Lenovo’s S-series smartphones announced at Mobile World Congress have screen sizes from 4.7 inches to 5.3 inches, but none of them have LTE.
The smartphones are priced between US$229 and $349 and will ship in June. The absence of LTE indicates the smartphones are for budget buyers, likely in developing markets, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.
“There are a lot of people who don’t do heavy-duty downloads, LTE isn’t an advantage for them,” Gold said. “There are a lot of markets where LTE isn’t a big deal.”
The $349 S860 has a 5.3-inch, 1280 x 720 pixel screen and a high-capacity battery that can provide 24 hours of 3G talk time and 43 days’ standby time, Lenovo said. The smartphone weighs 190 grams and has a quad-core processor, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.5-megapixel front camera.
The S850, priced at $269, has a 5-inch screen with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. It also has a quad-core processor, 16GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. With a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera, the handset is good for photography. The device weighs 140 grams.
The $229 S660 has a 4.7-inch screen that can display images at a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. It has a quad-core processor, 8-megapixel rear camera, 0.3-megapixel front camera and 8GB of storage. It weighs 151 grams.
The smartphones run on Android 4.2 and have dual SIMs.
The new smartphones expand Lenovo’s growing handset lineup. Lenovo late last month announced it had agreed to acquire Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion, which will aid the expansion. Lenovo in January also announced its first LTE smartphone, the Vibe Z, but the handset is not yet available in the U.S.
Lenovo is well-established in PCs and tablets, but sees a big growth opportunity in smartphones. Lenovo’s smartphone shipments grew by 78 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, but a majority of its smartphones were sold in China.
Lenovo’s stronghold will continue to be emerging markets like China until it blends Motorola’s operations, Gold said.
“Lenovo sees itself as a serious competitor across the board,” Gold said. “They have a lot of resources, lot of capabilities.”
Motorola will give Lenovo the ability to expand in the U.S. and other emerging markets, Gold said.
“It’s going to take six to 12 months to blend [Motorola],” Gold said.