Tag Archives | Lenovo

Reuters: Lenovo Leading Candidate to Acquire Palm

Reuters is reporting that its sources have said that Chinese PC brand Lenovo is now the leading candidate to buy Palm. This follows HTC’s apparent decision to pass on the US device maker following a look at Palm’s books, the story reads. It’s estimated that Palm could sell for about $1.3 billion based on the current market, a bargain considering its once mighty position in the industry.

This would not be the first time Lenovo was involved in cellular phones, however. Several years ago, the company sold that portion of its business to focus on PCs, however it bought it back last year. It has one smartphone which is currently available in China.

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Palm 4 Sale?

Bloomberg says that Palm wants to sell itself and Lenovo and HTC are interested. As a bystander who’s fond of both Palm’s current products and its immense legacy, my preferred outcome is still that Palm figure out how to stay independent and successful. If that’s not possible, I’m rooting for a buyer who can figure out how to make WebOS into the major mobile-OS player it deserves to be–and I’m fretting about scenarios in which its gets bought and withers away.

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Lenovo Quietly Introduces Keyboard Remote

For those of us with home theater PCs, Lenovo’s latest product release may be quite useful. The Chinese electronics maker has quietly released the Multimedia Remote with Keyboard, which looks perfect for those who find using a full-sized keyboard in the living room a bit cumbersome. The device is selling for $59.99, and currently is showing about a two-week shipping time on the company’s website.

Lenovo says the device will have about a 10-meter (33 feet) range, and will use 2.4GHz wireless technology to communicate with the PC. The main feature obviously is the full QWERTY “palm-sized” keyboard, and a trackball that controls mouse movement, although it does include multimedia controls (play, rewind, fast forward, etc.) across the top — an obvious necessity for its target market.

Thanks to a little sleuthing and Google, we’ve found a code — USPCD36336 — which apparently lowers the price to $29.99 with free shipping. Maybe that’s the reason for the god awful shipping times?

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The Last 12-Inch Netbook in America

Lenovo S12

Have I mentioned lately that I’m a big fan of netbooks–but that I think treating them as a fundamentally different sort of device than a notebook is kind of silly, and that it’s a shame the computer industry doesn’t seem to like them much? A netbook is just a notebook that happens to be (1) small and light, (2) designed for relatively basic computing tasks rather than heavy-duty stuff, and (3) attractively priced. And despite¬†ongoing attempts to pigeonhole netbooks, there’s no reason why there should be any hard-and-fast rules about what they are and aren’t.

Which is why I like Lenovo’s IdeaPad S12, a netbook with a 12.1-inch display that refuses to play by the rules. With Dell’s recent discontinuation of its 12-inch Mini, the S12 is a machine in a very small category: Big-Screen Netbooks. (Asus’s Eee PC 1101HA, and HP’s Mini 311 have 11.6-inch screens, but the rest of the netbook universe generally tops out at 10.1 inches.)

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We’re From Microsoft, and We’re Here to Help You

Windows 7 LogoMicrosoft’s Alex Kochis has blogged about this week’s compromising of a Lenovo key for Windows 7 activation, which allowed hackers to activate unauthorized copies of Windows 7. He says that Lenovo’s customers won’t be affected when they buy Windows 7 PCs, but that Microsoft will “seek to alert” people running copies of Windows 7 that have been hacked with the leaked key.

Kochis also says this:

Our primary goal is to protect users from becoming unknowing victims, because customers who use pirated software are at greater risk of being exposed to malware as well as identity theft. Someone asked me recently – and I think it’s worth noting here — whether we treat all exploits equally in responding to new ones we see. Our objective isn’t to stop every “mad scientist” that’s out there from dabbling; our aim is to protect our customers from commercialized counterfeit software that impacts our customers’ confidence in knowing they got what they paid for. That will continue to be our focus as we continue to evolve our anti-piracy platforms, and respond to new threats that we see emerge in the future.

Really? The primary goal of Microsoft’s copy-protection technologies is to prevent people from unwittingly buying pirated copies of Windows? The impact that piracy has on Microsoft’s wallet is apparently a secondary issue–one that’s not even worth mentioning in this post or on this page about the “Windows Genuine Advantage” program.

As I’ve often said, Microsoft is entitled to protect its intellectual property, and nobody is entitled to get Windows without paying for it. I buy the idea that one reason to avoid using pirated copies of Windows–either knowingly or unknowingly–is because it can be dangerous. And I acknowledge the fact that Microsoft has done a good job of fixing earlier aspects of activation that caused hassles for paying customers.

