Lenovo takes on Apple, Samsung with smart TV

Updated: 2012-05-09 10:37

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

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Lenovo takes on Apple, Samsung with smart TV

People try out Lenovo Group Ltd's ideaTV K91 smart TVs at a product launch event on Tuesday. Last year, 6 million 3D-TV sets were sold in the Chinese market. The number is predicted to grow to 20 million this year, according to experts. [Photo/China Daily] 

Lenovo Group Ltd, the largest PC maker in China by sales, launched its first smart TV on Tuesday in Beijing, hoping to take market share away from traditional heavyweights in the sector such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

TV is the last piece in the puzzle for the company's mobile Internet device strategy.

The company started its "PC+" strategy last year after entering the tablet PC and smartphone market, which is already dominated by Apple and Samsung.

Lenovo, a name generally not associated with TVs, launched the ideaTV K91, the company's first smart TV, which uses Google Inc's Android 4.0 operation system, an even newer operating system than Google's TV.

Lenovo CEO and President Yang Yuanqing said that in the future, PC companies would be unable to survive by just producing computers.

"Lenovo not only wants to be a leading PC vendor, we also want to be a global leader in providing Internet consumer devices," said Yang.

Liu Jun, Lenovo senior vice-president and president of the company's Mobile Internet and Digital Home Business Group, demonstrated the TV's functions, including reading Sina micro blogs, watching Internet movies and playing games.

In order to add more applications and functions to the new device, the company paired it with a game console.

Smart TV is the latest battlefield for hardware vendors. According to US-based IT research company Gartner Inc, in 2010 smartphones held about 19 percent of global cell phone market, and the percentage will increase to 50 percent, with ultrabooks and tablet PCs accounting for more half of the PC market by 2015.

Lenovo launched its ideaPad tablet PC and LePhone smartphone to compete with Apple and Samsung in 2010. Lenovo holds about 20 percent of China's tablet PC market, only behind Apple, according to the US-based IT research company IDC.

Apple unveiled its smart TV a few months ago and South Korean companies Samsung and LG Electronics are also leaders in the smart TV market.

"About five years ago, many IT companies launched TV products and failed. However, with the appearance of smart TVs, the differences between TVs and PCs have blurred. IT companies believe that now is their opportunity to expand into the TV industry," said Lu Renbo, secretary-general of the China Electronic Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, 6 million 3D-TV sets were sold in the Chinese market. The number is predicted to grow to 20 million this year, Lu said.

Lenovo will begin selling its smart TV later this month in nine cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenzhen.