You have to hand it to the folks at Lenovo. They are quick. They went straight from the K6 Note to the K8 Note. And as if that was not enough, they launched the latter in well under an hour in Delhi yesterday.
It dawned bright and sunny in Delhi, but then typically, the skies opened up, and by the time it was noon, it was raining canines and felines. Equally more typically, the rain blocked all roads leading to and from the launch of the “Killer Note” (so it was christened, just like its predecessors), tangling up traffic for hours – it is a Delhi tradition, really. But if the cloud-driven aerial condensation (“can’t you just call it “rain”?” – Editor) slowed down traffic, it did not seem to hamper Lenovo’s presenters. Driven by processing power that definitely seemed to be on par with the “deca-core processor” device they were launching, they wrapped up the entire launch presentation in well under fifty minutes (including time taken posing with the handset for photographers). The consequence was that those who got stuck in traffic pretty much missed a hefty portion of the presentation – some missed all of it. Contrary to what some had hoped, the event did start off within half an hour of its official launch time (Steve Jobs would have frowned, but that is a heck of an achievement by Indian tech event standards and a far cry from two years ago when events started almost an hour late by routine).
That said, the large majority of invitees did make it to the launch (“Did you?” – Editor, “err..” -ND), and if our sources are to be believed, the event missed a rather rare phenomenon – that of the audience gasping in surprise. Evidently, it happened when the price of the device was revealed – Rs 13,999 for the 4 GB/ 64 GB variant and Rs 12,999 for the 3 GB/ 32 GB variant. And no, the company did not beat about the bush with revolving numbers – it pretty much parked the price on the big screen. Cue, gasp of surprise (“Did you hear it?” – Editor, “Err…” _ ND).
That gasp was perhaps the best tribute, not perhaps to the pricing of the device (which is pretty good, we concede), but to the build up to the slide showing it. As in most Lenovo/Motorola events – and this was the ninth one this year, as we were reminded – the launch was basically handled by the Head of Lenovo’s Mobility Business Group, Sudhin Mathur, and Motorola India’s marketing head, Anuj Sharma. The duo is perhaps the most recognizable two people act in Indian tech today and after a period of initial searching and experimentation, seems to have settled into a format – Mathur inevitably talks about matters corporate and strategic, while Sharma waxes eloquent on the product itself. It is a rock solid combination (Mathur referred to Sharma as his “friend in arms, which” and the two share an easy, effortless chemistry on stage), one which prefers to stick to facts and stats, and does not try too much pointless witty banter.
On this day too, they stuck mostly to facts, although there were a few brief slides of mild tech horseplay when they talked about the K7 Note, which had been so cruelly skipped (“not Killer enough,” evidently). Mathur talked briefly about Lenovo in India and the history of the K Note series, and then it was up to Sharma to talk about the K8 Note. As is becoming usual, both did their roles fairly well, and very briskly – rather too briskly some might feel. Those accustomed to seeing design efforts being drooled over and described in long drawn adjective laden sentences would have felt a trifle let down by Sharma’s almost-as-an-aside mention that it took almost thirty minutes to make the metallic back of the fine gold model, while it took fifty minutes to make the venom black one. But then he has never been the one to be inside a white room, enunciating each feature of a device as if it were handcrafted from a blend of satin and sulphur (“what?” – editor. “Alliterative”- ND). Speaking of venom black, one of the highlights of the presentation was the way in which the gold metal was suddenly enveloped by a rapidly advancing army of black particles – very Marvel Comics! Stan Lee would have approved.
And then it was over. In less than the time it would have taken to make the back of a venom black K8 Note, actually. There was no long term lingering over the specs or features, even though some would have expected it, given the K8 Note sees Lenovo moving to stock Android and is also the first Lenovo device to come with dual rear cameras. It was not as if the team was in a hurry. It was just that it seemed that clean and crisp rather than long and winded was the order of the day for the Killer Note. Perhaps more time could have been given to specific features, but on the flip side, by compressing a lot into not too much time, Mathur and Sharma managed to convey the impression of a well stacked device without boring the audience with too much detail…and paved the way for the gasp at the price.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Lenovo has – with a bit of trial and error – evolved a simple and speedy template for its presentations. Fans of Jobs and Hugo Barra might complain about it flitting by too fast, but for another school of media persons, this is inch perfect – started on close to time, did not take time, covered essentials, giving people time to get back and file stories (“Then why did you take an entire day?” – Ed. “Errr…” – ND).
And it works. Perhaps too well. For, as things wrapped up quickly, even the hotel’s staff seemed inspired by the company’s turn of speed. An hour after the final curtain had descended on the show, lunch had been wrapped up and dishes were being removed and counters closed. A gentleman in a suit could be heard searching for a cup of coffee, because the coffee counter too had been shut down as most people had left.
He did not seem to mind, though. Sudhin Mathur had got the Killer Note off to a good start. The coffee could come later. “Try espresso with ice,” he told a straggler who had arrived rather late (“Was that you?” – Ed. “Errr..” – ND).
Whatever Lenovo lacks, it is not speed in terms of presentation. You have to hand it to the folks at Lenovo.
They are quick.