Lenovo shifts direction with new Android-based PCs - and they look powerful

A Lenovo ThinkCentre M70a desktop PC running Windows with a red X covering the screen and the Android Alien peeking up from the corner of the image.
(Image credit: Lenovo, Google)

Well-known laptop manufacturer Lenovo has announced that it plans to make Android PCs, teaming up with Android OS specialist Esper for a reimagining of its ThinkCentre M70a, an all-in-one (AIO) desktop PC that will represent Lenovo’s first step into the Android space. Will it be one of the best all-in-one computers or one of our best business PC, though?

The M70a is a pretty straightforward AIO, packing a 21-inch touchscreen and starting at $889 (about £730 / AU$1400), except for one interesting quirk; it uses an Intel Core processor, which can be configured from an entry-level i3 all the way up to a powerful i9 chip. The M70a is currently available with Windows 11, but the new version will use Android instead.

Naturally, Android is primarily thought of as an operating system for phones and tablets; the closest you can really get to Android on a desktop PC right now is products like HP’s Chromebase AIO, which can run Android apps via the Google Play Store thanks to ChromeOS. Android-based systems like this do exist, but they’re predominantly only available to businesses for running services like touchscreen customer information points.

Now, Lenovo has said that it considers the ThinkCentre to be primarily an enterprise product, with hopes that it will appeal to retail and hospitality businesses, but you can buy the Windows 11 version on the Lenovo website, so I’m hoping that this Android version will be available to the general public too.

The power of Android

Putting an Android-based OS on your desktop PC might sound a bit strange at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. I have an Android phone (a Google Pixel, to be precise) and I like that the tools I primarily use for work – Google Docs, Slack, and the Chrome Browser – are all available in my pocket.

If you just want a straightforward productivity machine, Android has the potential to strip away the distractions and complexity of Windows or macOS to provide you with a more focused work experience. Of course, it’s also a good idea for businesses, since Windows 11 has historically been a bit disagreeable when used in customer-facing devices. Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a fast-food self-service display bugging out!

Lenovo isn’t stopping with the ThinkCentre M70a, either. Its collaboration with Esper promises to also deliver Android-powered versions of its ThinkCentre M70q (essentially the same internal system as the M70a, but in a compact form factor without a display) as well as its edge client devices the ThinkEdge SE30 and ThinkCentre M90n-1 IoT.

Lenovo already has some experience with Android devices, since the tech giant purchased the phone brand Motorola from Google way back in 2014. I hope that experience combined with Esper’s expertise in creating custom Android builds will lead to a powerful and effective Android PC – with all the annoying problems in Windows 11, perhaps Microsoft should be worried.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.