Displaying items by tag: Lenovo

The intelligence revolution is upon us, says Lenovo CEO

Written on Thursday, 22 June 2017 10:14

Today we are standing at the beginning of the Fourth ‘Intelligence’ Revolution, said Yuanqing Yang, Chairman and CEO of Lenovo at the company’s TANSFORM event held in New York on June 20. Yang said Lenovo will “redefine IT” and encouraged “intelligent transformation” driven by cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

“I can’t think of a better place to hold our TRANSFORM event than in New York – a city that has transformed from a humble trading post 40 years ago to one of the most vibrant cities in the world today,” said Yang. “It represents a perfect example of the rapid transformation of our world that has propelled us from the steam engine to the internet era in just 200 years.”

200 years ago there were only a few companies that operated on a global scale, Yang pointed out. The total value of the world’s economy was around US$180 billion which represented just $188 per person on earth. Today, there is a wealth of global companies competing to sell everything from crude oil to servers and software. These companies “drive a robust global economy worth over $705 trillion.”

What’s even more remarkable, Yang said, is that the economy has almost doubled every fifteen years since 1950. This represents significant transformation for businesses and for the world – “so much achieved in a tiny slice of time.” This transformation is the “result of the greatest advancement in technology in human history.” Not one but three industrial revolutions have occurred over the last 200 years, Yang said.

“Today we are standing at the beginning of the Fourth Revolution. This revolution will transform how we work and lead in ways that no one could have imagined in the 18th Century or even just 18 months ago. You are the people that will lead this revolution.”

IT is no longer just information technology but intelligent technology and intelligent transformation, Yang said. This transformation is driven by big data, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. It has transitioned from PC internet to mobile internet. Today, said Yang, we are facing another big leap: from the mobile internet to the smart internet or intelligent internet.

“In this smart internet era, cloud enables devices such as PCs and smartphones, smart speakers, smart TVs, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to provide content and services. But the evolution does not stop there… almost everything around us will become smart with building, computing, storage and network capabilities. This is what we call the ‘device + cloud’ transformation,” said Yang.

Smart devices incorporated with various sensors will continuously sense our environment and send us details about our surroundings, he predicts. In order to store this ever-increasing big data, and to support the delivery of cloud content and services, data center infrastructure is also transforming to become more agile, flexible and intelligent. This is what Lenovo calls the ‘infrastructure + cloud transformation’.

Human wisdom enables artificial intelligence to learn from big data and make everything around us smarter, said Yang. With big data collected from smart devices, computing power of the new infrastructure will train artificial intelligence. We can understand the world around us more accurately and make smarter decisions. We can make lives better, work easier, and society safer and healthier.

“Think about what is already possible since we started this transformation: smart assistants can help you place orders online without voice command; driverless cars can drive on the same road as traditional cars; chat bots can help troubleshoot customer issues; and virtual doctors already diagnose basic symptoms. This list goes on and on,” said Yang.

“Like every revolution before it, with intelligent transformation, we are fundamentally changing the nature of business. Understanding and preparing for that will be the key to the growth and success of your business.”

The first thing made possible by the Industrial Revolution was maximizing production, he said. Water and steam power enabled people to go from making things by hand to making them by machine. This transformed how fast things could be manufactured and also improved the quantity of work, which led to a massive increase in traffic. With this revolution, business scale increased as the number of customers exploded.

Fifty years later, the second revolution led to modern enterprise. Electricity and telegraph communication made business “faster and more complex” challenging businesses to become more efficient and meet entirely new customer demands.

In our own lifetimes we have witnessed the third revolution which made it possible to digitize enterprise, Yang explained, highlighting how the development of computers and the internet accelerated business beyond human speed. Now, global businesses have to deal with customers at the end of a cable, not with a handshake.

“While we are still dealing with the effects of digitized business, the fourth revolution is already upon us. In just the past three years, the growth of data and advancement in artificial intelligence has been astonishing. The computing power can now process the massive amount of data about your customers, suppliers, contractors, and provide insights you simply could not imagine before,” said Yang. “Artificial intelligence can tell you what your customers want today and also tell you what they will want tomorrow.”

