Sep 8, 2021 - Technology

Coronavirus pandemic helps Lenovo see new life with PCs

A Lenovo PC.

Photo: Mark Madeo/Maximum PC Magazine/Future via Getty Images

For most of the past decade, the venerable PC played a backup role while most of the attention and glory went to the smartphone. The pandemic helped bring growth and attention back to computers, and that's a trend the industry badly wants to extend.

Why it matters: After years of stagnation, PC sales have been growing. Windows 11 and hybrid work offer the opportunity for that to continue, but only if computer companies can continue to convince people to upgrade them more frequently.

  • "This device which we have had around for 30 years suddenly found new purpose," Lenovo PC unit CTO Daryl Cromer told Axios.

The big picture: Until recently, many people used their home and work computers for three or four years — and often more than that. That compounded the category's perception gap, as people were comparing the power of their old PC to that of their smartphones, which were often getting upgraded each year or two.

  • All of that changed with the pandemic, though, as the PC became critical for work, education and entertainment.

Between the lines: The new uses stretched the capabilities of PCs, especially older models, as people looked for high-definition webcams and other features that hadn't previously been much of a priority.

The latest: Lenovo, like many PC makers, is introducing a wave of new PCs and accessories designed to cater to the homebound and hybrid worker.

  • The company is using its TechWorld event today to debut new Yoga laptops, a 5G Android tablet and other gear.
  • A second new Android tablet — the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro — can also act as an additional display for a Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC, the first in what Lenovo promises will be a series of such products.

What's next: Improved cameras on PCs will be able to do more than just enable sharper Zoom calls. They can also be used, for example, to pause a movie when a worker looks away or notice when someone is approaching and enhance privacy.

Go deeper: Tabletop computing gets a second chance

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