But I still don’t understand why all discussion of Windows Activation and other Microsoft anti-piracy technologies can’t begin with the honest disclosure of one simple fact: They exist to prevent people from stealing Microsoft software. If Microsoft took that approach rather than devoting 98% of its communications about copy protection to insisting that they exist mostly to help Microsoft customers, it would make me take its efforts more seriously, not less so.

With Windows 7,¬† Microsoft is planning to rename the patronizing “Windows Genuine Advantage” program to the much more straightforward Windows Anti-Piracy Technology. Wouldn’t that provide a good opportunity to usher in a new era of grownup-to-grownup communications about its copy protection efforts?

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The War Against Netbooks Continues?

No NetbooksAccording to DigiTimes–a Taiwanese publication that’s always interesting, if not always completely reliable–Samsung is planning to release a netbook with an 11.6-inch screen and an Intel Atom CPU. Sounds cool–it’s a popular form factor with a roomier-than-usual display. But DigiTimes also says that Intel has responded by canceling Samsung’s deal for discount pricing on Atom chips, and similarly punished Lenovo when it introduced a 12.1-inch netbook. Samsung may also run into trouble with Microsoft, whose Windows 7 licensing agreements reportedly discourage netbooks with screens that are larger than 10.1 inches.

Netbooks make Intel and Microsoft nervous, since their low prices and high popularity threaten the market for costlier laptops that preserve a more generous profit margin for processors and operating systems. If I worked for either company, I’d be nervous, too. But trying to stifle netbook growth by making it tough for PC manufacturers to release appealing new models puts the companies on a collision course with consumers.

It’s a lousy development for anyone who’d like to buy a netbook with a sizable screen. I think it’s also self-defeating for the companies playing the pricing games, since the history of the PC business shows that consumers nearly always get what they want, even when pricing pressure makes it miserable for companies that make computers, components, and software.

Bottom line: If people want big-screen netbooks–and many surely do–they’re going to happen. I’d love to see the industry admit that and embrace it. Wouldn’t it be a more efficient way to do business than trying to prevent the inevitable?

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AT&T's Fifty-Buck Laptop

att_header_logoWhat do you do after everybody in the country has already signed up for a two-year contract to get a cheap cell phone? Looks like AT&T thinks that signing them up for a two-year contract to get a cheap netbook might be the next step. The company has announced that it’s experimenting in company-owned stores in Atlanta and Philadelphia with various package deals for mobile broadband and DSL service, some of which involve subsidized netbooks (or “mini laptops” in AT&Tspeak). Sign up for both mobile broadband and DSL for two years, and the cheapest of AT&T’s netbooks goes for $49.99.

The deal reduces the cost of the computer to half of what RadioShack charges for its discounted netbook. Of course, since AT&T’s offer requires both mobile and home data plans, the monthly cost is a lot higher.

The most interesting thing about AT&T’s test–other than the prospect of buying a computer for less than the price of a high-end steak–is that it’s not limited to one model from one company: It’s selling an Acer Aspire, two Dell Minis, and the LG Xenia, as well as Lenovo’s ThinkPad X200 (a full-sized ultraportable laptop). If it likes what it learns in Atlanta and Philly and rolls the offers out nationwide, your local AT&T store could end up devoting a meaningful amount of its floor space to computers. I’m still wary about committing to contracts to get cheap hardware–especially cheap hardware in categories that are evolving as rapidly as netbooks are–but I’ll be interested to see if these offers make sense to enough consumers to make them worth AT&T’s while.

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5Words for February 5th, 2009

5wordsWhat’s transpiring this fine morning?

Hey, Woz is gainfully employed!

Fake parking tickets install malware.

Lenovo struggles, dumps American CEO.

GoDaddy’s cheesy ads work, alas.

HP unveils a Netbook Linux.

Bill Gates bugs conference attendees.

The new Macbook’s running late.

Hankering for a 240GB iPod?

Microsoft joins celebrity gossip race.

Facebookers compile “25 Things” lists.

Will Snow Leopard track you?

Boy, Windows Mobile is behind.

Xbox 360 owners love NetFlix.

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A Little Less Lenovo

LenovoThe crummy state of the economy continues to bring crummy news for the tech industry: Lenovo announced today that it’s letting 11 percent of its workforce go as part of a broad restructuring. It’s also reducing executive compensation by 30 to 50 percent (sorry, guys!).

Buried in its press release is one tidbit that might be a plus for Lenovo customers: It’s relocating its customer-support call center from Toronto to Morrisville, North Carolina, the company’s main North American site. If this involves Toronto staff losing their jobs, it’s regrettable for the folks who are impacted. But I’m a big believer that tech support staffers provide the best help when they work most closely with the rest of a company’s team. And it’s good to see that Lenovo isn’t reacting to economic pressures by relocating tech support to another country where language issues could stand in the way of solid tech support.

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