Turning Emerging Technologies Into Breakthrough Innovations

Guest blog post by Peter Hortensius, Chief Technology Officer.

For an engineer and tech junkie, I keep a constant and critical eye on emerging technologies – the kernels of innovation that spring from entrepreneurs and startups around the world to those that are farther along, and almost over the hump to becoming viable in the industry.

The shift to mobility has changed the game forever, and we are seeing some significant advancements in real products (think laptops, tablets, smartphones) using pen, voice and gestures that make them more collaborative and interactive, when just a few years ago they were the stuff of science fiction.

Most of the time I have to keep products secret behind closed doors in our labs until we’re ready to announce them. However, at the forthcoming Lenovo Tech World on May 28th, we will be showing you some of our most imaginative thinking. Some of the concepts absolutely have the potential to become real devices one day. Tech World is our version of engineers gone wild.

The three areas we are going to explore are:

  • Smartphones
  • Wearables
  • The Smart Home




I can’t tell you exactly what we’re going to show you at Lenovo Tech World, but ahead of the event we are going to talk about the first of these three subjects; smartphones.

The Continuing Smartphone Innovation Wave

Arguably, the most important segment of the consumer electronics industry is smartphones, and because of this, they are experiencing rapid changes in:

  • Customization via design and accessories
  • Sensors to make the device more aware of user experiences and intentions

Like other consumer electronics categories, as smartphones begin to mature, we see segmentation and optimization starting. There are smartphones that are great for photography, for selfies, for entertainment and those that fit your personal style – you choose the color, finish, greeting and more. Motorola has led this customization trend with the Moto Maker initiative which allows you to design and build a Moto X to your exact specifications.

Moto X with a real wood Bamboo finish back and the Lenovo Selfie Flash accessory

Smartphones are also getting smarter, which means they can recognize context and respond accordingly so they can anticipate what you need. A good example of this comes from Motorola and their Moto Assist application, which can change the behavior of the phone depending on your calendar or what you’re doing, for example reading text messages to you out loud when the phone detects that you’re in a car. That’s the shift to a more predictive, personal assistant functionality that’s quite compelling.   These are early steps and there is much more to come.

At Tech World we are going to discuss how smartphone technology is evolving, and show a Lenovo smartphone with a unique functionality that we are convinced will make the market sit up and take notice.

A key enabler of smartphone innovation is miniaturization, which is making all kinds of sensors, processors and other components cheaper and more powerful.  I remember early in my career where it was a novel idea to imagine having a computer smaller than the size of a suitcase. We did it with the first ThinkPad laptop. As laptop components became smaller, we saw the rise of tablets and smartphones. Now smaller devices like wearables are starting to gain traction. Wearables are going to be a huge topic at Tech World and that’s what I’ll talk about in my next blog posting.