Lenovo Taps Kutcher in Long-Life Battery Challenge to Apple

Lenovo Group Ltd., the biggest maker of personal computers, hired Ashton Kutcher to help design new tablets and unveiled a device with longer battery life as it seeks to win users from Apple Inc.

Kutcher will help develop and market the Yoga line of tablets by providing input on design, specifications, software and usage scenarios, Lenovo Chief Marketing Officer David Roman said at a press conference in Los Angeles that was broadcast over the Internet. Terms of Kutcher’s contract weren’t disclosed, Lenovo spokesman Brion Tingler said in an e-mail.

Lenovo trails both Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. for tablet shipments in its home market of China and is planning to boost deliveries of the devices to 10 million units globally this year, from 2.2 million last year, Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing said in May. Kutcher today unveiled Lenovo’s new Yoga tablet with 18-hour battery life and 5 megapixel camera running Google Inc.’s Android 4.2 system.

According to Apple, iPad offers as much as 10 hours of battery life while surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching videos, or listening to music.

Kutcher, who stars on the television show “Two and a Half Men,” has more than 15 million followers of his microblog on Twitter Inc. He played the title role in “Jobs,” a biopic on Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, which was released in August.

Lenovo is among Asian hardware makers looking to Hollywood for a boost. HTC Corp. in August began running ads with Robert Downey Jr., who played Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes in hit movies. Downey’s two-year global marketing deal was worth about $12 million, two people with knowledge of the plans said in June.

Lenovo ranked only third in the China tablet market during the second quarter, with 8 percent share, trailing Apple’s 28 percent and Samsung’s 11 percent, market researcher International Data Corp. said in August.

In the past six months, Lenovo globally sold more tablets and smartphones than PCs, Roman said today.

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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