Lenovo predicts rise of laptop-tablet hybrids

Tablet computers have had their day and it is time for hybrids, says company which has introduced its Windows 8 convertibles

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 5:04am

Computer giant Lenovo expects global demand for so-called "convertibles", ultra-lightweight devices that combine laptop and media tablet functions, to start expanding from next year.

Chief executive Yang Yuanqing said Lenovo "believed the emotional purchase trend" for media tablets by consumers has reached its peak.

This has paved the way for the successful entry of new laptop-tablet hybrids led by the company's new ThinkPad "Twist" and IdeaPad "Yoga", he said.

"These convertibles will meet consumers' demand for more power in tablet devices," Yang said on Thursday.

Launched at a company event in New York last month, the IdeaPad Yoga has a hinge that allows a user to fold its 13.3-inch display from notebook to media tablet position in one simple motion.

This multi-mode device is powered by Intel's latest microprocessor and Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system, which is primed for multi-touch screen operation.

The ThinkPad Twist, following its name, allows a user to twist its 12.5-inch multi-touch screen from notebook to media tablet position.

It also has a new Intel processor, runs the Windows 8 Pro system and has optional 3G mobile connectivity.

Yang pointed out that Lenovo pioneered the development of this new category of computers, which were introduced at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held every January in Las Vegas. "We will unveil more exciting products at CES next year," he said.

Lenovo, which research firm Gartner declared recently as the world's largest supplier of personal computers, has also been developing and producing traditional media tablets to compete against Apple's popular iPad through its fledgling Mobile Internet and Digital Home (MIDH) division.

The MIDH unit, which was set up by Lenovo in January last year, also manufactures smartphones and internet-linked "smart" televisions.

Alberto Moel, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research, said the hybrids that Lenovo is championing "should see incremental gains, [since these are] starting from a low base".

"The hybrids have probably faster growth potential in the mid-term relative to tablets," Moel said.

Technology analyst firm IDC has forecast global media tablet shipments to reach 261.4 million units by 2016 from 117.1 million this year.

Lenovo's share price climbed 5.78 per cent to finish yesterday at HK$6.96, benefiting from the strong fiscal second-quarter results that the company reported on Thursday.

The Chinese technology giant posted a 13 per cent increase in net profit from record revenue of US$8.7 billion in the quarter ended September 30.