This transformation isn’t just about making better business decisions or creating better customer relationships, Yang explained. It’s about making the world a better place. He believes we can build a new world without disease, war and poverty with the power of big data and artificial intelligence, which will be the revolutionary technology to make that possible.

Published in Featured

At Lenovo’s TRANSFORM event held in New York on June 20, the company unveiled an end-to-end data center portfolio that enables customers to harness the power of the “intelligence revolution” and create a strong technology foundation that supports transformative capabilities such as data analytics, high-performance computing, hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Lenovo introduced its largest, most comprehensive portfolio of server, storage, networking, software and data center services, as well as a new set of brands poised to take this leading position in customer satisfaction to even greater heights: ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile. The new portfolio of Lenovo solutions will be available in summer 2017.

“Today’s announcements mark a significant day in the next phase of Lenovo’s commitment to advancing the data center customer experience,” said Kirk Skaugen, President of Lenovo Data Center Group speaking at the event.

“Our leadership in x86 server customer satisfaction and x86 server reliability, along with these new ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile brands, and Lenovo’s new portfolio of data center solutions represent the most reliable, most agile, and highest performing data center solutions in the industry. We are confident we can empower our customers to solve their most challenging business problems and become digital disrupters in their own industries.”

This year, Lenovo celebrates 25 years of proven Think quality, performance and reliability, and Lenovo ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile data center solutions provide organizations with fluid resources that can adapt to the evolving needs of a business. According to a recent IDC survey of CIOs and technology leaders, 72 percent of respondents cited supporting digital transformation and business growth as the leading rationale in IT infrastructure decisions.

In the past three years, hybrid cloud significantly matured, while software defined architectures and hyperconverged infrastructure have disrupted the status quo for IT infrastructure in larger businesses, according to Lenovo. In response to these changes, customers face challenges including evolving their infrastructure strategies and considering how to best enable them now and for the future.

The new completely redesigned ThinkSystem portfolio by Lenovo, based on Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, brings the gold-standard for the industry under a single unified brand spanning servers, storage and networking systems.

ThinkAgile is a completely new software-defined solutions portfolio built on the foundation of Lenovo ThinkSystem platforms: it adapts to changing IT needs while reducing complexity and cost created by silos in traditional IT. Even better together, the ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile portfolios empower customers to create the foundation of a future-defined data center with “simplicity, agility and flexibility, and future-proofed preparation.”

Often, customers find the price for technological advancement and advanced IT capabilities are complexity and confusion, according to Lenovo. The new ThinkSystem portfolio of servers, storage and networking solutions allows customers to address these concerns by giving them the ability to streamline IT infrastructure; this leads to increased service levels of data center operations that tie directly to business growth.

The ThinkSystem portfolio is engineered to work seamlessly with an organization’s previous investments, without the need to completely re-architect the data center. In addition, with the Lenovo ThinkAgile portfolio, integrated solutions adapt to changing IT and business needs by delivering the speed, simplified management and agility of cloud services while retaining the much-valued control and governance of on-premises IT.

Its pre-integrated, pre-built and pre-tested offerings deliver “robust new capabilities” to customers’ data centers, including automated lifecycle management, decreased TCO and reduced need for IT resources to maintain the platform. These solutions include the ThinkAgile SX series for Microsoft Azure Stack, as well as the ThinkAgile SX rack level solutions that integrate networking with hyperconverged offerings for a seamless customer experience.

Also, with the pace of technology innovation continuing to accelerate, customers will increasingly require the flexibility to adjust to changes and ensure the infrastructure they implement today stays relevant for their future needs. Lenovo designed the ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile solutions, such as the ThinkSystem SD530 high-performance computing offering, to support workloads spanning large data analytics applications to high performance computing, artificial intelligence and the largest hyperscale environments.

Lenovo is “committed to delivering transformational experiences for both its customers and the industry” and also announced the delivery of one of the most powerful systems – among the first in the world based on Intel Xeon Platinum processor family – to Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC).

