote addresses.
The following Thursday was the main day with the anticipation building for some major announcements on the day. Alex didn’t know what was in store and Matt was not giving anything away either.
The discussion moved on to Lenovo, the company. When Matt joined the company in 2007 it was number seven in the world. Now it’s the number one computer manufacture in the world. Matt spoke about how Dell was so successful because of its logistics, its ability to deliver. Lenovo took this idea and, along with an innovative approach to technology, grew its PC business into the large company it is now. It has also expanded its interests. Lenovo was the third largest mobile phone company in the world and last November acquired the Mobile phone Company Motorola.
Alex asked the group if anyone had heard of Lenovo, or the Thinkpad. Lenovo took over the IBM PC division some years ago. Most people had seen or heard of the Thinkpad laptop with its distinctive red button in the middle of the keyboard.
The Thinkpad is now made by Lenovo. Matt then went on to speak about Lenovo’s re-entry into the consumer market in Australia.
For some time Lenovo has concentrated on its commercial arm and now, partnering with JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, Lenovo has reintroduced its consumer range of Laptops and tablets to the Australian market. Matt ran through the main items available, starting with the Yoga range. Mat described the Yoga Pro 3 and how the unique hinge allows a 360 degree range on the stand.
The Yoga series comes as a ten inch tablet with either an Android or Windows operating system. Or you can have a choice of either a 12” or a 14” notebook.
Alex and Matt went on to talk about the role Ashton Kutcher has in Lenovo. Well known for his roles in “That 70s Show”, “Punk’ed” and “Two and half Men” Ashton has a deep interest in technology. His is not just the celebrity face of Lenov, Ashton has a role as Product Engineer and had a hands-on input into the design of the Yoga range. He was in Australia recently and “Punk’ed” a few unsuspecting JB Hi-Fi customers, trying to sell them Lenovo product.
Matt discussed what made the Yoga tablet range unique. First up was the position of the battery. Lenovo run a cylindrical battery down the side of the machine shifting the center of gravity and making the table easier to hold. Secondly, the battery has an eighteen hour life. On batteries, Matt spoke of how the new technologies are making both batteries and laptops thinner but with much higher performance. It has a built-in stand, giving you the option to place the machine up in any position. The most innovative idea was the projector. Built into the side of the hinge you can project onto a wall or screen.
The projector is only available in the 13” tablet. Lenovo has also announced that a new Pico portable Bluetooth projector is on the way at under $500. Lenovo is in schools with the Yoga 11e, a laptop for kids. You can use it as a tablet and it has an active pen allowing full integrations with forms etc.
Following a question about the choice of operating systems, Matt spoke on how Lenovo produces most of the tablets with a choice of systems. The 11e used in schools has a great range. It comes in Android chromebook or Windows, with or without the yoga hinge, with or without a touch screen and the active digitizer pen.
Matt’s response to a few questions from the floor: The battery will recharge in about 3 hours. The projector is on the side to give it a bigger lens. There are plans to reposition the projector so you sit in behind the projected screen.
Some question were asked about warranties. Lenovo has a twelve months warranty but you can purchase various extended warranties within the first twelve months. The price range is between $50 and $80 for accidental damage. Repairs can be done at their Matraville depot and the repairs are undertaken by Lenovo qualified IBM technician’s
We then moved on to discuss the new logo and the marketing campaign to bring awareness of the Lenovo range.
The Thinkpad range were Lenovo started, the new moto mobile phone business with the new moto 360 watch, the wide range of choice in tablets and laptops. There is a big campaign on Instagram, Facebook and twitter.
Matt was keen to get feedback about what we as consumers wanted. He started by asking what our favorite new technologies were. The favorites were smart phones and small tablets. Matt then asked what we liked about them. The answer primarily was the large range of applications and the touch screens.
Matt spoke about the significance of “big data”, the collection of mass information about or habits, likes dislikes, etc, and how it will change the way we are marketed to. He asked what we saw as the significant emerging technologies. The main ones that had the groups attention was 3D printing. On 3D printing, while Lenovo is not producing any 3D printers, it is involved in the innovative possibilities with NASA using 3D printing to make parts in space.
We ran out of time for more discussion but Matt spoke of the possibility of a visit later in the year to look at the new technologies being announced at Tech world.
Thanks to Alex we had a range of goodies
Some of our winners