Lenovo, smartphone dark horse? Its shipments surge 78%

You know Lenovo as a PC maker. But in the third quarter, it was booming smartphone (and tablet) sales that really gave the company's profits a boost.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Lenovo Vibe X smartphone
The Lenovo Vibe X smartphone. Luke Westaway/CNET

Lenovo's earnings jumped by 36 percent last quarter thanks to rising sales of its mobile phones and tablets.

Earnings for the quarter ended September 30 came in at $220 million, while revenue rose by 13 percent to $98.8 billion. Smartphone shipments grew by 78 percent from the prior year, while tablet shipments hit a record high of 2.3 million.

PC sales for Lenovo also were healthy despite an overall sluggish market. Laptops accounted for 51 percent of Lenovo's total revenue. Desktop PC shipments inched up only 1 percent, but that beat the industry's decline of 6 percent.

"Lenovo not only remains the top PC company in the world, but is also already the number four player in both smartphones and tablets worldwide and continues growing rapidly," CEO Yang Yuanqing said in a statement. "At the same time, we have achieved record revenue and record profit, and improved profitability significantly."

The company shipped 14.1 million computers last quarter, giving it a record market share of 17.7 percent, according to stats from Gartner and IDC. Those numbers made Lenovo the fastest growing vendor of the top five PC players and marked the 18th quarter in a row that it outperformed its rivals.

To achieve all of those results, Lenovo sold a record 29 million devices during the quarter, averaging around four per second.

Lenovo's 13-inch IdeaPad Yoga.
Lenovo's 13-inch IdeaPad Yoga. CNET