The BSC MareNostrum 4 supercomputer, tasked with jobs in science and engineering research, incorporates 48 racks with more than 3,400 nodes with next generation Intel Xeon processors and a central memory of 390 Terabytes. Its peak power will be over 11 Petaflop/s, allowing the center to test and analyze the performance of the most recent developments in the field of supercomputing.

The newly launched x86 ThinkSystem platform provides us with ten times more processing power than the previous MareNostrum supercomputer, allowing BSC to continue the type of scientific research that enhances humanity's efforts to seek new knowledge and drive progress. Our experience with Lenovo has been easy and tightly integrated to overcome our challenges and achieve success, and we look forward to future collaboration," said Sergi Girona, Operations Director, BSC.

According to the latest IDC (International Data Corporation) Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker May 2017, the overall India Traditional PC shipment for Q1 2017 stood at 2.16 million units (i.e. quarter on quarter growth of 12.5 percent over Q4 2016 and year on year growth of 8.5 percent over Q1 2016).

The overall consumer PC market registered a shipment of 1.05 million units in Q1 2017, with a healthy 14.5 percent growth from the same period last year and 19.4 percent quarter on quarter growth.

“Post demonetization reform, market observed an upbeat demand owing to an optimistic shift in discretionary spending from consumers in first quarter of 2017,” says Manish Yadav , Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

The overall commercial PC market recorded a shipment of 1.11 million units in Q1 2017. On the backdrop of seasonality, execution of state-owned manifesto deals and increase spending from BFSI vertical, Q1 2017 observed a quarter on quarter growth of 6.7 percent and 3.3 percent year on year over Q1 2016.

“Commercial spending remained optimistic about the economic scenario and the potential for growth, despite uncertainty surrounding the stability of global economy,” says Sanjeev Sharma , Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

“IDC India anticipates a short-term postponement and resistance by traders during GST implementation phase. But in the long run owing to this structured tax regime the effect will get neutralized and will propel growth owing to festive season,” adds Yadav.

With focus, around enriching gaming as potential segment in consumer business, OEMs are looking to revamp their product portfolio and upsell in mid to premium range. On the other hand, commercial business is expected to grow over the next few quarters driven by state owned education projects.

Top 3 Vendor Highlights:

HP Inc. led the market with a 29.5% share of the overall India traditional PC market in Q1 2017. In addition to their success in the consumer segment, HP Inc. picked up some key wins and executed a few state-owned education projects along with fulfillment of projects in the banking and financial sector. This has led to a 5.8% growth quarter on quarter in the overall India traditional PC market in Q1 2017.

Dell took the second spot with 22.5 percent market share in the overall India traditional PC market in Q1 2017. The vendor continues to drive new initiatives and programs to provide seamless experience of learning for students through technology. Owing to such initiatives the vendor grew by 19.9 percent quarter on quarter in overall traditional consumer PC market in Q1 2017. Simultaneously the Dell EMC merger has provided the vendor an extra space for customer expansion, which could prove to be beneficial in the near future as well.

Lenovo held on to the third spot, with a 17.7 percent market share in the overall India traditional PC market in Q1 2017 and recorded a quarter on quarter growth of 15.1 percent, owing to the complete execution of manifesto project. The vendor also grew by 16.9 percent quarter on quarter in the overall consumer market owing to the efforts observed in improving the after sales support with different initiatives using not just the traditional way, but also social media and other new age technologies.

China’s Lenovo Group announced results on Thursday May 25, for its fourth fiscal quarter and full-year ended March 31, 2017. It was a year of significant transformation for Lenovo which made good progress in implementing and executing its new “three-wave strategy,” designed to meet the critical business challenges of today, while positioning the company for continued long-term profitable growth.

As part of Lenovo’s transformation, the company put in place an aggressive new end-to-end ownership model to manage each business differently, led by strong new leaders, and is seeing improvements as a result. 

“Despite challenging market conditions, Lenovo saw revenue resume to growth in the fourth quarter, after five quarters of decline,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Chairman and CEO. “To drive further growth, we have clearly defined the three-wave strategy. We will maintain PC leadership in scale, profitability and innovation in the first wave, while building our second wave, mobile and data center businesses into growth engines. Simultaneously, we will execute our third wave of “Device + Cloud” and “Infrastructure + Cloud” to capture the opportunities brought by new technologies. With this new strategy, we are confident to achieve long term, sustainable growth.”

For the fourth fiscal quarter, Lenovo’s revenue was US$9.6 billion, an increase of 4.9 percent year-over-year, fueled in part by a good performance in the PC/smart devices and mobile businesses. For the full-year ended March 31, 2017, Lenovo’s revenue was US$43 billion, down 4.2 percent year-over-year.

The company’s gross profit for the fourth fiscal quarter decreased 9.8 percent year-over-year to US$ 1.4 billion, while for the full year, gross profit fell 7.8 percent to US$6.1 billion. Operating profit for the fourth fiscal quarter was US$74 million. For the full year, Lenovo’s operating profit was US$672 million. Fourth-quarter net income was US$107 million, while net income for the full year was US$535 million, an increase of US$660 million year-over-year.

Basic earnings per share in the fourth fiscal quarter was 0.97 US cents or 7.56 HK cents, and for the full year basic earnings per share was 4.86 US cents or 37.71 HK cents. Lenovo’s Board of Directors declared a dividend of 2.63 US cents, or 20.5 HK cents per share for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

For Lenovo’s PC and Smart Devices (PCSD) business group, which includes PCs, tablets and smart devices, its quarterly sales were up 4.9 percent year-over-year to US$6.7 billion. Quarterly shipments grew one percent to 14.4 million, four points better than the overall market. Pre-tax income for the quarter was US$288 million, a decrease of 4.7 percent year-over-year.

For the full year ended March 31, 2017, Lenovo’s PCSD sales were down 2.3 percent, but beating the overall market, at US$30 billion. Shipments for the year beat the market significantly by 7.1 points, with 66.6 million, while pre-tax income margin stood at five percent, a slight increase year-over-year.

Importantly, Lenovo continued to deliver strong results in both the fourth quarter and full year in the hyper-growth categories in this business, such as gaming, detachables, Chromebooks and Millennial PCs (in China). For example, Lenovo’s gaming and Chromebook shipments were up 20.5 and 38.2 percent respectively in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile Lenovo’s detachables grew at a double digit premium compared to the market, and Millennial PC continued its rapid rise in China with triple digit growth for the fourth quarter in a row.

Lenovo’s Mobile Business Group (MBG), which includes Moto and Lenovo-branded smartphones, saw 19.7 percent revenue growth in the fourth fiscal quarter outside of China,

with total sales of US$1.7 billion. Fourth quarter smartphone shipments increased 17.4 percent to 11.3 million units outside China, beating the market significantly by 12.8 points. For the full year ended March 31, 2017, overall sales were down 5.4 percent and pre-tax income margin decreased 1.9 points outside China.

In Asia Pacific and Latin America, led by success in India and Brazil respectively, Lenovo’s mobile business continued to improve throughout the year. In Western Europe, shipments were up in France, Germany and the UK, while in North America, Lenovo’s channel expansion plans are on track. In China, Lenovo added new leadership, re-aligned its strategy and product portfolio, and cleared inventory to introduce a new product lineup.

Published in Finance

It’s been a tough ride for Motorola under Lenovo, but the company has managed to find success in budget smartphones with the recent Moto G5 and the Moto E series before that. Motorola seems to be doubling down on its budget smartphone range, according to a new leak obtained by VentureBeat, which shows the company’s plans to release an even more affordable Moto C series.

The new budget Moto C and Moto C Plus series will be aimed at first-time smartphone buyers, Evan Blass reports for VentureBeat, making a solid base for Android 7.0 Nougat but won’t offer much beyond that. Both the C and C Plus will feature a five-inch display, so the ‘Plus’ is a reference to its superior specs rather than the size of the screen. The Plus’ specs include 720p HD resolution, 4G LTE and a 64-bit 1.3 GHz quad-processor, while the standard model only has a 480p screen.

