Lenovo adds mobile phone details, posts profit rise

Lenovo is developing more Android handsets to follow its Lephone

Lenovo's work on mobile phones with Google's Android operating system is focused on its high-end Lephone handset, but the company also wants to reach other price points, a company executive said Thursday.

Lenovo is likely to move in that direction in the second half of this year, Rory Read, the company's chief operating officer, said when asked about plans for more Android handsets during a financial results call. Lenovo last month announced the Android-powered Lephone, which it called key to its mobile strategy. The company has added a focus on mobile devices since reacquiring Lenovo Mobile, its handset division, from a group of private investors in recent months.

Read's comments came as Lenovo, China's top PC maker, reported higher sales and net profit in its third fiscal quarter, one year after announcing a major restructuring.

When asked if Lenovo was considering offering a service like Apple's popular App Store for downloading mobile applications, Read said Lenovo was working with companies across China on mobile Internet content for its devices.

Besides the Lephone, Lenovo also recently announced its Skylight smartbook, a low-cost mini-laptop, and a laptop called the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid that has a detachable touchscreen. The company said lightweight PCs that stay online all day are another key part of its mobile efforts.

Lenovo plans to start selling the Lephone in China in May, followed by other countries. The company has said it is developing other Android phones.

Lenovo's new direction has come as it has recovered from a string of weak financial results. Lenovo reported sales of $4.8 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, a rise of 33 percent from a year earlier.

It posted a net profit of $80 million, compared to a net loss of $97 million a year earlier. The figure was also up from Lenovo's net profit of $53 million in the previous quarter, before which it had posted three consecutive quarterly net losses.

Lenovo's sales growth stayed strongest in China and other emerging markets, where it refocused its efforts in a restructuring last year. Last year it also announced nearly 3,000 lay-offs as financial crisis in Western countries cut into its sales in developed markets .

Lenovo's sales in its most recent quarter were up 45 percent from a year earlier in China and 53 percent in other emerging markets, compared to 13 percent in mature markets.

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Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
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