Channel Post speaks to Mohamed Hilili, the General Manager for Gulf, Saudi Arabia and East Africa at Lenovo, about the tech trends that defined 2017 and what’s next for 2018.
Which technology trends worked in the year 2017?
A big technology trend that has emerged in 2017 is the digital boom in the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality sector. With industry investments playing a big role in the growth of AR/VR, global companies such as Facebook announced spending three billion dollars over the next decade to make VR more accessible. Virtual reality alone is a $2.7B market and will go more mainstream with lower price points and more content, and PC manufacturers will play a major role to the advancement of VR-ready devices as the VR market grows.
Another growing technology trend is the increasing demand for gaming laptops, which used to be a niche segment for mostly what we call the gaming enthusiasts who tend to change or upgrade their PC every 1-2 years. However, with the gaming industry growing and becoming more popular, there are now users who look for a powerful machine, where they can smoothly play games. This is one area where laptops are preferred over other devices, as they allow for long, focused hours of playing games as well as be used for the daily needs.
Another trend that worked in 2017, is offering versatility in laptops and tablets. Nowadays, people have a dynamic lifestyle and are always on the go and need products that embrace their daily activities. Take for example the Lenovo Yoga 720 which is a chic 2-in-1 convertible that seamlessly adapts to your needs on the go. It’s only 15.75 mm thin — with all the power and flexibility of Intel Core processing, instant fingerprint login, digital pen support, and a dynamic home theater experience. We are aware that things move very quickly in the region and Lenovo is constantly looking for ways to develop new and groundbreaking devices that match individual lifestyles and make shopping for new products easy.
What were your company’s major achievements in 2017?
We celebrated ThinkPad’s 25th anniversary this October. We hosted journalists from different countries to visit our ThinkPad factory and organized a ThinkPad 25th year anniversary event here in Dubai.
We launched several new products in the region, from gaming PCs, to convertible PCs, AR/VR headsets and several smartphones. We also launched our HadiaTime campaign for the second time with great success. HadiaTime is a free Android-based application that aims to encourage family members to spend more time together during the holy month of Ramadan, while donating data to migrant workers to connect with their loved ones back home.
Which products and solutions were launched / updated by your company this year?
A wide range fo products were launched by Lenovo this year. In May, Lenovo launched the new Legion Y720 and Y520 laptops. The Lenovo Legion launch comes as part of the dedicated sub-brand for Lenovo gaming PCs, offering gamers powerful gaming devices and community engagement. Lenovo Legion laptops are outfitted with up to the latest NVIDIA graphics cards and Intel’s latest 7th Gen Core i7 processors for the speed needed to win. Powered by the two laptops’ 16 GB DDR4 memory, gamers can run and stream their favorite game, respond to chat questions and play music all at the same time without a hitch. The Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop also comes with Thunderbolt 3, the fastest port available on a PC today to plug and play at lightening speeds.
More recently in November, Lenovo and Disney, in partnership with Etisalat, launched Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, a new smartphone-powered augmented reality product, to local retailers — allowing fans to experience Star Wars in a new and exciting way at home. Each box comes with the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, Lightsaber controller and Tracking Beacon that players use to hone their Jedi talents, offering several hours of multi-level immersive gameplay.
Together with Microsoft, Lenovo launched a different type of VR world with the Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality headset with more than 100 VR-ready titles. The Lenovo Explorer headset is a natural, affordable extension to a PC.
Products launched by Motorola (wholly owned subsidiary of Lenovo, and is responsible for designing and manufacturing all Motorola branded mobile handsets) included the fifth generation Moto G smartphones. In April, Motorola launched the fifth-generation of Moto G smartphones, including Moto G5, G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus.
In May, Motorola launched the Moto C and Moto C+ smartphones. Moto C features a long-lasting 2350 mAh1 battery, a quad-core processor and 4G speed which lets you toggle between apps, stream music, watch videos and play games with ease.
In August, Motorola launched the Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus which features a brilliant 5” HD display and elegant metal design. The smartphone is powered by the quad-core processor and 4G speed of Moto E4.
In October, Motorola launched the Moto Z2 family (Moto Z2 Play and Moto Z2 Force) together with new Moto Mods. With a thinner, lighter design and faster performance, the second generation of Moto Z delivers on the features our customers care about, while still offering transformative experiences with Moto Mods. One of the new Moto Mods our customers especially love is the new 360 Camera Moto Mod that can transform any Moto Z device and turn it into a 360-degree camera and capture anything. With the click of a button, users can record interactive 360-degree 4k video featuring immersive 3D audio that will follow the direction you’re viewing.
In November, Motorola launched the new Moto X4. Moto X has always represented the best of what Android has to offer. The powerful combination of pure Android and Moto Experiences has been a mainstay of the Moto x franchise, offering a uniquely intuitive user experience that consumers love.
What sort of technologies, products, and solutions will you focus on, in 2018?
We expect the AR/VR market continue to grow, in terms of devices but also a lot more of content. From Lenovo, customers can expect innovation to come in the form of VR-ready PCs and HMDs in partnership with some of the industry’s biggest players including Disney, Google and Microsoft.
Do you see big growth in the gaming market?
The MENA region has a high demand for all type of games, from consoles to PC gaming. In fact, according to data from Abu Dhabi’s media free zone authority twofour54, the gaming sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is growing faster than the global average, outpacing Russia, China and even South Korea and is set to triple in size to $4.4 billion by 2022.
We have witnessed a growth in online gamers who are no longer looking for high specs when searching for the ideal device to purchase. Users are now more interested in a device that supports a strong processor and a decent graphic card to make their experience worthwhile. When searching for the next device, gamers tend to opt for a budget product that provides an ample number of specs.
As the #1 PC maker in the world, we have a strong history in the PC space and the right business model for strong end-to-end efficiency, and are expecting this consumer segment to grow at an exponential rate over the next few years.