Friday, June 23, 2017

Virgin Mobile Goes All Apple

Apple will soon start selling wireless plans from Virgin Mobile USA, the first new carrier offered by the iPhone maker's since 2013, the companies said on Wednesday.

Virgin Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Sprint (S.N) that licenses its name from the Virgin Group co-founded by Richard Branson, struck the deal as part of a broader revamp of its business that will see it ditch Android phones in the coming years and become what it claims is the first iPhone-only network.

Virgin Mobile USA will first be offered in Apple's stores then online. Apple currently offers AT&T , Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, the last of which was added in 2013.

Branson, wearing an Apple Watch on his left wrist and traditional watch on the other, told Reuters in an interview he sees similarities between the Apple and Virgin brands because both advocate for human rights and other social causes.

Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts "has been tremendously supportive of this and loves the proposition," Branson told Reuters before a launch event in San Francisco. "We were knocking on (an) open door."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Tech giant Samsung Electronics plans to hold a launch event in New York City for its next Galaxy Note smartphone in the second half of August.

The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and so declined to be identified, said the Galaxy Note 8 will sport a curved screen that is marginally larger than the 6.2-inch version of the Galaxy S8 smartphone and feature two rear cameras. The Note 7 was equipped with a 5.7-inch curved screen and one rear camera.

The person did not elaborate further on the phone including pricing. A Samsung Electronics spokesman declined to comment.

Samsung is intent on continuing the premium Note series despite the costly collapse of the Galaxy Note 7, which it was forced to scrap roughly two months from launch in October due to fire-prone batteries. The incident, one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history, cost the firm 6.1 trillion won ($5.4 billion) in operating profit and hurt its credibility.

The firm disclosed its preliminary findings in January that different battery problems from two suppliers caused the fires, which was corroborated by two other independent probes. The firm implemented several steps including a new set of battery safety checks to avoid repeat incidents, which analysts said is helping it win back consumer trust.

Strong initial response for the Galaxy S8 smartphones that began selling in April indicate the firm is recovering quickly, with some analysts forecasting the device to set Samsung's internal sales records and push the firm towards what is widely expected to be its best-ever profit for April-June. There have been no battery fire incidents reported for the S8.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Customer is Always Right

Customer-Centered Culture Could Eliminate Reputation-Ruining Fiascos

By Robin L. Lawton

Whatever happened to the attitude that “the customer is always right”?

The airline industry has been taking its hits lately, thanks to several mishandled passenger interactions: pulling a doctor off an overbooked flight in Chicago, a dispute over a carried-on stroller in San Francisco, a couple booted off a flight in Maui when they put their baby in a seat purchased for his brother. But we’ve also heard call center employees go off on customers, read about store employees using racial slurs and seen deliverymen literally drop packages on front porches.

Any time an employee behaves badly, the scene is likely to be captured by at least one smart phone – and it will go viral. And yet, it happens again and again.


It could be that company policies are unclear about priorities, says customer strategist and executive coach Robin Lawton, author of Mastering Excellence: A Leader’s Guide to Aligning, Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success (
Employees are then left to decide, sometimes on the spot, if it’s OK to go against guidelines to satisfy the person in front of them, and whether that will lead to disciplinary action – perhaps even dismissal – later.

“Take that decision-making into the real world, with stressful deadlines, cranky consumers and other frustrations, and there’s no telling which way it could go,” Lawton says.
It’s up to company leaders to set the standard for excellence with an unambiguous customer-first goal, Lawton says. And he offers these tips:
  • Know what your customers want. Ask a dozen people what they want from their grocery store, their cable provider or their airline, and you’ll probably get a dozen different answers. And those answers often are counter to what the business thinks should take precedence. “No matter what bias the organization has, the customers’ priorities are what counts,” Lawton says. “Figure it out and build a robust product that makes the most people happy.”
  • Don’t overlook the needs of the casual consumer. Businesses often focus on pleasing the people they think are their most valuable customers – those with power that comes from their position, personality, purse strings or proximity, Lawton says. But those viral videos and Yelp reviews aren’t coming from the folks in first class with the warm towels and free cocktails. “These four ‘power p’s’ can inadvertently lead us to satisfy the wrong customers,” he says.
  • A new slogan or updated mission statement only goes so far. When management identifies issues like quality, leadership, productivity and competitiveness, training often is used to initiate the change. The problem is that only a fraction of those trained actually use what they’ve been given. “There seems to be an assumption that providing people with hammers and saws will enable them to build a house,” Lawton says. “Without changed thinking, clear purpose and sufficient support, we cannot expect knowledge or tools to create desired outcomes.”

