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Lenovo Launches Smartphone Strategy

Focusing its new smartphone business on Google's Android platform, Lenovo may also have designs on Palm, which could be looking for a strategic partner.
Predicting that the mobile Internet's market size will surpass the traditional PC market in five years, PC manufacturer Lenovo launched its mobile strategy Monday with three wireless Internet devices including its flagship Lephone.

Yang Yuanqing, chief executive officer of the Lenovo Group, indicated the firm's decision to aggressively target the mobile Internet market was influenced by the emergence of an "Internet market of several hundred million users (that) is taking shape," he said in a statement.

Lenovo executives at a media briefing in Beijing said Lenovo's strategy calls for the firm to address the China market first, then emerging markets, and finally more developed markets. No precise timetable was announced, but the firm said it expects mobile Internet products will make up from 10 to 20% of Lenovo's products in five years.

"The market in the smartphone space is just emerging in China," said Lenovo president Roy Read, according to the Reuters news service. "It's just the beginning."

Lenovo, with its longtime alliance with IBM, had spun off its mobile subsidiary in China, only to re-acquire it after the boom in smartphones took off. Lenovo has also been the subject of reports that it could acquire Palm, the smartphone operator that is for sale.

Read displayed the Lephone and praised its tools like multitasking based on a four-leaf clover image on the phone's screen. The four sections can be quickly accessed for e-mail or instant messaging, for instance. The phone also features an outboard mini keyboard. The device won't be available until after it is introduced in foreign markets.

Lenovo is focusing its smartphone business on Google's Android platform. Lenovo also introduced an application store on Monday as well as a site for developers.

Other phones announced were the Skylight, an ARM-based processor built on Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform and the IdeaPad U1, a hybrid netbook with a detachable screen.

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