Catering to emerging and developed markets, the two C models come in two versions: one with 4G LTE radios and one limited to only 3G. Another difference between the C model and the C Plus model is that the C will only have 1GB of RAM whereas the Plus will come with either 1GB or 2GB depending on the region. In addition, storage space on the devices will vary depending on the market, but the report says you can expect either 8GB or 16GB with space for a microSD for adding additional content.

The rear of the Moto C features a 5-megapixel camera and autofocus is only added to the 4G model. Both the C and C Plus models sport have a 2-megapixel selfie camera, but the Plus model gets an 8-megapixel main camera. The report indicates that both models should have reasonable battery life with a 2350mAh capacity in the Moto C and 4000 mAh in the Plus model. Details about the release of the new models haven’t been shared yet.

Published in Devices

Lenovo at MWC 2017 announced an ecosystem of devices and services that support the new era of mobility and represent how today’s users are demanding solutions that bridge connectivity, hardware and user-centric design.

Lenovo is introducing a new device portfolio that spans nearly all mobile form factors for the ultimate in choice with: the detachable Miix 320, blending affordability with connectivity on-the-go – two convertibles, mobile powerhouses Yoga 720 and 520 – four tablets, the versatile Tab 4 family built for everyone in the family – and Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus, smartphones that pair premium features with affordable prices.

All these devices share the ability to give users true mobility, such as the powerful option of LTE for near-ubiquitous connectivity. At the same time, Lenovo is announcing an enhancement to Lenovo Connect with support for reprogrammable e-SIMs, which on select Windows LTE enabled devices, will allow customers to take advantage of their local Telco contract for data when at home and the best local wireless pricing when they are roaming, without having to swap out their SIM.

The Moto G heritage is one of premium features without a premium price tag, and the all-new Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus remain true to this legacy, delivering what people want most without a premium price tag.

The newest members of the Moto G family bring together an unexpected combination of beauty and power. Both devices feature precision crafted metal design – a first for Moto G - and powerful octa-core processors that enable exceptional performance. Long lasting, all-day batteries mean less plugging in and more getting done, fingerprint readers keep user information safe and secure and advanced camera capabilities allow for the capture of stunning photos with faster focus.

The Lenovo Tab 4 tablet family builds on the foundation of its mainstream tablets by making them even better: delivering four beautifully designed, powerfully built devices crafted for every member of the family. High on the multimedia experience, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Lenovo Tab 4 10 models have dual speakers and Dolby Atmos. 

The Lenovo Tab 4 family also introduces an all-new premium line for media buffs: the Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus and Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus, sporting a standout dual-glassdesign with full HD displays, powerful processors and up to 12 hours of battery life.

Lenovo takes the tablet concept ever further with optional packs that transform the Lenovo Tab 4 series into dedicated kid’s tablets or productivity tablets. The Kid’s Pack comes with a shock-resistant bumper, a blue-light filter and a pair of colorful, scratch resistant 3M stickers, augmented by an optimized kid’s experience from the Lenovo Kid’s Account, which features up-to-date and curated kid’s content, a browser with whitelisted websites and scheduling tools for parents.
The tablets can also transform into a 2-in-1 Android workhorse with the addition of the optional Productivity Pack with Bluetooth keyboard, which complements the experience of the Lenovo Tab 4’s productivity interface. This interface incorporates a taskbar for quick switching between apps, multi-window support, support for common keyboard shortcuts, and optimization for mouse and keyboard operations.

The Miix 320 combines the productivity of Windows 10 with full keyboard in a lightweight, affordable detachable. Use it as a laptop with its up to FHD 10.1-inch display for work or detach and use it as a portable tablet on the go weighing only 550g.

With up to 10 hours of battery life, you can catch up on a full season of Game of Thrones without a charge. Connect nearly anywhere with its optional LTE. The mobile multitasking generation will find its balance of size and weight particularly useful with its detachable screen to watch videos, its stable docking keyboard and full PC performance when needed to create content.