There’s both an art and a science to creating a customer-centered culture, Lawton says.
“Of course, the customer isn’t always right,” he says. “But if you treat them well, in the end they won’t care about that. They’ll only care that they were heard and satisfied.”

Robin L. Lawton is an author, customer strategist, motivational speaker, consultant and executive coach ( He coined the term “customer-centered culture,” and his “C3” methodology has enabled numerous organizations to achieve significant growth. He is a popular speaker at management conferences, and his work has been referenced by authors and experts in areas such as business excellence, leadership, customer experience and innovation. Lawton is the author of Mastering Excellence: A Leader’s Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success and Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality Innovation, and Speed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Smart Speakers

If you'd never heard of a "smart speaker" before last week, it's understandable. So far, smart speakers have mostly been the domain of early adopters, who aren't afraid to risk a little cash on a new gadget.

But now that Apple has unveiled its smart speaker offering, the HomePod, mainstream consumers are much more likely to pay attention.

Smart speakers are home digital assistants, using voice-recognition technology to deliver internet content in an interactive, hands-free way.

Users might ask their smart speaker for a weather report while doing the dishes, or tell it to stream kids' music while trying to wrangle a toddler.

Of course, most new smartphones can already do those things, since they have built-in voice-recognition software like Apple's Siri or Google Assistant.

But Apple, Google, Amazon and even Microsoft are still betting on smart speakers, and their motivations go well beyond simply selling more gadgets.

For all four companies, a smart speaker in your home serves as a platform to make money in other ways.

"Apple will want to sell you Apple Music as a service, and other services likely are to come," said Bob O'Donnell, president of consulting company TECHnalysis Research. (Apple is touting its HomePod as a powerful hi-fi speaker above all.)

"Amazon obviously wants to do commerce-based services, and Google wants to do search and other kinds of things, potentially, where they can deliver advertising and other kinds of services," said O'Donnell.

Monday, June 19, 2017

MSFT Xbox One X

Microsoft Corp. announced a worldwide release date of Nov. 7 for what the company said will be its smallest and most powerful video-game console ever, the Xbox One X.

The device, which will be priced at $499, is designed to work with a new generation of 4K television sets that offer greater picture quality as well as games that offer ever-more-realistic scenes of car races and fantasy worlds. Microsoft made the announcement Sunday at an event in Los Angeles before the start of Electronic Entertainment Expo this week. The new console will also be compatible with older Xbox games and accessories.

Microsoft and rival Sony Corp. are trying to update their video-game machines more frequently to phase out the notion of upgrading once every seven years or so -- the rate at which companies traditionally have released a new generation of consoles. Microsoft’s latest machine is designed for the high-end gamer who wants the best features and performance and who owns a TV capable of displaying the most advanced graphics.

“They are trying to attract people who want to be able to use the advanced features of TVs they’ve invested in,” said Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “Not everyone will want that if they can get a good experience on the less-expensive console.”

Microsoft has previously stumbled by pricing an older Xbox too high. Initial sales for the Xbox One when it debuted in 2013 were hurt by the $499 price tag, and only picked up after the cost was cut. Sony faced similar issues in 2006 when it released the PlayStation 3, which cost $500 to $600.

“Price has played an important role in the launch success,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates. “The guy with the less expensive box has done very well. I expect that will continue, absent some amazing paradigm shift.”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Congratulations to dads everywhere. Father’s Day is your special day to bask in your patriarchal grandeur, secure in the knowledge that your kids, family and friends spent $8 billion more on Mother’s Day than they did on you.

Eight billion dollars. That’ll buy a lot of neckties.

