Lenovo plans big Chromebook push for 2014

Jay Parker, Lenovo president of North America, tells CNET the company will have multiple Chromebooks by this summer, but it has no plans for wearables anytime soon.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Lenovo has taken over a restaurant in the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas to showcase its newest devices. Shara Tibken/CNET
LAS VEGAS -- Lenovo plans to expand its Chromebook line in the coming months, a company executive told CNET, giving a boost to the market for PCs running Google's operating system.

Jay Parker, president for Lenovo's North American operations, said the company will release "multiple Chromebook models" in the market by the summer. That will cover multiple price points and configurations, he said.

Lenovo already offers some Chromebooks, predominantly for the education market. However, it believes the market can become much bigger and appeal to many more users.

"I think Chromebooks can be very impactful in the market really quickly," Parker said during a meeting at the Consumer Electronics Show here. "We believe the market will accelerate greatly in the next 12 months."

The Chinese computer giant is the world's biggest PC vendor, with about 17 percent share of the market, according to IDC. But that's not its only ambitions. The company now wants to become the biggest seller of smart devices that include PCs, tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs. Right now, Lenovo sells some of those products, such as smartphones and TVs, only outside the US, but it plans to expand into the US at some point, Parker said.

Lenovo's CEO said in May of 2013 that it would bring its smartphones to the US within a year. Parker declined to provide updated timing.

"We don't have a specific timeline," he said. "But we're interested in it being sooner rather than later."

He also said that Lenovo may bring smart TVs to the US at some point, but it doesn't have set plans. And the company, while researching wearables, currently has no plans to release such a device, Parker added.

"It's a fascinating category that eventually will be very important in the technology industry," Parker said. "Right now with the technology available, I'm not sure that the market is ready for it in a mass scale...We'll take a wait-and-see approach but develop our own plans."

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