Lenovo Connect e-SIM enhancement makes it easy to connect anywhere in the world – no more swapping out SIM cards. Lenovo Connect gives users a seamless connection and local wireless pricing even when they are abroad by taking advantage of local Telco contract for data. Users can even share the same plan across devices when those devices are enabled with Lenovo Connect.

There are times when mobile users want the full power and productivity of a PC in a thin and light machine. As these multitaskers constantly flip between work and play, Lenovo built the Yoga 720 and 520 for them, available in 13, 14 and 15-inch models. The 15-inch Yoga 720 is the most powerful convertible in its class and comes with up to the latest 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete graphics, blazing-fast Thunderbolt 3 and up to nine hours of battery life.

For those looking for a wafer thin device, Lenovo designed the 13-inch Yoga 720 that’s 17 percent thinner than before at just 14.3mm. All the convertibles give users the most freedom and flexibility to use Yoga the way that fits their on-the-go lifestyles best through multiple modes.

Published in Devices

SAP and Lenovo announced a partnership under which Lenovo will deliver a new enterprise cloud solution created exclusively for customers holding licenses for the SAP HANA platform in China. The solution will be named “Lenovo Enterprise Cloud designed for SAP HANA” and is intended to open a simple and powerful migration path for China customers seeking to leverage their investments in SAP HANA offsite in a cloud environment.

SAP and Lenovo passed the one-year mark of an expanded strategic alliance announced last year in January. The latest announcement follows several other significant milestones achieved in 2016 as part of the companies’ joint commitment to develop new cloud solutions for the Chinese market, pioneer global innovations leveraging SAP HANA and Lenovo server technologies, and executive collaborative go-to-market programs.

The two companies have worked together since 2010, particularly in China. Lenovo’s new solution will be customized with support from SAP, to optimize performance availability running SAP HANA-based applications such as real-time data analytics. The core infrastructure will employ Lenovo’s effective System x3850 and x3950 X6 servers, while the System x3650 M5 will power the application servers.

“This new dimension of our partnership with Lenovo gives China enterprises access to a powerful, highly scalable cloud solution for rapidly and efficiently deploying applications running on SAP HANA off premise,” said Edward Chen, chief business officer, SAP Greater China. “Also, we anticipate that Lenovo Enterprise Cloud designed for SAP HANA will be a compelling option for customers because it leverages the company’s high-performance server technology, as well as its deep skills and experience in delivering these applications.”

Lenovo will build and operate the end-to-end cloud data center infrastructure for the solution in China, while also managing and supporting its SAP HANA database and applications, including customer technical support such as a hotline service. SAP and Lenovo will together expand market presence and offer off-premise solutions to customers in China. SAP will help Lenovo with quality assurance during the deployment and support process.

With the agreement, Lenovo gains a major new channel for its industry-leading capabilities in deploying SAP HANA and delivering its benefits. The company currently is among the largest SAP customers in China and also runs one of the largest instances of SAP HANA in the Asia Pacific region. By deploying SAP HANA in-memory database technology deeply in its own organization using its own infrastructure, Lenovo has developed vast knowledge of how to optimize application performance, as well as implement the technology rapidly and efficiently, which it applies to customer engagements.

As IoT grows, PC popularity wanes

Written on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 08:15

Recent preliminary results from Gartner, Inc. shows that worldwide PC (personal computer) shipments totaled 72.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.7 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2015. In total, for the year 2016, PC shipments totaled 269.7 million units, a 6.2 percent decline from 2015. The significance of PCs is diminishing as the smartphone trend and popularity of connected devices takes center stage. PC shipments have declined annually since 2012, while mobile broadband subscriptions have been growing by around 25 percent annually, increasing by approximately 190 million in Q3 2016 alone, Ericsson reports.