The numbers come from the National Retail Federation, which has projected that U.S. Father’s Day shoppers will spend an average of $134.75 this year, up 7 percent from $125.92 last year.
But that’s a whopping 41.4 percent less than the record-smashing $23.6 billion spent on moms for the most recent Mother Day’s in May, according to the federation’s calculations.

Why the massive difference?

Ana Smith, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based retail federation, said there are a couple of key reasons: “There are more women in the U.S. than men. Therefore, the chances are higher that more people will celebrate and spend on Mother’s Day compared to Father’s Day.

“If we look at just the numbers, 85 percent of consumers surveyed planned to celebrate Mother’s Day versus Father’s Day (when) only 77 percent are planning to celebrate the occasion.”

But then, Smith said, there’s also this: “If we dig deeper into emotional factors, consumers tend to spoil moms more since mothers tend to guilt their children if they don’t celebrate the holiday with them compared to fathers.”

What?! Sacramento-area fathers, aren’t you offended?

“Well, not really,” said 49-year-old Pete Walker of Carmichael, who last week was patiently waiting for his family to finish shopping at Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights. “My wife’s work is never done, with the house and the kids and her own job. … I think she deserves at least one day to be spoiled.”

Steve James, 38, a Roseville father of two out with his family at the nearby Westfield Galleria at Roseville mall, was likewise favorable to the idea of mom getting loads of presents and love on Mother’s Day.

“She deserves it … and I mean that for my wife and my own mom,” he said. “I’m not keeping score. … If I can take it easy and enjoy a nice day with my family on Father’s Day, I’m going to be happy.”

Relaxing or attending a special event on Father’s Day is a common gift for dads this year, according to the NRF. Its annual survey found that 27 percent of dads want to receive a “gift of experience,” such as tickets to a sporting event, concert or some other outside-the-home experience.

For fathers who simply want to sit on the couch on Father’s Day, TV networks tout dad’s day in their marketing of major sporting events, including Sunday’s final round of professional golf’s 2017 U.S. Open Championship from Erin, Wis., and Sunday’s running of the FireKeepers Casino 400, part of NASCAR’s 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series, from Michigan International Speedway.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Smart Speakers

Are you excited about the better sound quality promised by Apple's new high-end HomePod smart speaker?

If so, a new poll suggests you're in the minority of US consumers.

Morning Consult polled 2,200 adults between June 8 and 12 about what features matter most when buying a voice-controlled smart assistant. Thirty percent of respondents said price mattered most, more than double the 14 percent who said the accuracy of the device's voice recognition was the top priority.

That's not to say features like audio quality and compatibility don't matter. It's just that price trumped the rest.

That could make it hard for the HomePod, which is scheduled to go on sale in December for $350. Amazon, in the smart speaker business since late 2014, sells its Echo for $179.99. Google's Home speaker, introduced last year, sells for $129.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Digital Experience - Still More

By Bayle Emlein

Looking for a new, smarter phone? Of course you are.

As soon as the box for the new model arrives, we’re all shopping for the next exciting features. Coolpad, distributed by Cricket in the US, addresses the drive to use our telephone-shaped devices for everything including voice communication. The Coolpad Canvas screen is so sharp graphic artists will be tempted by the 5.5" drawing surface. And at MSRP prices under $50, you can afford to outfit the whole family.

At the time of the Spring Digital Experience show in San Francisco, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chip was standard hardware, providing plenty of power to operate all features seamlessly. The operating system, essentially Android Nougat, did the same in a familiar interface. What’s not to like about these phones?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Digital Experience - Continued

By Bayle Emlein

At last, 3D printers are simple enough and affordable in the mass market. Because of 3D printers from Monoprice, “just because I want one” is good enough reason to get one.

The MP Select Mini comes out of the box ready to go. The analogy to automobiles is apt: at first just the fact that you could make the technology work was enough; then people wanted to be able to use the technology on their own, without a support team, hours of research and training, or investing a year’s income. The next steps in product innovation will come from what seems like random playing around and going down lots of roads to nowhere.

