Line Between Notebooks, Tablets Continues to Blur
With the introduction of the Microsoft Surface 4, it's easy to understand how solution providers and their customers are becoming increasingly confused about the difference between a tablet and a traditional PC.
Over time, that distinction is going to be much harder to make, said Sammy Kinlaw, Lenovo's executive director of U.S. channel sales.
Lenovo is gearing up to deliver an IdeaPad Miix 700 (pictured), a 12-inch tablet that the company classifies as a "two-in-one" device based on a sixth-generation Intel Core m7 processor. As other classes of Intel Silverlake processors inside devices running Windows 10 become available, the distinction between a tablet and notebook PC will blur even further, Kinlaw said.
Ultimately, instead of carrying three or more devices, Kinlaw said most end users will once again wind up with two: a tablet that can function like a PC and a smartphone. To that end, Lenovo announced this week that Synnex has become the first U.S. distributor to add to its line card the Motorola smartphones that Lenovo acquired.
The goal, Kinlaw said, is to give solution providers access to a full complement of mobile devices as well as a complete range of PCs, workstations, servers and, in partnership with Nutanix and SimpliVity, hyper-converged appliances to complement them.
Rather than agreeing to add support for the Microsoft Surface devices that are primarily sold direct, Lenovo is opting to stay true to its 100-percent channel roots. As part of that commitment, Lenovo will roll out "two-in-one" systems that, in terms of functionality, will match any high-end tablet at price points that will be significantly lower.
While there may not be much margin in mobile computing devices for solution providers, it's more than apparent these days that mobile computing is the tail that wags the rest of the enterprise dog. A need to provide a broad range of mobile computing applications is not only changing the types of devices that organizations decide to acquire; it is causing them to increase their investments in a broad range of apps and related IT infrastructure.
Lenovo's second-quarter revenue reached $12.2 billion, up 16 percent year-over-year, but the company recorded a net loss of $714 million due to restructuring costs and a write-down for Motorola smartphone inventory.
In reporting Lenovo's second-quarter results, company officials said that their mobile strategy to shift their growth focus outside China continued to pay off. In addition, the company gained share and improved margin in mobile.
Lenovo is aiming for continued growth in mobile computing devices and in the New Year is banking on mobile computing to be the tail that wags the dog—in this case, for servers and appliances to be bundled in the same solution sale as mobile products.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.