Mobile subscriptions are growing at around three percent year on year globally and reached 7.5 billion in 2016, according to Ericsson’s recent Mobility Report. The increased efficiency of smartphones is outweighing traditional PCs, making them less necessary to own. While Lenovo holds the position as the world’s biggest PC and laptop maker, it cannot hide from the fact that globally, PC sales in 2016 were down by 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, the number of mobile subscriptions exceeds the population in many countries, according to Ericsson.

"Stagnation in the PC market continued into the fourth quarter of 2016 as holiday sales were generally weak due to the fundamental change in PC buying behavior," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "The broad PC market has been static as technology improvements have not been sufficient to drive real market growth. There have been innovative form factors like 2-in-1s and thin and light notebooks, as well as technology improvements, such as longer battery life. This end of the market has grown fast, led by engaged PC users who put high priority on PCs. However, the market driven by PC enthusiasts is not big enough to drive overall market growth."

Ms. Kitagawa continued: "There is the other side of the PC market, where PCs are infrequently used. Consumers in this segment have high dependency on smartphones, so they stretch PC life cycles longer. This side of the market is much bigger than the PC enthusiast segment; thus, steep declines in the infrequent PC user market offset the fast growth of the PC enthusiast market."

In Ericsson’s Mobility Report, it says greater device affordability is encouraging new mobile subscribers in developing regions, while growth in mature markets is largely due to individuals adding more devices; meanwhile, PC sales are declining. What’s more, with 5G on the horizon, smartphones will be able to cater to even higher demands of service. The introduction of 5G, according to Ericsson, will accelerate transformation in many industry verticals, enabling new use cases in areas such as automation, IoT and big data.

Smartphones are becoming more dominant than PCs, but Ms. Kitagawa indicates that there is still hope for the PC market. Although the overall PC market will see stagnation, there are growth opportunities within the market such as the engaged PC user market, the business market and gaming. However, these growth areas will not prevent the overall decline of the PC market, at least in the next year, she says.

Four of the top six PC vendors experienced an increase in worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner’s research. The top three vendors all increased their global market share in the fourth quarter. Lenovo maintained the number one position, as the company experienced shipment increases in North America and EMEA, while Asia/Pacific and Japan continued to be challenging markets.

In addition, HP remained in the second position and it has recorded three consecutive quarters of shipment growth. HP secured the top position in PC shipments in the US and EMEA, growing faster than the regional averages.

Dell also registered three consecutive quarters of shipment growth in Q4 2016. Dell continued to place PCs as a strategic business segment in commercial and consumer markets during 2016. Asus suffered the steepest decline among the top six vendors in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company has been shifting its PC strategy more toward the high-end market, which will allow it to maintain better profit margins. Gartner analysts said the falling shipment volume could be the cause of this strategy shift.

According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report, North America saw 405 million mobile subscriptions in 2016. Subscriptions associated with smartphones continue to increase, the report says, and have surpassed those for basic mobile phones. Fifty-five percent of all subscriptions are now for smartphones and, in Q3 2016, smartphones accounted for close to 80 percent of all mobile phones sold. In comparison, Gartner’s research says PC shipments in the US totaled just 16.5 million units in Q4 2016, a 1.3 percent decline from Q4 2016.

Five of the top six vendors in the US PC market experienced a shipment increase in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner. However, this was offset by a 20.9 percent decline in the ‘Others’ category, and a 48.3 percent decline in shipments by Asus.

"Similar to low-key back to school sales in 3Q16, big sales events, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales are no longer effective marketing opportunities for PCs since PC purchases are generally driven by a 'need,' rather than 'want,' motivation," Ms. Kitagawa said. "PCs are not a preferred gift item any longer, as consumers gravitate toward other consumer electronics, such as virtual personal assistant (VPA) speakers, virtual reality (VR) head-mounted devices and wearables. Vendors and channels did not have high expectations for the holiday PC sales, so the marketing campaigns remained relatively quiet."

