Ina Fried

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Exclusive: Lenovo Exec Sees a Lot to Like in Windows 8, but Betting on Android, Too

When Peter Hortensius looks at Windows 8, he sees a lot to like.

Of course, as president of Lenovo’s product unit, Hortensius has been looking at Windows 8 for a lot longer than the rest of us, most of whom got their first glimpse of the new Windows when it was shown on stage at D9 on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely going to be a big, bold move,” Hortensius said.

Hortensius said that Windows 8 will appeal to those who buy traditional PCs, will make those devices better and will also open up new opportunities with new kinds of machines based on ARM processors.

“You will see both the ARM platforms and the base Intel platforms get substantially better,” he said. “We find that very exciting.”

In particular, Hortensius pointed to the ability of Windows 8 machines not only to resume quickly from sleep, but also to maintain a network connection so they are also quickly usable.

“The part that makes me most excited is not just the new look, but along with that comes features like always-on, always-connected, which really to me addresses a big sore point of the traditional PC,” he said. “I have to boot it and I have to then restore connections.”

Hortensius said he isn’t too worried that businesses will be scared off by the new tiled start-screen that accompanies the traditional Windows desktop. Nor does he think it is that big a deal that Microsoft isn’t allowing customers an option of just booting into a more traditional Windows desktop.

“If business customers want that, they already have that,” he said. “It’s called Windows 7.”

But, as many doors as it sees being opened by Windows 8, Lenovo is also expanding its bet on Android. The company has already launched a couple of products in China, but is preparing a number of Honeycomb-based tablets for a global launch this summer.

One area Lenovo is exploring is the notion of incorporating a pen back into tablet computing.

“What you are doing right now, you could not do with your finger,” Hortensius said, pointing to the fact that I was taking handwritten notes. “The touch interface is amazing. If you are trying to quickly look through stuff it is wonderful. There are a lot of other instances where you clearly would rather use a pen.”

As for having to support multiple operating systems, Hortensius said that is probably just a fact of life.

“I think that’s the new world,” he said.


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