Monoprice 3D printers gives each of us the chance to be on the front edge of the wave. Besides designing tchotchkes for conferences and trade shows, I’m interested in figuring out how to develop a pair of shoes that really fits my feet and my notion of cute. In the meantime, get yourself a 3D printer and become a leader the next development in human tool making. A leader, of course, has followers and supporters: Monoprice offers a support team for users of its products.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wonder Woman

In the weeks leading up to the premiere of Warner Bros./DC Entertainment's "Wonder Woman," the internet was peevishly aflutter with think pieces and armchair analyses of the studio's alleged mishandling of the movie's marketing. People who didn't have vast reserves of experience in launching multimillion-dollar media campaigns charged Warner Bros. with intentionally trying to tank "Wonder Woman" by failing to promote it, a paranoid web of assertions that didn't take into account certain quotidian factors such as the film's release date and production budget. In the history of cinema, no one has ever purposely botched the launch of a $150 million franchise.

Like most internet controversies, the premature nattering about the promotion of "Wonder Woman" turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. After a robust pre-launch campaign that incorporated everything from on-site promotions at South by Southwest and WonderCon to a Nascar integration to a TV-heavy paid-media plan, "Wonder Woman" opened last weekend to an impressive $103.3 million in domestic box office receipts. That marked the all-time most lucrative opening for a movie directed by a woman -- Patty Jenkins also wrote and lensed the 2003 Charlize Theron drama "Monster" -- and put "Wonder Woman" on a pace to rake in as much as $300 million in stateside sales.

As is generally the case with blockbusters, TV did a lot of the heavy lifting. According to estimates, the studio thus far has invested $24.8 million in national TV inventory, which is within shooting range of the initial outlay for Warner/DC's 2016 release, "Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice." The comparable TV spend for that film, which introduced Gal Gadot in the Wonder Woman role, was $29 million.

Much of the "Wonder Woman" dollars have landed at the Big Four broadcast networks, with the movie's TV campaign beginning in earnest during CBS' coverage of the 2017 Div. I Men's Basketball Tournament. Along with the standard trailers and 30-second cutdowns, Warner Bros. also sprung for a custom spot featuring "Supergirl" star Melissa Benoist and Lynda Carter, who wielded the golden lasso in the 1975-79 ABC/CBS live-action "Wonder Woman" show. That particular execution aired on the CW during the May 22 season finale of "Supergirl."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Father's Day Gifts

If you were planning to get your dad another necktie for Father’s Day, you might want to reconsider.

According to a new poll by Ebates, electronics is the most wished-for purchase by fathers, at 18 percent. Power tools came in second at 15 percent, with tickets to a sporting event a close third (14 percent).

Fortunately for fathers, their spouses and kids are in general agreement, with 15 percent believing the man of the house wants to be gifted with power tools, while 14 percent voted for CE.

But if thoughts of 75-inch 4K TVs are dancing in their heads, dream on dude; the majority of respondents (62 percent) plan to spend less than $50 on a Father’s Day gift.

Yet 30 percent of those polled said that dads are under-appreciated and nearly a quarter believed he’s “the glue that holds the family together.” But sadly only one in 10 pops expected their families to do something special for them on June 18. So show your dad and the tech industry you care and get him something nice (and expensive).

The survey was conducted on behalf of Ebates by Propeller Insights and fielded among 1,000 adults. The cash-back shopping platform is a subsidiary of leading e-tailer Rakuten, and a sister site to and FatWallet.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Honda Self-driving Cars

The president of Honda Motor Company has said his firm will aim to develop fully self-driving cars by around 2025, amid increasingly fierce international competition to produce autonomous vehicles.

“We hope to establish technologies (for fully automated cars) by around 2025,” President Takahiro Hachigo told reporters earlier in the week at the company’s research and development center in Tochigi Prefecture.

Honda is now aiming to develop fully automated “level 4” cars that require no steering wheel or brake operations under specific conditions such as the time of day, location and type of weather. “Level 4” cars are just one step short of “level 5” vehicles, which make driving completely autonomous with no restrictions.

Japan’s third-largest automaker by volume is struggling to gain a competitive edge in self-driving technology over its global rivals.

Nissan Motor and U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla are already selling their respective “level 2” cars, which offer automation of multiple functions including control, acceleration and steering.

