Lenovo to Partners: Get in Touch with Touch

Lenovo North American channel chief Chris Frey

Lenovo North American channel chief Chris Frey

As it moves its own products towards an all touch-enabled lineup, Lenovo’s North American channel chief told VentureTech Network members that it’s time for solution providers to build up their own skills around touch.

Chris Frey cited a number of reasons for a move towards touch. Despite the general fizzle around Windows 8, Frey said that the arrival of support for touch as standard on Intel hardware later this year, combined with the looming deadline for Microsoft to drop Windows XP support, mean more consumers and businesses will move towards touch.

“It’s time we went there,” Frey told attendees. “This is a practice you want to be in, and it’s going to be a competitive advantage if you get there first.”

Frey said getting involved with touch is important because of the predominance of touch-based devices in front of consumers, and the related spillover of those devices into business through BYOD. He said partners who can communicate the benefits of Windows-based touch devices will be in the optimal position to profit on refresh opportunities. And he pledged training and marketing support to partners to help bring that message home.

“We need to get offerings out for customers that cross those [business/personal] lines, and we want to get there before our competitors do,” Frey told VTN attendees.

The company is already doing just that, with recent product introductions including the Helix, Twist, and the Tablet 2, its first Windows-based tablet. As is Lenovo’s wont at events like VTN, Frey offered members a steep promotional discount for any one of those three devices to give solution providers a chance to present the benefits of touch to both customers and their own engineering and technical staff.

By getting devices into the channel’s hands, Lenovo is betting that solution providers will be able to find new and more novel roles for touch-based laptops and tablets, and may be counting on channel partners to start thinking of custom applications for customers.

Frey also touched on the company’s server plans, which focus on the “volume” market segments of rack and tower servers, areas where he said the company has grown some 76 percent over the last year in the channel space.