Yuanqing Yang has a tough job. Lenovo’s chief executive officer is battling a slowdown in the hypercompetitive smartphone market, while the PC industry – Lenovo’s cash cow – is in accelerated decline.
Despite these headwinds, Yang is optimistic. Speaking at the Davos summit last week, the executive said he expects smartphone users in developing markets to eventually graduate to a PC, which Yang called a “more powerful, full function device.”
Yang’s remark is sound, at face value, but there’s a whiff of wishful thinking here. PC sales have been declining for years – the end of 2015 brought the lowest sales since 2007 – and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortunately for Lenovo, the Chinese giant stands to win even if consumers decide they don’t need a laptop after all. Lenovo ranked fourth in 2015 in global unit sales, despite a large drop compared to the year before. 73.9 million Lenovo and Motorola smartphones were sold last year, compared to 92.7 million in 2014.
Despite rumors of the contrary, Yang said Lenovo will continue to promote Motorola’s brand, particularly in the US, where the company will introduce a new device in July. The executive said this device will be “more innovative and more attractive.”
The Moto X Style and Moto X Play were introduced on July 28 2015. It’s safe to assume that the innovative device Yang is teasing is the fourth generation of the Moto X line. There is still room to grow in the US, thinks Yang, who noted that Apple doesn’t seem able to increase its market share above 50%.
A leak from December may give us a glimpse at the device Lenovo has in store for July. The image shows a device with a metallic unibody construction, a departure from the metal frame with customizable backs used since the original Moto X.