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Lenovo North America president: 'It's a dual-device world'

David Schmoock sees a bright future for PCs and mobile devices alike

By , Network World
August 22, 2012 10:16 AM ET
David Schmoock

Network World - Lenovo Senior Vice President David Schmoock, who heads the company's North American operations, recently shared his thoughts on the rise of the tablet, Windows 8 vs. Android and Lenovo's attempts to raise its profile in the U.S. consumer market.

Tablets vs. PCs

The rapid development of smartphones and tablets has caused many in the computing industry to proclaim the death of the old-style home PC -- combined with cloud technology, consumers seemingly have few reasons left to own a fully fledged computer.

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Schmoock, however, says that rumors of the traditional PC's demise are greatly exaggerated. He's seen little evidence that tablet adoption is undercutting laptop sales.

"The tablet world is almost completely complementary to the PC world," Schmoock says. "It really is a dual-device world."

Of course, that isn't to say there isn't major change happening on the device front, he adds. For one thing, PC refresh cycles have grown longer thanks to a poor economy.

"There was a period of time in which people paused, just because of the economic recession: 'Maybe instead of 36 months, we'll go 48 months,'" says Schmoock. However, those same business customers are now beginning to add tablets on top of their traditional PC deployments, he says.

Lenovo's most recent quarterly results show the company growing PC market share across the globe, even as overall sales enter a downturn. Moreover, Lenovo has nearly caught up to top dog HP in terms of PC market share worldwide.

Schmoock says that the mobile market is likely to consolidate more heavily than the PC market, at least in terms of form factors.

"I do think there will be more convergence between tablets and phones than I have seen between tablets and PCs," he says.

Windows 8 and Android

The senior vice president was bullish on Windows 8's prospects, despite increasingly widespread discontent over the operating system.

"I think Win 8 will be successful. If it's not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. ... We as a company ... have excitement around Windows 8, and I think, initially, the success of Windows 8 is going to be consumer-oriented."

However, Lenovo is pursuing different aims with its Windows 8 and Android projects, Schmoock says.

"What I think you'll see is probably different form factors around Android. Some of the smaller screen sizes will be more Android-focused from Lenovo," he says. "ThinkPad [using Windows 8], by default, is going to be geared toward commercial and business [use].

"The key, though, is making sure you know what you're doing and having your target in focus from a market perspective. Even today in smartphones, there isn't one company that dominates everything. At the end of the day there's always going to be a strong No. 2 and probably a good No. 3," says Schmoock.

Grabbing mindshare

North America is still the slowest-growing of Lenovo's major regional markets, according to Bloomberg. The company in North America posted revenue gains of 6.8% in the first quarter, compared to 62% in the EMEA region and 72% in Asia and Latin America. However, Lenovo is looking to change that in 2012.

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