Lenovo ends sales of small Windows tablets in US due to lack of interest

Lenovo has confirmed that it will stop selling small Windows tablets in the United States, a result of lukewarm market interest in the devices. The company offered two 8-inch devices in the US - the Miix 2 and the premium ThinkPad 8 - and sales of both have been halted with immediate effect. 

Inventory of the two devices allocated to the US has now been redirected to other countries, according to a Lenovo spokesperson in an email to ITworld. "In North America, we're seeing stronger interest in the larger screen sizes for Windows tablets and are pleased with initial demand for the ThinkPad 10," said Lenovo's Raymond Gorman.

He added: "In other markets, particularly Brazil, China and Japan, the demand for ThinkPad 8 has been much stronger, so we are adjusting our ThinkPad 8 inventories to meet increasing demand in those markets. If market demand for ThinkPad 8 changes, we will re-evaluate our strategy." 

While Gorman did not reference the 8-inch Miix 2, IT World spoke to a Lenovo sales representative who confirmed that the device is now unavailable in the US. However, the 10-inch version of the tablet remains on sale there.

Source: ITworld | image via Lenovo

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I have an 8 inch Acer W4 and it is by far one of the most useful pc/tablets I've ever used. People are seriously missing the boat. The ability to have a REAL pc in your hand in this form factor is quite amazing and the Acer gets 9hrs of battery life.


Like a lot of MS related products people simply spew FUD and never give them a chance.
People are pretty cray as a real 8 inch pc is alot more useful than an 8 inch ipad or android tablet.

Edited by swanlee, Jul 18 2014, 12:58pm :

Usability and value. Asus Vivo Tab Note 8 is the only one that got it right. Low cost, relatively excellent performance, and WACOM digitizer with built-in silo. A low cost tablet that cannot sign Word & PDF documents is of little value in the enterprise.

I personally have no use for any tablet without a stylus silo.

Hello,

I don't have any special knowledge about Lenovo's exit from this market segment, but likely suspect it was their unwillingness to get into a "race to the bottom" against the price points at which Asus, Dell, Toshiba, et all were offering 8" Intel tablet OEMs.

I had skipped over the initial ThinkPad tablet line since I was hoping for an 8" model to appear with 4GB of RAM and an x64 processor and UEFI firmware stack, but it looks like that won't arrive, at least in the US.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

I have two Windows 8.1 tablets, a Dell Venue 8 Pro and an Asus VivoTab Note 8. Love both of them but the VivoTab is currently my go to mobile device because of the Wacom digitizer. It's a wonderful device to write on because of its size and decent pricing. The Miix 2 didn't really distinguish itself with anything like a digital pen and while the ThinkPad 8 had great specs, too much money for what it is. Plus there is going be a number of cheap Windows 8.1 tablets coming to market through the end of the year starting as low an $100 USD.

Not with a decent digitizer for that money.

And a lot of us want something small with a proper pen. That's why the Surface Mini generated such buzz.

I think you will find there is a natural price ceiling or limit to what people will pay for an 8"device.

Generally speaking I find Lenovo devices to be at the premium side of things, the DvP8 kept its price down by using an inferior digitiser and cheaper build materials among other things. Lenovo tried to apply the same premium design principals to their small devices and the price just came out much higher than people would pay for a device of that size.

Is this the same Lenovo that sold off their mobile phone division for $200 million because there was "no demand for smartphones in China"? The Lenovo who bought that same division back a year later for $400 million? Just to be clear, Lenovo is not the Chinese word for "leader".

With the Windows 8 UI, they are hardly functional. Windows 8 was just not designed for 8 inch. Sorry, the truth hurts.

Mr. Dee said,
With the Windows 8 UI, they are hardly functional. Windows 8 was just not designed for 8 inch. Sorry, the truth hurts.

Microsoft has been trying to flog Windows tablets for 10 years, they never sold in great numbers to anyone, certainly not in the consumer space. Windows 8 did not help anything. People still don't want Windows tablets.

Mr. Dee said,
With the Windows 8 UI, they are hardly functional. Windows 8 was just not designed for 8 inch. Sorry, the truth hurts.

"In other markets, particularly Brazil, China and Japan, the demand for ThinkPad 8 has been much stronger, so we are adjusting our ThinkPad 8 inventories to meet increasing demand in those markets."

'Stronger' does not mean successful. Stronger means we have an opportunity here and we want to focus. Lets see how it goes.

'Stronger' sounds like marketing spin, something a retreating company says when they don't want things to look so bad. Something to give promise and hope to those just reading and not reading between the lines. There are no numbers, those words are marketing fluff.

derekaw said,
'Stronger' does not mean successful. Stronger means we have an opportunity here and we want to focus. Lets see how it goes.