The consumer items that Ms. Kitagawa refers to – such as virtual reality headwear and wearables – fall under the IoT (internet of things) umbrella. Ericsson predicts that the number of projected IoT devices will reach 1.5 billion in 2022. This growth, according to the report, is due to increased industry focus and 3GPP standardization of cellular IoT technologies.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw a decline in PC shipments in 2016. PC shipments in EMEA surpassed 21.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.4 percent decline year over year, according to Gartner. PC shipments to the consumer market were driven by good Black Friday sales in Western European countries, such as the UK and France, especially on traditional notebooks, ultramobile clamshells, the hybrid form factor and gaming PCs. Gartner's early estimates also show PC shipment growth in the business segment, led by Windows 10 deployments during the fourth quarter.

In addition, the Asia/Pacific PC market totaled 24.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2016, a 3.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2015, according to Gartner. The PC market was affected by two major events. First, the demonetization of the Indian currency in India led to weaker-than-expected consumer PC demand. Second, the success of China's 11.11 (Singles Day on 11 November) online shopping event gave a boost to consumer notebook sales.

Ultimately, growth in the number of connected devices is driven by emerging applications and business models, and supported by standardization and falling device costs, Ericsson reports. The traditional PC market is being swamped by the growing needs consumers have for mobility and convenience, which can be provided by smartphones and other connected devices under the umbrella of IoT.

Published in Featured

One of the many exciting announcements made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 5-7, 2017, came from Chinese computer manufacturing company Lenovo, which announced the launch of its new ‘Smart Assistant’ powered by Amazon’s ‘Alexa’. Lenovo is the latest company to join the market for voice-activated devices, and its Smart Assistant comes at a reasonable price.

Lenovo’s new Smart Assistant will sell for $129, and will compete with Amazon’s Echo speakers using the artificial intelligence developed by Amazon. The smart home assistant was reportedly built in collaboration with Amazon, and is able to recognize “users’ voice commands to conduct web searches, play music, create lists, calendar reminders and much more,” Lenovo said in a statement.

The Smart Assistant was announced just ahead of CES 2017, along with a vast array of exciting tech showcases. Lenovo’s product risks being overshadowed by other similar devices, such as Google’s smart home product which can respond to questions and voice commands and connect to smart appliances, enabling the user to set a thermostat or turn on an oven remotely.

Lenovo’s senior vice president for personal computers and smart devices, Johnson Jia, said, “Our goal has never been to simply build smart home devices for the sake of advancing computers and smart devices. In the same way a person’s IQ is measured by applied knowledge, we believe products are ‘smart’ to the degree they’re actually understood and applied to daily life by their users.”

Amazon is said to be “excited to work with an innovative company such as Lenovo to bring the Lenovo Smart Assistant with Alexa to customers this spring,” said Amazon’s vice president for Amazon Alexa, Steve Rabuchin. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is expected to be available for purchase in May 2017.

Published in Internet of Things

China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, announced that its 4G subscriber base reached almost 510 million in November 2016. This reportedly represents a staggering 30% of the total number of 4G subscribers around the world. However, China Mobile added just over 12.5 million TD-LTE subscribers in November, compared with a net increase of 16.6 million 4G users in October, which represents slow growth for the company.

China Mobile’s growth still far outweighs its competitors, including China Unicom, which added 5 million 4G customers in November, taking its 4G LTE subscriber base to 99 million. China Mobile’s other rival, China Telecom, added 4.3 million 4G subscribers in November, bringing its total 4G user base to 117.3 million. The three mobile operators combined represent over 720 million new 4G subscribers in November.

China Mobile is currently involved with an IoT (Internet of Things) development project with Vodafone, Ericsson and Lenovo. The group recently signed a letter of intent. According to reports, China Mobile plans to connect its IoT connection management platform with Ericsson’s DCP platform and Vodafone’s IoT platform, which will provide its enterprise customers with a unified global network access, portal experience and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Through this, China Mobile wants to push forward its overseas market expansion and improve the company’s service capabilities. What’s more, China Mobile’s partnership with Lenovo will kick-start its plans to launch a range of notebooks with built-in 4G-LTE modules which will provide users with China Mobile’s high-speed 4G mobile internet services.

Published in Telecom Operators
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