Rumors of a Lenovo Windows phone have been making the rounds for years, but it appears that recent Microsoft strategy changes have made such a device unnecessary. After all, why adopt a new platform when Microsoft already makes its apps and services available everywhere?
In an interview with V3, Lenovo vice president and general manager David McQuarrie says that Microsoft’s “mobile first, cloud first” strategy has made a Windows phone handset from Lenovo much less necessary. That is, its customers can access all Microsoft services from the Android handsets Lenovo already makes.
“With the phones that we have today, and the move by Microsoft to make Office applications freely available on Android, the gap between a Windows PC and an Android device shrank dramatically,” he told the publication. “I use an Android phone and a Windows laptop and now I can open all my Office documents on my phone in a Microsoft app. The fact that it isn’t a Windows Phone is irrelevant, so the move by Microsoft has made it far easier for us to sell a combined solution to business.”
Before anyone gets too rankled by this comment, it actually does make sense. And by offering Windows on its laptops and other PCs and Android on its smart phones (and tablets), Lenovo is actually offering its customers the most popular mobile platforms on each form factor, respectively.
I’ve been curious about Lenovo’s smart phones for a few years now. They look excellent, but they don’t sell them in the United States. (Yet?) But with its late 2014 purchase of Motorola Mobility (from Google), Lenovo gained a number of valuable additions to its portfolio. Among them are access to the US market and a lineup of phones I feel are quite compelling, especially the Moto X.
Regardless of Lenovo’s Android efforts, McQuarrie does leave open the possibility that things could change. After all, the firm is Microsoft’s biggest PC maker partner in the world, but it’s only one of hundreds—maybe thousands—of Android OEMs, and it doesn’t exactly have a dominant position with phones or tablets.
“There is an ongoing evaluation of what platforms we should be offering,” he said. “We are a huge Microsoft partner on PCs, tablets and servers, and we continue to evaluate the ecosystem. If it makes sense, you could potentially see a Windows phone from us.”
Oh man. A ThinkPad phone. Can you imagine?