Lenovo beats Apple to unveil smart television

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am


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Mainland computer giant Lenovo yesterday unveiled its first smart television in Las Vegas, leapfrogging Apple in a race to introduce advanced products in this nascent market segment.

Lenovo's new 55-inch, high-definition K91 smart television runs the latest version of Google's Android operating system and will initially be available on the mainland.

In November, Lenovo's chief financial officer Wong Wai-ming confirmed the foray into the smart television arena this year by the world's second-largest supplier of personal computers.

A smart television provides internet access, online video streaming, and the capability to download software applications from the internet and sync files with smartphones and media tablets.

Introduced ahead of tomorrow's opening of the four-day International Consumer Electronics Show, the industry's biggest trade show in Las Vegas, the K91 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8060 dual-core processor.

It features a built-in 5-megapixel webcam, a flicker-free liquid crystal display panel, SRS Labs' TruSurround three-dimensional audio technology, voice control, face-recognition security, and online access to applications from the Lenovo App Shop and Android Market.

The K91 will be released worldwide at a later date, according to Lenovo, which did not provide the price.

Liu Jun, president of Lenovo's Mobile Internet and Digital Home business group, said the goal was to create a seamless digital experience.

He described it as a 'personal cloud' vision {minus} for users of Lenovo's personal computers, various smart devices and its eponymous App Shop (its so-called cloud-computing hub that offers applications and games for download).

That vision, however, parallels what Apple has already achieved with the integration of its online App Stores and new iCloud platform with the iPhone, iPod, iPad, iMac and MacBook laptops.

There has been market speculation that Apple will also introduce a smart television since the recently published official biography of its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, mentioned the successful development of such a device.

Hong Kong-listed Lenovo has apparently been ahead of Apple and other industry peers in establishing strategic partnerships to support smart television sales.

In March, the firm forged an agreement with the Shanghai Oriental Media Group and its Shanghai Radio & Television Station unit to collaborate on mobile internet video services that are accessible across smart televisions, personal computers, media tablets and smartphones.

In November, Wong said Lenovo had the capability 'to dominate the [domestic] smart TV market because we are designing products for mainland consumers'.

Lenovo shares rose 7.35 per cent yesterday to close at HK$5.99.

That continued a steady rise that was sparked last week after the firm revealed plans to restructure its global business into four regions.

They are China; Asia-Pacific/Latin America; North America and Europe; and the Middle East and Africa, respectively.

Alberto Moel, senior analyst at Berstein Research, said such a reorganisation would 'improve execution as management attention and co-ordination regionally can be more focused'.


The internal storage capacity, in gigabytes, that Lenovo's K91 smart television boasts.

It also has 1GB of RAM