Graham Braum, Lenovo Africa general manager

Graham Braum, Lenovo Africa general manager

Lenovo is going big, and has plans for the massive African opportunity. Not satisfied with a commanding 35% market share in China, Lenovo’s local arm headed up by Graham Braum wants a chunk of the African continents PC and related computing business.

At a round table at their Johannesburg office in late March 2013 Graham Braum and his team outlined their vision of how, and what, they were going to do to make this vision a reality. Fresh from meetings with Government and other private organisations, as well as their business partners in Namibia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, the Lenovo team were brimming with confidence that they would be able to ‘Protect and attack’ the Leno opportunities on the continent.

Recently, IDC found that Lenovo has taken the number two position in the EMEA PC market, fuelled by the company’s growth and success in Russia, Germany, Denmark and Lebanon, where the company is ranked first. With the planned expansion in Africa, Lenovo now is aiming for the number one spot.

“The African continent is one of Lenovo’s key growth markets and this Africa roadshow re-affirms our commitment to customers and partners in Africa,” said Braum. “The ICT sector is continuously developing in Africa and technology plays a key role in the development and economic growth of countries” Braum added.

The focus of the meeting was the new era of computing brought in by mobility and mobile devices. Braum called this aptly the PC+ age, and outlined Lenovo’s aim to become number one in this environment. The Lenovo team showcased the latest ‘THINK’ and ‘Idea’ innovations, designed specifically with the small and medium businesses (SMBs), enterprises, and consumers in Africa in mind. Braum then introduced us to Lenovo’s range of award-winning devices such as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the Lenovo Yoga and the ThinkPad Twist, Thinkpad Helix and ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Lenovo X1 Carbon. High end for Africa.The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is Lenovo’s premier Ultrabook and weighs less than 1.5Kg, and packs a high resolution 14-inch display into a 13-inch laptop design. While incredibly light thanks to its carbon fibre construction, the X1 Carbon still provides eight hours of battery life and industry-best charge times with Lenovo RapidCharge technology. The X1 Carbon also includes optional 3G mobile broadband facilities,  a multi-gesture glass surface touchpad, HD face-tracking camera, dual array microphones and Dolby-tuned audio for crisp and clear sound.

The Thinkpad Twist and Thinkpad Helix devices are both high-functioning convertible machines which can act as both tablets and laptops. Lenovo expect the convertible market to become fairly significant going forward.

The newly released Thinkpad Tablet 2 was also demonstrated. Designed for Windows 8 and powered by Intel’s next generation CPU technology, this tablet offers the best of both worlds. Full Windows 8 capabilities, along with a form factor and battery life, that rivals any other tablet currently available.

Lenovo Twist Convertable.

Lenovo also discussed their plans in the home entertainment space, and whilst we may not see these products this year, Lenovo are aiming to take over the lounge with their versions of the Smart interactive TV, and large screen convertible tablets/computers, in the not too distant future.

Of all the current PC manufactures Lenovo appear to have grasped the new era of computing in a comprehensive way, and are offering innovative and interesting takes on current form factors in the PC space, and at the same time looking ahead to new form factors, and uses, that will emerge around tablets, mobile devises, and highly intelligent large screen devices, for both the home and office.

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Steven Ambrose – Executive Editor, CEO of the technology and strategy consulting firm Strategy Worx and a major gadget geek. A chartered accountant by training Steven sports a history spanning from heading statups to divisions of major multinational corporations, he ran and wrote for from 2006 to 2010, and now consults on technology and its impact on business as the brainchild and CEO of Strategy Worx. For more immediate comment, views and discussion follow him on Twitter