Lenovo will bring the first smartphones under its own brand to the U.S. to complement sales of Moto-branded phones that it has been offering since its acquisition of Motorola from Google in October 2014.
Three unlocked Lenovo-brand smartphones due in September in the U.S. include the $499 Phab 2 Pro unveiled yesterday with Google’s Tango technology, but Lenovo also plans to offer two additional unlocked Phab models in the U.S. They are the Lenovo Phab 2 starting at $199 and the Phab 2 Plus starting at $299.
For now, the latter two will be available only through Lenovo’s online store, where Lenovo already sells tablets and computers to consumers. The Tango-equipped Phab 2 Pro will be available in September through Best Buy and Lenovo’s site and, by year’s end, in select Lowe’s stores and Lowe’s online store.
For Lowe’s, the Phab 2 Pro will be the chain’s entry into cellphone retailing, but the company has no plans to expand its cellphone selection, a spokesperson told TWICE. The home-improvement retailer sees the Phab 2 Pro as a “great digital tool for our customers” to help them choose Lowe’s products via a Tango-enabled Lowe’s Vision app due in August in the Google Play store.
With the app, consumers will be able to use the Pro’s AR capabilities, depth sensing, and positional tracking to choose flooring, backsplashes, countertops, wall trim, and appliances and other items and see how they look and fit in the room in which they are standing. The items will appear on the smartphone display, overlaid on a real-time view of the room as seen by the phone’s main camera. Additional products will be added to the app in the future.
Why change? Lenovo is beginning to market own-brand cellphones in the U.S. in part because “Lenovo wants to position itself as a technology innovator company and is elevating its own brand,” ABI research director Jeff Orr speculates.
Although Lenovo-brand phones have been available on Amazon in the past, those phones have been models designed for markets outside the U.S. and available through third-party online sellers.
Phab four minus one: All Phab models feature 6.4-inch display and Android 6.0 OS. The $199 Phab 2 features an AR mode that lets users superimpose effects such as virtual backgrounds or cartoons onto pictures and videos. The device also features 720p display, 3GB RAM, quad-core MediaTek processor, 32GB storage, 128GB microSD slot, Dolby Atmos playback, Dolby 5.1 audio capture, fast-focusing 13-megapixel main camera, and 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera.
The next step up is the $299 Phab 2 Plus, which adds 1080p display, octa-core MediaTek processor, an aluminum body, two 13-megapixel rear cameras with instant focus, F/2.0 lenses, and the professional-grade Futjitsu Milbeaut image signal processor used in Leica cameras. The camera software incorporates a manual mode and other special effects.