What better way to control your line of tablets and smartphones than by supplying your own SoCs?
This may be total a April Fools, so take this with a grain of salt for now but the idea isn't that far-fetched: Lenovo may be gearing up to produce its own SoCs for tablets and smartphones. If Huawei, Samsung and even Apple can do it, why can't the world's #1/#2 PC maker?
According to an unnamed source, Lenovo has employed ten people in a small IC team over the last ten years. But now the company is committed to expanding this team to about 100 engineers, pulling 40 out of Shenzhen and 60 from Lenovo's hometown of Beijing.
Lenovo's move to build its own SoCs may stem from Samsung's recent denial of the new Exynos 5 for Lenovo's phones and tablets. The Chinese company reportedly used MediaTek's MT6573 SoC in 2011, and Samsung's Exynos 4 in 2012. After that, Lenovo chose to use Intel's Atom Z2580 "Medfield" SoC. Having been denied access to the Exynos 5, the company is shopping around for another solution.
Samsung's rejection may be purely down to market share. Samsung commanded 17.7-percent of the Chinese smartphone sector in 2012, followed by Lenovo at 13.2-percent, Apple at 11-percent, Huawei at 9.9-percent, and Coolpad at 9.7-percent. From Samsung's point of view, why offer your flagship SoC to the competition currently biting at your heels?
Thus, Lenovo producing its own SoCs for smartphones and tablets does make sense, April Fools or not. What's more, recent moves indicate that the company is gearing up to become a leading consumer electronics vendor by adding Tudor Brown, one of the founders of ARM, as a non-executive director. Lenovo also just named Yahoo founder and former CEO Jerry Yang as an observer for the Board of Directors.
We also know that Lenovo is looking to bolster its mobile phone business. The company is supposedly in talks with NEC Corp to purchase the company's mobile phone unit. Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming even mentioned eyeing BlackBerry while discussing the company's evaluation of potential targets and strategic alliances.
"We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others," Wong said. "We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders."