NEW YORK -- Lenovo Group Ltd. has launched a new line of desktops and PCs, dropping the IBM Think brand in the global product and marketing launch.
Company leaders said during a news conference Thursday that they will continue to offer the Think PC line with the IBM logo for at least four years. Their 3000 series, however, offers an alternative and a means to push the Lenovo brand for small business owners.
The products are aimed at businesses with less than 100 employees, lacking IT teams and lacking IT strategy. Executives are touting aggressive prices (beginning at $400), a trendy silver chassis, "worry-free" computing as well as integrated marketing. They hope that helps distinguish the line from the "black tuxedo-style," ThinkCentre products, which are aimed at large enterprises and praised for their platform stability.
"Lenovo will offer the new PCs as the smart choice for today's most savvy entrepreneurs, priced to fit the budgets and computing needs of even the smallest firms," said Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Lenovo, China's largest PC-maker, has been selling IBM's notebooks and desktops internationally since buying IBM's unprofitable personal computing division for $1.25 billion last year. Purely Lenovo brands, without the IBM design and logo, could only be found in China. Now, the company plans to sell the products directly and through business partners, like Office Depot.
The new products coincide with Lenovo's success as an Olympic partner, which has allowed the company to shine on a world stage while supporting major computer applications for athletes, broadcasters, judges, volunteers and others. It has also helped Lenovo link its name with star athletes and desirable characteristics like speed and excellence.
As the world's third largest computer maker, Lenovo has performed well in high-end products and among large businesses, but the company wants to improve overall financial performance, market penetration and brand recognition, especially among small business owners outside of China.
Small and midsize businesses spent more than $400 billion on computer-related products and services worldwide last year, according to Gartner Inc. That trend is expected to continue this year, according to a report released by the research agency earlier this month.
With that in mind, Lenovo is offering Lenovo Care, a set of autonomic tools for PC maintenance and service. A system recovery button allows users to easily diagnose and recover from catastrophic failures caused by viruses. Updates are automatically downloaded and installed on a schedule chosen by the user. A connectivity feature tells users what networks are available, increasing ease of use in different wired or wireless settings.
The Lenovo C100 notebooks weigh 6.3 pounds and offer complete connectivity features, an integrated microphone, and an integrated combo or DVD recordable drive. It also incorporates a 3-in-1 multi-card reader for downloading digital images, four USB ports and firewire and S-Video slots. It includes an Intel 915 Chipset with Pentium M or Celeron M processors with mobile technology and an 8-cell lithium ion battery with up to five hours of power.
The Lenovo J100 and J105 desktops include options like ThinkVision USB SoundBars and ThinkPlus Preferred Pro USB Fingerprint keyboards. The J100 has a SiS 616 Chipset with Pentium4 or Celeron D processors. The J105 has an AMD Socket 754 board with AMD Sempron or Athlon processors. Both come with serial ATA drive support, 6 USB 2.0 ports and front-side audio.
AMD has about a 50 percent share of Lenovo desktops in China and considers the opportunity to replicate that success around the world as a major step in the right direction, executives said Thursday.
Basic software packages include Norton, Corel, Adobe Reader and Google as well as multi-media solutions.