Lenovo is an up-and-coming player in the Android world, having taken the Chinese smartphone market by storm in the last couple of years. Now that it owns Motorola, we'll likely be hearing the Lenovo name even more often over here in the US as the company seeks to expand the presence of its Android portfolio across the world.
This is probably especially true of tablets, which Lenovo has consistently been creating for a number of years now, and an area where Motorola has generally fallen flat.
Some companies like to make a show of their appearances at big tech conferences like IFA. Some of them just like to announce everything all at once, and Lenovo is squarely in the latter category. The company's only Android addition in Berlin is the Tab S8, but thanks to an interesting collection of specs and price tag, it's worth your attention. The 8-inch tablet is a decent mid-range device on paper, but the interesting part is that Lenovo has set the suggested retail price at $199.
If you've ever wanted cloud storage that you don't have to pay for each month, well, you have had no shortage of options for years. But here's another one. Lenovo has launched an Android app that taps into its new Beacon storage device. This way it can serve files to your Android phone or tablet alongside your TV and other electronics.
Android devices actually get a better deal than TVs, which must be physically tethered to the Beacon using an HDMI cable.
Lenovo, despite being the relatively new owners of Motorola Mobility, didn't need this acquisition to produce attractive new hardware - at least for markets other than the US. The Vibe Z, which never made it to our corner of the world, looks poised to get a sequel that ups its game in every area that matters. Shots of a phone dubbed the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro have surfaced, showing a 6-inch phone with a quad HD display, a 4000mAh battery, a 16MP OIS camera with dual LED flash, and a Snapdragon 801 processor. The Vibe Z's plastic body has been replaced by an impressive metal one.
Regular slate tablets are not for you. No sir/ma'am, you demand flexibility and utility from your electronics. Lenovo's Yoga line might be more accommodating for your needs, since it uses a unique chassis that combines a kickstand, an ergonomic handle, a massive battery pack, and a pair of stereo speakers into one bulbous side of the device. Today's Best Buy deal of the day is the 8-inch Yoga Tablet, on sale for $70 off.
My love of devices with built-in kickstands is well-documented. So it's no surprise that Lenovo's Yoga Tablet line, which is more or less built around the kickstand (or at least a big, rounded, multi-purpose hump that holds the kickstand and several other neat things) would catch my attention. The first versions were brought down by sub-par hardware, but Lenovo is back with the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, which addresses a lot of the issues with the original.
Lenovo isn't really known for putting out the best Android tablets on the market, and last year's lackluster YOGA tablets are a perfect example of that. The design seemed nice, but both the eight and 10 inch versions of the device were simply lacking in the spec department. Lenovo is looking to change that stance this year with the all new YOGA Tablet 10 HD+, which takes what worked with the original's form factor and stuffs it full of mostly decent hardware.
The CEO of Lenovo claimed in a phone interview with Bloomberg that the company plans to turn Motorola profitable "in a few quarters" - primarily by shifting one of the brand's regional focal points back to China. Yang claims that Motorola will allow Lenovo to expand its already strong Chinese smartphone market presence at both the high and low end of the market, though it's unclear what this means for Lenovo's existing smartphone brand and, perhaps of more importance to you, Motorola's product strategy.
As you've doubtless heard by now, Lenovo is buying Motorola. Which means Google is selling Motorola. Which means some people are, understandably, upset. The future is uncertain for Moto - the company lost nearly $400 million last quarter, and that number is the worst yet under Google's leadership, despite slashing 80% of the Motorola workforce since Google acquired the company in 2011.
Undoubtedly, Lenovo's leadership will bring some changes at Motorola.
There comes a time in every major tech corporation's life when it has to let its previously-acquired but only tangentially-related asset go as part of a complex transaction with a multinational electronics firm. For Google, that time came today, when it announced that it would sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
I, too, feel your pain. The idea of a Google-run phone manufacturer was, to me, a kind of techno-nirvana.