Chinese computer maker Lenovo is working up plans to enter the Western European smartphone market in 2014, with Africa and West Asia already in its sights for the middle of this year, Lenovo manager Gianfranco Lanci has told dpa.

Western European markets are notable because of the high levels of incentives offered by mobile phone operators, who offer discounted phones to attract customers to user plans, whereas phones tend to be sold separately at full price in African and Russian markets.

“In Western Europe, you have to sign contracts with every telecom company and make sure your devices are compatible,” said Lanci.

That’s an ongoing project for Lenovo. And, while it’s currently only working on Android devices, it definitely has plans to design phones that run Microsoft Windows.

Lenovo is also thinking about taking on market leader Hewlett-Packard in the personal computer business.

“I assume that soon, and still in this year, we will be the new number one,” said Lanci, who used to be the boss at Acer. He is now responsible for Lenovo’s operations in Europe, Africa and West Asia.

Whereas the overall notebook and desktop market is shrinking in the computer business, Lenovo is still seeing turnover grow.

Lanci says that’s due to the right mix of models, including hybrids, a mix of a notebook and a tablet.

He also addressed recent criticism of the new Microsoft operating system, Windows 8. Market researchers have said many of its problems can be tied to the collapse of the PC market.

“We’re very satisfied with Windows 8,” said Lanci. For users who have touchscreens, he said it’s a significant improvement. “But, without touch-screens, the new possibilities will go unused.”

(This article was published on June 5, 2013)
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