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Android Headliner: Lenovo Needs to Clear Up their Smartphone Brands

August 29, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

As of now, Lenovo has three brands or lines of smartphones. There’s Vibe which the company has had for a few years, and always leaves us in North America and Europe drooling over because they aren’t for sale in the EU or Americas. There’s also Motorola, which they recently bought from Google – the sale closed in late 2014. And as we found out earlier this year, there’s ZUK. Which sorta reminds you of OnePlus (in the fact that OPPO employees left the mothership to create OnePlus, and Lenovo employees left Lenovo to create ZUK), however, ZUK is still very much owned by Lenovo. They are using their factories, employees, and resources. Unlike OPPO and OnePlus. So what exactly is the difference? It’s not a regional thing, because all three brands are available in China.

We reported last week, that Lenovo is using Moto for their high-end smartphones, ZUK is their mid-range (in terms of pricing) devices, and Vibe is going to be their low-end products. But, that’s still a bit confusing. Isn’t the Moto E a bit low-end? And the Moto G a bit mid-range? What about the new ZUK Z1? That certainly seems high-end to me with 64GB of storage, a fingerprint reader and a Snapdragon 801. It’s all very confusing, and Lenovo fans and customers are going to be very confused about these three brands.

What Lenovo needs to do here is just clean it all up, fold everything under the Moto brand, as recent reports have suggested. Instead of having Vibe, ZUK, and Moto, just have Moto with different models inside Motorola. Now Motorola’s been making phones for a long time, almost a century actually. So they definitely know how to make smartphones, so handing over the keys to Lenovo’s mobile division would be a great thing. It will also make the entire thing a bit less confusing. Not to say I don’t like ZUK, but in all honesty, their name is only ZUK because it was the first .com domain that was available, and was somewhat short. It has no actual meaning, at least according to their CEO.

Look at Samsung for example. They have three brands. Galaxy, Ativ, and then there’s the Tizen brand which is just “Samsung Z”. Each one is for a different OS. Galaxy is Android, and Ativ is Windows Phone. Lenovo could do the same, and transition Vibe to Windows Phone, as they currently don’t make any Windows Phone devices, but make plenty of tablets running Windows as well as Android. It would make plenty of sense. But having three brands, and actually in their case it’s three companies, competing against each other, in largely the same markets. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.