'Stronger' sounds like marketing spin, something a retreating company says when they don't want things to look so bad. Something to give promise and hope to those just reading and not reading between the lines.

Whatevs, big guy. They're not pulling the ThinkPad 10 off the shelves, and the other companies aren't pulling their 8" units off the shelves either.

No, not yet, but it would be wrong to say the future looks hopeful or promising based on whats happened. Its a lets try this, lets try again, we have to be able to sell these things somewhere! Lets try Brazil!

derekaw said,
No, not yet, but it would be wrong to say the future looks hopeful or promising based on whats happened. Its a lets try this, lets try again, we have to be able to sell these things somewhere! Lets try Brazil!

So based on Lenovo over-supplying the US and moving that back to other markets we're, or in this case you, are drawing the conclusion that every OEM is going to follow suit and drop everything now? Wouldn't it just as wrong to say the future looks bleak or doomed based on what's happened by one OEM?

You're jumping to conclusions by "reading between the lines" or more like reading too much into something you yourself admit you don't know the details of.

Total speculation. I am not suggesting anything about other OEM's but since you mentioned it I expect they have at best disappointing sales.

Mr. Dee said,
With the Windows 8 UI, they are hardly functional. Windows 8 was just not designed for 8 inch. Sorry, the truth hurts.

Funny. Cause the truth is I use my DV8P all the time. And, with a Bluetooth mouse I am able to use my DV8P for many desktop apps. Modern apps run great, too! I am using a great twitch app called Gamestreams and its fantastic! Not to mention the Netflix app, Audible App, and IE, and most actually.

At least you got one thing right about your posts, they're total speculation. Lenovo has been gun-ho about entering markets, they over-extended supply and are redirecting it where there's more demand, it happens. That however doesn't mean what you're implying it means unless proven otherwise with solid numbers which we don't have, and probably never will.

The US tablet market has slowed down either way, that's been clear, even the iPad has been hit by it, other markets are picking up though.

The story above says there is a 'lack of interest' in their product. I expect the lack of interest in small Windows tablets is not just a US thing and the same thing is happening worldwide. People just don't want Windows tablets.

Microsoft saw the writing on the wall and is yet to release the Surface Mini. At least Microsoft got this right.

pmbAustin said,
Windows 8 apps work fine in 8" form factors. IT's desktop apps that are impossible to use on that small of a screen.

desktop on a 8"... no
Metro/modern... yes.

And wasn't that the whole point of Win8 on tablets??? To move away from the desktop for touch and have a new UI?
Of course the desktop on a 8" sucks, it even sucks on a 10" with most programs, as they don't obay the 'rules of desktop scaling'. Hello Adobe!!!! <waves...>

Assumptions galore, without hard facts all anyone has is guesses here. MS delaying the Surface mini could just as well be because they don't, as they've said over and over, want to compete directly with their OEM partners who are flooding the market with 8" mini tablets.

If they remove the ugly Lenovo brand on the front screen on Miix 8, or, if they drive down the price of Thinkpad 8 to DVP8's price, I'd buy them.

Robert Wade said,
Like I've been saying, 8" tablets are useless. And it's made worse by the fact that they are too expensive AS 8" tablets.

Personally, I don't find them useless. It's a Windows PC I can fit in my hands. How cool is that?

When they are $300 yes they are too expensive. $200 is that sweet range when it's competing against nexus 7, cause android tablets just aren't as good. With the 8 inch windows pc you can make it into a full computer with an external monitor if you really wanted to.

MASTER260 said,

Personally, I don't find them useless. It's a Windows PC I can fit in my hands. How cool is that?

It's really cool. If it's actually useful or something that a majority of people might want, it's a different matter.

ParadiseLost said,

It's really cool. If it's actually useful or something that a majority of people might want, it's a different matter.


I fail to see how it's any less useful than an iPad, though.

Well considering the Venue 8 Pro was the better buy between Toshiba, Lenovo, and Dell, I didn't see how could they keep selling these small tablets.

Thinkpad 10 should be demo'd tonight at 6pm PDT so I'll need to check that out to add to my Thinkpad 14. Lol. (Thinkpad T440s).

Can the Surface Mini fill this void? I'm taking an uneducated guess and saying no. The Surface line is just to expensive to fill this gap correct? Will there be a Surface Mini with RT installed to help drop the price or is RT dead? Any Microsoft gurus want to help me out?

I expect the rumoured Surface Mini was not launched because of the 'lack of interest'.