U.S. automaker Ford Motor and German carmaker BMW are aiming to produce fully driverless cars by 2021.

Honda currently aims to launch self-driving vehicles that can drive and switch lanes on highways by around 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics.

“We will take (our self-driving cars) to local streets after realizing (self-driving) on expressways,” Hachigo said.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Smart Speakers

Competition is heating up in the global market for AI-powered smart speakers, as more global tech companies introduce new devices to rival forerunning voice-activated home speakers -- Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home.

This week, US tech giant Apple unveiled HomePod, the firm’s first voice-activated standalone speaker running on Apple’s artificial intelligence software Siri. It is equipped with Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced search algorithms.

The $349 Apple HomePod, available in black or white, will begin sales starting from December, initially in Australia, the UK and the US, Apple said in a press release.

Given Siri, already available on iPhone devices, currently supports more than 30 languages including Korean, Apple’s smart speaker is widely expected to hit other international markets in the near future.

Apple’s foray into the AI-powered home speaker segment comes as many competing tech giants around the world are also launching their own products with aims to grab a share of the growing market.

Amazon’s Echo, released in 2015, currently dominates markets like the US where home speakers are growing in popularity. According to market research firm eMarketer, Amazon will capture 70.6 percent of all voice-enabled speaker users in the US this year.

The remaining portion will be shared among smaller players, such as Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel, it said.

Despite Amazon’s dominance, the smart speaker market is still considered a worthwhile investment due to its growth prospects. According to eMarketer, 35.6 million Americans are expected to use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month this year, marking a 128.9 percent growth from last year.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the technology, which is driving engagement,” Martin Utreras, vice president of forecasting at eMarketer said in a statement. “As prices decrease and functionality increases, consumers are finding more reasons to adopt these devices.”

Eyeing this growth, not only Apple but also other tech giants including Samsung Electronics and Microsoft are preparing to launch smart speakers of their own this year.

Microsoft and Harman Kardon, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, are slated to release a voice-enabled speaker that plays music and handles everyday lifestyle tasks like managing calendars and checking for traffic this fall.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Moore's Law Lives

IBM Research and partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have created transistors for a 5-nanometer semiconductor chip.

It’s a remarkable technical achievement, though a commercial version of the chip may not be possible for a while. Still, it should enable chips with 30 billion transistors, the on-off switches of electronic devices, on a fingernail-sized chip. Researchers say this kind of achievement should enable the $330 billion chip industry to stay on the path of Moore’s Law, or the prediction made in 1965 by Intel chairman emeritus Gordon Moore that the number of transistors on a chip would double every couple of years.

IBM is presenting details of its research on its “silicon nanosheet transistors” at the 2017 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits conference in Kyoto, Japan. The development comes less than two years after IBM researchers made a 7-nanometer test node chip with 20 billion transistors. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and a 5-nanometer device is just a few atoms thick.)

Right now, the most advanced semiconductor chips use a FinFET process with circuitry that is 10 nanometers in width. Companies such as Intel can build chips with 10 or 15 billion transistors using that process.

A 5-nanometer chip could perform about 40 percent faster than a 10-nanometer chip, given the same power settings, said Mukesh Khare, vice president of semiconductor technology research at IBM Research, in an interview with VentureBeat. Or a chip could be 75 percent more power efficient.

“This is a major innovation for scaling beyond 7 nanometers,” Khare said. “It’s an innovation in design and how you pack more and more transistors together. This transistor structure will enable a path to true five nanometers.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Digital Experience - Part 5

By Bayle Emlein

Kingston first released high performance HyperX memory modules in 2002. One thing leads to another, especially in gaming. HyperX was so successful in improving gaming performance that, after a decade, Kingston split off HyperX into its own, focused division.

In addition to blazing fast Fury DDR4 memory, the current HyperX line includes the Cloud Stinger gaming headset, the Pulsefire FPS gaming mouse, and HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical gaming keyboard with backlit keys and color- and texture-coded gaming keys to make the most of the gaming experience.

