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Lenovo spices up smartphone wars with Cebu flagship store

Lenovo Vibe X

Lenovo opened its flagship smartphone store at Ayala Center Cebu on Jan. 20, firing off its latest salvo in the global smartphone wars.

Smartphones have very much overtaken the world. It is estimated that in only a few years almost every phone sold will be “smart”. In the Philippines early smartphone market growth was not as fast as in the US and Europe, but from a 2013 market study showing that 39 percent of Filipinos own a smartphone—the country is quickly making up for that slow start.

Thanks to a strong market push by manufacturers serving everything from Apple and Samsung on the high end to entry models, there are excellent choices no matter what your need and budget. Add to that the recent availability of highly affordable data plans from all the major mobile carriers—and you have just the right combination of forces to push smartphone sales growth into hyperdrive.

Lenovo was a company recently known as the largest PC manufacturer in the world, just as the smartphone business was taking off.  It was one of the first to demonstrate China’s prowess both as a tech innovator as well as a nimble mass manufacturer. So, when Lenovo made the decision to enter the smartphone market in a big way a few years ago, it was no surprise that they would move quickly and boldly.

As of 2013  Lenovo is the third largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world. Lenovo could have done it the easy way by making fairly undifferentiated Android phones, focusing on cost-cutting, and capitalizing on raw marketing power. Instead they chose a different path involving a couple of key decisions.

The first was where to market. Lenovo chose to avoid the entrenched battlegrounds of the US, Europe, and other developed regions, and instead to take their products to developing countries such as the Philippines, where growth was fastest and price competition could make a big difference.

The second decision was what to market. Lenovo’s strategy from the beginning—outlined in a presentation during the Cebu store opening—targeted three smartphone categories.

The A line (for “Affordable”) is aimed at budget-conscious customers. The  S series (for “Stylish”) has more features than A and with more attention to bold colors and subtle finishes.

Then came a third one, the “Vibe”, for those looking for Apple and Samsung-level performance and willing to pay a higher price for it.

It is with the Vibe series that the true Lenovo product genius comes through.

Each product had to demonstrate touch responsiveness, processing speed, and large high-resolution.  Every Vibe must have an elegant high-end look, one that says “premium product” at a glance. Finally, every Vibe should be able to be sold to target a mid to high-end market, undercutting the market leaders at a significant discount – without sacrificing quality and
style.

With the companion A and S series product lines, even more powerful Vibe models coming soon, and their new flagship store in Cebu, Lenovo is executing some smart strategic moves in the highly competitive smartphone business.

The phone:  Vibe X

(Introduced in Cebu as part of Lenovo’s grand  opening)

* Sleek and stylish. Only 6.9 mm thick with a laser-etched polycarbonate back. Weighs just 121 grams.
* Bright and sharp 1920 x 1080 full HD display with 440 pixels/inch resolution.
* Durable Corning Gorilla Glass screen
* Sharp front camera with 5 MP resolution and wide-angle coverage, and a rear camera with excellent 13 MP resolution.
* Lenovo custom software includes “Share It” apps for sending pictures and files to friends at a rate 4X faster than bluetooth. “Secure It” apps provide antivirus, privacy, on-board anti-spam email protection, and special anti-theft settings

Brad’s take:

Lenovo’s marketing team gave CDN the opportunity for some private “hands-on” time in the store.  To help those of you looking to buy, we also took a hard look at the raw specs and some relevant benchmark tests from independent experts.

Performance specs are okay but not yet great.  It will do most anything most people need very well.  But those with the “need for speed” may find it slower than some in doing some of the most demanding tasks.

On the good is its 2 GB of RAM so it can easily manage simultaneous operation of all the apps you might use. It  includes a generous 2000 mAh  Li-polymer battery. That with a  special low power consumption version of RAM means your phone will run a long time between charges.

The challenge here is the MediaTek processor package, good on paper at 1.5 GHz quad-core, but with benchmark performance results reported in other reviews that shows it not as quick as several of its similar-class competitors. Plus the device is limited to 3G (no 4G or LTE) operation.

Also:  the device memory, okay at 16 GB, is cannot be upgraded, and the battery cannot be replaced. Those last two items may not matter to most but power users would notice.

The end of all this is Lenovo’s Vibe X is a great-looking smartphone with good enough speed, some important specs that set them apart from the rest, durability, outstanding cameras, and an entry price that is tough to beat at P19,999. (Brad Reddersen, [email protected])

TAGS: Cebu, Lenovo, smarphone
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