Frankly I don't think that price is the issue here, I think that generally people don't want small Windows tablets. Generally people don't want Windows tablets at all.

JHBrown said,
Can the Surface Mini fill this void? I'm taking an uneducated guess and saying no. The Surface line is just to expensive to fill this gap correct? Will there be a Surface Mini with RT installed to help drop the price or is RT dead? Any Microsoft gurus want to help me out?
The highest valid rumor about the lack of release was the lack of availability of touch office. I don't know if they will be RT or Intel based. But with touch office RT becomes very useful. It's also been speculated that Surface Mini will release with Threshold too. All conjecture though (other than the fact that they already have a bunch of mini's produced).

JHBrown said,
Can the Surface Mini fill this void? I'm taking an uneducated guess and saying no. The Surface line is just to expensive to fill this gap correct? Will there be a Surface Mini with RT installed to help drop the price or is RT dead? Any Microsoft gurus want to help me out?

RT is far from dead. Once combined with Windows Phone, it'll be quite a powerful OS.

Dot Matrix said,

RT is far from dead. Once combined with Windows Phone, it'll be quite a powerful OS.

I get that it will be 'quite a powerful OS' but who will use it and on which devices? What will make people buy RT tablets or use the OS on a Windows Phone? Neither product is doing very well. Its all hope and fingers crossed. Based on past performance I don't see anything great happening with RT or the Windows Phone platform, ever.

Dot Matrix said,

RT is far from dead. Once combined with Windows Phone, it'll be quite a powerful OS.


Actually it's already a powerful OS, MS just has problems marketing it… As much as I like WP, still I hope that the combination of WRT and WP will be loser to WRT than to WP. (specially in the case of tablets…)

derekaw said,
Yes, Its a Marketing problem, its not that people don't want it.
Its app gap is closing. That is the only reason to really not like RT. I'm on my surface RT right now. It is slow (first gen) but I use it every day. Even the Surface 2 is a *computer* replacement for most people and doubles very well as a tablet. It's kinda cute how everybody doesn't see the threat it poses.

Dot Matrix said,
RT is far from dead. Once combined with Windows Phone, it'll be quite a powerful OS.
We all know if you could just figure out how to hide the desktop tile you'd love RT as it is now ;)

derekaw said,
I expect the rumoured Surface Mini was not launched because of the 'lack of interest'.

Frankly I don't think that price is the issue here, I think that generally people don't want small Windows tablets. Generally people don't want Windows tablets at all.

I think it wasn't launched because they are waiting for touch Office to come out. Its still alive I am pretty sure. Just wasn't launched with the SP3.

derekaw said,
Yes, Its a Marketing problem, its not that people don't want it.

Its always hard to figure out what the real problem is.

Just saying that people don't want it is glossing over a lot of things. Little things like more MS Stores rolling out across the US are helping the situation because many people simply never get the chance to see WP or Surface devices in person, nor do they get any assistance in explaining what they can do for them.

I don't think most people outright hate Windows RT devices or WP devices, I just think a combination of a lack of exposure, lack of local marketing (i.e. Verizon reps pushing WP as much as say iPhone or Galaxy), and bad word of mouth.

Sure, those products are not perfect, but I am convinced that sales could be better with better exposure at the local level, exposure equal to Apple or Google products.

Bad word of mouth is default behavior when MS releases something unfortunately.
RT, and WP are very capable OS's, and a lot of people I have shown my Lumia's and Surface2 are very surprised what it can do.
And that Win8 doesn't really is that different from Win7........

There's a ton of childish FUD, misconception and hear-say, and unfortunately a lack of proper MS advertising on the matter.

trooper11 said,

Its always hard to figure out what the real problem is.

About 3% after 4 years means its doomed. Nothing can make a difference now. I think that people just don't like Windows phone. Its not a marketing issue. How can marketing make a difference now?

derekaw said,

About 3% after 4 years means its doomed. Nothing can make a difference now. I think that people just don't like Windows phone. Its not a marketing issue. How can marketing make a difference now?

If ALL new products are hacked after 3-4 years because they don't make a dent quickly enough, the world would be a sad sad place......
Getting oneself into an area with already established names will be hard, but is that enough reason to not try it when you think you're product will sell?
Kickstarter is full of great ides for instance, often in areas where there's a plenty of stuff already available.

And you might not like WP, there are enough places where WP is selling just fine.

Dutchie64 said,

If ALL new products are hacked after 3-4 years because they don't make a dent quickly enough, the world would be a sad sad place......
Getting oneself into an area with already established names will be hard, but is that enough reason to not try it when you think you're product will sell?
Kickstarter is full of great ides for instance, often in areas where there's a plenty of stuff already available.

