The technology market should prepare for a revival of the laptop rather than its death.
This is according to Lenovo South Africa general manager Thibault Dousson, who was speaking to MyBroadband at the South African launch of the company’s ThinkBook range.
Dousson said that while many people believe the laptop market isn’t doing very well, it actually grew last year by around 2% – while Lenovo grew at around 8%.
What to expect
“If you look at the last two, three, four years – there’s been a lot of innovation when it comes to the laptop,” said Dousson.
“What we saw at CES is even more innovation around the laptop – even though there’s a lot of people who say that the laptop market isn’t doing so well, it actually grew last year.”
He highlighted that the most prevalent innovation within the laptop market at the moment is in the field of foldable displays.
“Screens are what are going to change the most in the next 2 or 3 years – with new bendable screens, you can imagine all sorts of form factors are going to arise,” said Dousson.
“It’s actually already here – you can see the market is going that way with the foldable screen on phones and on laptops as well.”
He said that displays are changing in other ways, too, highlighting the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus’s e-ink secondary display, which is positioned on the rear of the laptop’s display.
5G also brings with it myriad new possibilities for how people can use their notebooks, and Dousson believes that this will continue in the future.
Dousson said the consumer market is always exciting and continues to breed innovation.
“Because the consumer always wants something new, you have to push boundaries further,” said Dousson.
He highlighted two-in-one notebooks as a particular device category that is incredibly popular in the South African market.
He said that Lenovo also hopes to revive the SMB market – offering devices that are still “funky” and interesting, but at a more affordable price point than those dominant in commercial industry.
This commercial industry, said Dousson, is the one where the most innovation takes place.
“This is where the guys want security and portability – so you can see us coming up with new form factors so we fit in every category, vertical, and segment,” said Dousson.
“There are cool new technologies like your screen automatically shutting down if you’re not in front of it, as well as infrared cameras that tell you if someone is looking at your screen,” he said.
“When you look at security there’s a lot of innovation.”
The gaming market is booming
Dousson said that Lenovo started with a single Legion gaming product in South Africa to test the market – and locals “went berserk.”
“If I look at the [EMEA] region, it multiplied by four or five times in the last two years,” said Dousson.
“So we’ve now positioned a lot of products in the market – such as the high-spec Legion 720 and 520.”
He said that Lenovo is thinking of launching more affordable gaming laptops in South Africa to appeal to a wider market.
He highlighted that the gaming market has become particularly prevalent among South African youths, with many younger gamers joining teams and competing against each other.
The gaming market has also brought in new businesses into the market, said Dousson, highlighting local retailer Evetech as an example.
“Two, three, four years ago – no-one was talking about them. Now they’ve got a gaming league, and everyone talks about them when they want to buy a laptop,” said Dousson.
“So quite a few brand new players are coming into that area – and it is quite exciting.”