Lenovo breaks price barriers with latest smartphones

John Rojo, business unit head for Lenovo Mobile at Open Communications, the official distributor of Lenovo mobile phones in the Philippines, talks about the latest Lenovo phones for the Philippine market at the launch in Xiamen, China on October 9, 2012. InterAksyon.com

XIAMEN, China – Lenovo Mobile exclusively launched to Philippine dealers and resellers its latest line-up of mobile phones that could set a new level of price competition in the Philippine mobile phone market. The event was held here in the Fujian island city on October 9.

The three newly released Lenovo mobile phones include the S560, 700i, and the K860.

First to be introduced was the S560, which the Chinese computer giant touted as a “music phone” targeting the young people. The phone’s specifications, however, are almost similar to that of the earlier Lenovo P700, only this time the S560 — since it was presented as a media-playing device — has included Dolby speakers as one of its main features. Moreover, it’s still dual-SIM, plus a 1GHz processor, a 4-inch IPS screen, and priced at P10,999. The large battery ampere rating (2500mAh), according to Lenovo, will last the phone up to 50 hours of music playback.

The P700i, on the other hand, is the obvious successor to the Lenovo P700, which was launched mid of 2012. It still has a dual-SIM feature, plus 4-inch IPS screen.

“IPS” stands for in-plane switching — described as a type of thin display that offers better viewing angles than traditional TFT-based LCD screens/monitors. The IPS technology is said to deliver more accurate colors, which also allows the screen to be viewed from a wider angle.

“(The P700i) is the evolution of the P700 for the professional” said John Rojo, business unit head for Lenovo Mobile at Open Communications, the official distributor of Lenovo mobile phones in the Philippines.

“Aside from a faster dual-core processor running on Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), this new version now has better battery life that would last you a day and a half, and a better screen experience,” added Rojo.

The Lenovo K860 high-end Android smartphone with quad-core processor and 5-inch display, breaks the P20,000 price mark. InterAksyon.com

High-end smartphone, mid-end price

As for the K860, this marks the entry of Lenovo in the high-end smartphone segment. Lenovo Mobile however, took the lead of bringing high-end phone prices to the middle-end price range.

The K860 will be priced in the Philippines at P19,999. This practically breaks the P20,000 price barrier for a smartphone with the two basic high-end specs: quad-core processor, and a larger 5-inch display

“The value proposition for the K860 is the price,” said Rojo. “Our first entry to the high-end phone market is priced below the P20,000 level.”

More of the K860 specs and photos here.

In August, Lenovo surprised the market by coming out with a 5-inch “phablet” (phone/tablet) priced at only P14,999.

When it was released, the Lenovo S880 was packed with Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich Android operating system, a 1GHz processor, and a long battery life powered by a 2250mAh battery.

Topping the market

“Lenovo is Number One in desktop computers and Number One in corporate laptops, and it is not hard to see that we can do the same in mobile phones,” said Kevin Hou, general manager for emerging markets at Lenovo Mobile.

“In China alone, we have 13.1 percent of the smartphone market, while we have 12.3 percent market share for tablets. Our PC Plus strategy comprised of Smart TV, personal computers tablets and smartphone working in seamless connectivity,” said Hou. “By the end of 2012, we’ll have 48 phones in the market, including one Smart TV and 12 tablets.”

Hou, who at one time was the country manager for Microsoft Philippines, said that Lenovo Mobile aims to be big in the mobile phone arena. “By next year, we want to be at least Number Two in the mobile phone race.”

In an earlier report, Rojo said that Lenovo is ready to compete in the mobile phone space as it prepares to introduce “more affordable phones” targeting Filipino consumers in the coming months.

At the recent Xiamen event, Rojo continued the same stance: “Lenovo Mobile Philippines is ready to support our dealers and resellers to bring Lenovo mobile devices to a greater audience in the Philippines.”

Lenovo mobile factory tour with Philippine mobile phone dealers and resellers. InterAksyon.com

The phone factory

While in the Chinese island, the Philippine contingent was treated to a plant tour of the Lenovo factory, where most of the current Lenovo mobile phones are being manufactured.

The sprawling modern factory is 82,000 square meters wide but officials at Lenovo said that they have only used around 48,000 square meters, leaving enough room for any future expansion.

Aside from manufacturing and packaging, the factory also houses a research and development division where Lenovo mobile devices pass through a variety of rigorous tests. According to Lenovo officials, this checks the quality and performance of their products even before the manufacturing starts.

Among the different pre-market factory evaluations include drop tests, keypad longevity test, extreme high and extreme low temperature environment tests; electromagnetic, radio frequency (RF), antenna analysis, and even wear and tear examinations.

With 2,799 employees, and with two shifts within 12 hours, the phone factory churns out over 15 million units per year.