Tablets not PCs will first introduce users to Windows 8: Lenovo

PC vendor expects Windows 8 tablets to lead market transition to the new OS

In 2012, Lenovo noticed that in Ultrabooks were becoming increasingly popular, according to Lenovo A/NZ products and alliances director, David Heyworth, who also counted the increased interest in hybrid devices, such as the ThinkPad Twist, as a pleasant surprise last year.

Lenovo’s attention ro the Ultrabook category was not unwarranted in 2012, considering the vendor released its own X1 Carbon Ultrabook.

“Ultimately, business needs tools not toys, and the X1 Carbon is able to cater to this,” Heyworth said.

“Ultrabooks have previously been perceived by business as being light and fragile, but sales of the X1 Carbon proved that the Ultrabook has a place in the enterprise as well.”

2012 rounded off a strong year for the PC vendor, following news of new product announcements and acquisitions, not to mention being named by Gartner as the world’s number one PC vendor.

“To be identified by Gartner is great recognition for us, but getting to this position is not our business focus,” Heyworth said.

The launch of a new Windows iteration always shakes up the PC market, and last year’s release of Windows 8 is already having an effect on vendors such as Lenovo.

For one, the PC manufacturer expects Windows 8 to take off in the tablet space, with Heyworth pointing a lot of interest in Lenovo’s Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

“In 2012, business users were forced to take consumer devices into the enterprise and there have been a lot of challenges associated with this trend from a mobility and security point of view,” he said.

Tablets will likely be the first step to Windows 8 for many businesses and, as such, Lenovo foresees this as a key trend in 2013.

“For those running Windows 7 or even XP, the Windows 8 tablet will act as the training wheels for a full move to Windows 8,” Heyworth said.

When it comes to desktops, 2013 will also be a year where significant growth will take place when it comes to the technology.

“Many years ago desktops only had a lifespan of three years, and now this is up to five years and beyond,” Heyworth said.

“As a result of this longer lifespan, customers haven’t seen a compelling reason to change.”

At this moment, Heyworth sees a “perfect storm” taking place that will give businesses a reason to change.

One reason he gives is the desktop PCs themselves are more attractive, being far more power efficient, smaller form factors, and more ergonomic design.

Another is the Windows 8 operating system, with Heyworth expecting desktop sales to be driven by customers wanting to migrate their operating system.

“The is also the physical nature of ageing desktops and liability these machines pose, which has already been an area of significant this year,” he said.

These are expectations that Lenovo does not take lightly, having attained the number one spot globally in commercial desktops and second place in consumer desktops.

Heyworth expects to see a lot of change in the ergonomic design of desktops, such as touch desktops and all-in-one devices, adding that workplace trends such as hotdesking and workgroup devicing “really lend themselves to desktop space” as well.

It is no surprise that, at least from Lenovo’s perspective, the “PC+ Era” is alive and well going into 2013.

Big in China

Beyond mere computer technology, Heyworth says the vendor will also grow its Cloud solutions in 2013.

“Lenovo’s acquisition of US software company, Stoneware, will strengthen our cloud capabilities globally,” he said.

When it comes to services, Heyworth said Lenovo’s strategic alliance with EMC will bring “a comprehensive range” of server and MAS storage solutions to the market.

Sectors such as education and health are identified as key focus areas for the vendor moving forward, with an additional 63,500 X130e notebooks being deployed to year nine students in New South Wales.

“Significant wins” with a major Australian bank, a large healthcare provider, and an airline are also expected to provide Lenovo will additional opportunities this year.

While Lenovo is known for its PC products locally, it has a wider portfolio of products in its home market in China, such as smartphones, that are slowly finding their way into other overseas markets.

“Lenovo has leapfrogged Apple to become the number two smartphone manufacturer in China and we expect to see this lead to follow in other large markets such as Indonesia,” Heyworth said.

The vendor has integrated its PC technology into Lenovo branded televisions that are currently on the market only in China and Japan.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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