Behind the Scenes with Lenovo at #MWC

This week I have been fortunate enough to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) with Lenovo. It has been a week of shiny gadgets, beautiful phones and much more. I have had access to executives and staff across a variety of different areas of both the Lenovo and Motorola business areas. Pretty much every question I have had about the company and related brands has been answered with passion and enthusiasm. This blog post will provide an overview of what has passed this week.

Arrival

From the moment I arrived in Barcelona I felt like a VIP with happy friendly Lenovo staff meeting me at the airport and directing me to get my press pass! Yes I am officially now classed as press not just a lowly blogger! From here I was hotel bound to meet my fellow VIP buddies and the core Lenovo team that as professionally guided us through the varying products throughout the last few days!

Day 1 – The MWC Reunion!

Why a reunion? Well back in 2004 I attended my first MWC which set some pretty big expectations so it was great to come back to the conference that has driven many of my mobile and device passions over the years. It also shaped my understanding of the industry and my expectations of future devices for many years beyond the one that I attended the event. I have to say it hasn’t disappointed me so far!

Where do I start… well that is quite simple… Devices… gadgets… phones… The first thing that happened on arrival was a tour of the latest devices.  Here’s the list of the new releases:

  • IdeaPad Miix 300
  • Tab 2 A10-70
  • Tab 2 A8
  • Vibe Shot
  • Lenovo Pocket Projector
  • A7000 Smartphone

Now rather than me going through what each of these is you can have your very own MWC Lenovo tour right here! My favourite of the new devices was the Vibe Shot phone but then again those of you who know me know that my phone is my one essential gadget and I only use phones these days with decent cameras to capture those special moments with my son.

After the product tour we had a little free time to go and explore some of the other event stands for a while and then we all headed into our first meeting with the Lenovo staff to find out all about Lenovo´s smartphone strategy.  The staff looking after this session were Colin Giles, VP Mobile Business Group & Magnus Ahlqvist, GM Motorola EMEA & India . As always the session was insightful and informative. Covering areas such as how the Motorola purchase affects the overall brand strategy for Lenovo mobile. I was somewhat tired out after my 5am start that morning so was in need of a nice afternoon siesta.  Unfortunately at MWC siestas are just not done. It was a great session I just wish it had been on a different day.

That evening we had a lovely meal out with the team and a relatively early night. (thank goodness) Giving us time to refuel ready for the following day!

Day 2 – The Day of Big Meetings & Big Ideas

Day two continued on nicely from day one with more information on the Lenovo phones and the Motorola phone range and how the two brands will sit together in the future to create a comprehensive range.  It was fun to try out the build your own software on the Motorola site and see so many Moto 360 watches all in one place.  I always took that particular smart watch to be clunky and heavy so was pleasantly surprised to find it was much lighter than I expected. (Later in the week I also caught up with the UK Motorola Marketing team randomly and heard a little more about where the watch is going but that I am sworn to secrecy on.)

After the phone session we went onto branding which became the theme for the majority of the afternoon. Our first branding session gave more guidance on how Moto will fit within the Lenovo family alongside Vibe and the other aspects of the brand.  I have to say the brand strategy has been well thought out and we should start to see some of the branding starting to take shape later this year. From a design perspective it is interesting to see where this will go in practice.

Lunch was an interactive session with members of the Lenovo Marketing staff from around the globe and a change for us to all get to know one another a little better. I have to say the food was exceptionally tasty and the company was great!

The branding session after lunch was very much hands on with some amusing and informative approaches to identifying how we perceive brands.  It also made it very clear that consistency of messaging across all aspects of the company make a brand comprehensive. This is an area that Lenovo are working hard on as they have bought a number of well known brands over recent years and have the unenviable challenge of bringing them all together in a comprehensive way. They seem to be going in the right direction and I hope that our group feedback will have helped them in shaping the Lenovo of the future.

Finally we sat down with Jeff Meredith,  VP & GM Tablet Business Unit / Mobile Business Group Marketing.  Now I first met Jeff back in September at the Berlin IFA conference so it is interesting to see how his role has expanded and where his priorities now lie. Jeff gave us some interesting insights into the tablet market from a Lenovo perspective and shared some interesting assumptions that were initially made around the two different OS that you find on their devices.  Initial thinking suggested that Windows was for productivity and Android for entertainment however times have moved on and both platforms these days are used for both productivity and entertainment which has meant that offering just 1 platform for 1 usage scenario isn’t what the users necessarily want.

If you ever wondered where the hang mode for Lenovo tablets came from Jeff let that little story slip… Teenage girls had been finding ways to hang their tablets next to the mirror and follow instructional makeup tips on YouTube. I have to say I’ve never thought to use a tablet for that sort of thing.  I do think the hang mode is a great add on though as I like using my tablet in the kitchen at times to follow recipes.

Tablet growth is projected to increase next year by 5-8% with LTE technology likely to accelerate that further. Along with this stat came a recommendation to look to the US for behavioral changes in how tablets are used.  LTE is expected to shake up usage scenarios no end and the US are early adopters of LTE which means they are the best place to look for any changes right now.

That was the end of business as it were for day two, we then had drinks, dinner and a rather late night before eventually heading to our beds.

Day 3 – Exploring MWC and Barcelona Culture

Our third and final day was spent exploring MWC in the morning and then having a typical Catalonian lunch up in the mountains along with some off road segway driving to explore the stunning mountain views. It was a great day and I just want to say a massive thank you to my hosts the Lenovo team from around the world as you gave me an unforgettable MWC experience which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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