If you take gaming seriously, you’ll want the spatial accuracy of a gaming headset, a mouse and keyboard that respond instantly to your every gesture with no miscues. Because gaming isn’t just a game.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Digital Experience - Part 4

By Bayle Emlein

Kingston Technology is approaching its 30th birthday in a setting where most of the companies who pitch at trade shows don’t even make it all the way to market. Insofar as is imaginable in an environment that defines the logarithmic speed of change in the post-industrial world, Kingston is still in the same business--manufacturing the memory components that hold it all together. Details have changed, but the focus on reliable leading-edge memory remains at the core. In addition to finding Kingston memory embedded in devices you purchase, you’ll want to add DataTraveler flash drives and Kingston SD cards, USB flashcards and readers to your shopping list. For the dad or grad who has everything except enough space, any of these make a perfect way to show you remember; and it’s not too early to start thinking about holiday shopping.

The current star is the 2TB DataTraveler Ultimate, proving that digital memory is just like storage in a new home: no matter how much space there is, you’ll find that in a week you can collect enough valuable items to fill to capacity and want even more storage. Legendary Kingston reliability means that I have a better chance in the digital world of finding my stuff than I do in the closets and cupboards of my dwelling, where I would like just one more closet please.

Friday, June 2, 2017

More RadioShack Closures

RadioShack has been in the retail business for almost 100 years. The end isn't nearly as promising as the beginning.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, RadioShack—which filed for bankruptcy twice in two years—closed over 1,000 stores, leaving just 70 corporate locations and 500 dealer stores in operation across the U.S. Throughout the weekend, the consumer electronics retailer announced a liquidation sale that played out on social media. Social media represents a new plot twist for America's dying retailers: How do you toast a brand's final days when the world is watching?

RadioShack opted for unadulterated bleakness. The company's social media handle on Twitter shared photos that depicted the sale of store fixtures, $25 grab bags stuffed with items pieced at $5 apiece, and deeply discounted printers. Here are some tweets that highlighted the carnage.

RadioShack, which generated nearly $6.3 billion in revenue at the company's peak in 1996, saw sales sputter to under $3.5 billion less than two decades later as it failed to respond to the migration of consumer spending to online channels like

Electronics were one of the earliest consumer product categories to sell strongly online, resulting in price transparency that made it hard for physical retailers to compete. Best Buy has done a better job innovating to stay competitive, partly because it has focused on services to help it differentiate from the crowd.

But RadioShack, which operated over 7,300 stores at the company's peak, will now only have 570 stores in total after the Memorial Day weekend closures. The press release it issued ahead of the weekend was equally bleak: "We all remember coming into RadioShack whether it was for the battery-of-the-month, new walkie-talkies, or to check out the newest RC toy cars. Many of these nostalgic items will be up for auction over the next 30 days."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lenovo's Plans

After a bruising fall from its spot as the world's third-largest mobile phone maker following its acquisition of Motorola three years ago, China's Lenovo Group Ltd is counting on a push upmarket to stop the bleeding in its smartphone business.

While the company, which vies with HP as the world's largest PC maker, returned to profit in the year to March, losses in its smartphone business worsened as marketing expenses for new products and key component costs increased.

The group's phone problems started after it acquired Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion in 2014 but struggled to integrate the assets. That, combined with fierce competition from lower-end manufacturers in its home base of China such as Xiaomi and Oppo, saw its global position fall to eighth in 2016.

A recently announced reorganisation of its China business aimed at sharpening the PC brand's consumer focus comes amid an ongoing effort to tighten its mobile branding and shift the focus to pricier models under its Moto brand.

"Our strategy is to prioritise mature markets ... which need brands and innovative products, whereas emerging markets need efficiency," Chairman Yang Yuanqing said of Lenovo's mobile business at a press conference in Hong Kong on Thursday.

"So we will have two teams catering to the two kinds of markets with different product lines."

Lenovo faces its toughest battle in its home base of China, where it has slipped out of the top 10 smartphone vendors. Shipments domestically declined 80 percent year-on-year or 55 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2017, according to data from Canalys.

The company currently has three phone brands in China - the premium Moto brand, the cheaper Lenovo series, and an online-focused ZUK brand launched in 2015.