And you might not like WP, there are enough places where WP is selling just fine.

'Selling just fine' because people are buying low end cheap phones. They did not buy the phone because it was a windows phone, they got it because it was cheap.

The problem is that Windows itself just isn't ideal on an 8" device. The desktop isn't practical - sure some people will use it like that but they are a tiny market. The mass market would much rather get an Android device or iPad at this point than poke at the desktop. Microsoft know that themselves, that's why they didn't release the Surface Mini; it would have flopped and tarnished the Surface brand even further. The SP3 on the other hand is a premium ultrabook alternative and is generating a good buzz for Windows and Surface.

While plenty people here would like an 8" Windows machine it's not practical or profitable for most OEMs right now. Once there's Office Touch and MS merge Windows Phone & RT and we get the Threshold release of Windows next year we will see the Surface Mini and then other companies will pay more interest in 8" Windows devices.

derekaw said,

'Selling just fine' because people are buying low end cheap phones. They did not buy the phone because it was a windows phone, they got it because it was cheap.

This is one of the main reasons why Android phones are so popular. A lot of them are dead cheap. But not always liked.

I switched my family over to L520's, because I got fed up with resetting the phones. A Lot of games for kids are riddled with annoy-ware of the popup and email kind.
With WP, not so much...

But, each his own. I happen to like WP, and Android or iOS not so much.
We agree to disagree.... ;-)

I agree about people not wanting 8" Windows tablets, but I think there is a lot of interest in Windows tablets. When I have my Surface RT out with me, I get a lot of people stopping me and asking how I like it and say they are considering one - very similar to when I bought the 1st gen iPad at launch. Most people are hesitant though because of the lack of apps or they are just waiting to hear enough positive things about them before making the plunge. Windows tablets are seen as a risk - a product that MS may eventually abandon.

Just RT has a bad rap with apps. A 'normal' Windows tablet can run all the apps they already use on their pc or laptop.
But RT/Metro has become intertwined with Win8 when talking about app(lication)s...

Dot Matrix said,

RT is far from dead. Once combined with Windows Phone, it'll be quite a powerful OS.

I hope you're right, but I fear the more likely scenario is it'll become more of a dumb-down entry level phone/tablet OS for people that just want to poke type on a touch screen and watch youtube videos. If Microsoft really wanted to make a powerful Windows on ARM OS they would release an unlocked ARM version of the full Windows 8/9 OS (which is what RT almost is right now), maybe even offer a Pro version. If all we get is a phone OS to replace Windows RT, I won't be downgrading my Surface RT to it.

derekaw said,
About 3% after 4 years means its doomed. Nothing can make a difference now. I think that people just don't like Windows phone. Its not a marketing issue. How can marketing make a difference now?
It has one quarter the market share of iOS. And it's only really been viable for 2 years. I'm sorry, you don't know enough to speak knowledgably. But even if you give it 4 years in "growth potential" then in half the time of iOS it's been able to grab a quarter the market share... in the competitive market it's trying to penetrate that's actually quite good.

WP is not going to replace RT, it's all merged in the end as there is some overlap already. An unlocked ARM version is also going against all the new security they put into RT/WP. Cutting away the win32 legacy crap.
And...... who says your RT will be upgradable to that merged OS anyway..... ;-)

Dutchie64 said,
WP is not going to replace RT, it's all merged in the end as there is some overlap already. An unlocked ARM version is also going against all the new security they put into RT/WP. Cutting away the win32 legacy crap.
And...... who says your RT will be upgradable to that merged OS anyway..... ;-)

True on that last bit, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Windows RT for anything other than causal use is frustrating. Problem is that win32 (or .NET) is still what most of the powerful and useful windows applications and utilities still use. When the WinRT API can target the desktop also and can be a complete replacement for win32 (and not just windowed modern ui apps) and be able to run things like VPN clients, Java runtime, alternate stores like Steam, etc, then Windows RT is it's current "locked down" form might be ok. Otherwise no, a fully unlocked Windows 8-like version of Windows on ARM would be my preference.

Edited by domboy, Jul 18 2014, 3:04pm :

domboy said,

True on that last bit, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Windows RT for anything other than causal use is frustrating. Problem is that win32 (or .NET) is still what most of the powerful and useful windows applications and utilities still use. When the WinRT API can target the desktop also and can be a complete replacement for win32 (and not just windowed modern ui apps) and be able to run things like VPN clients, Java runtime, alternate stores like Steam, etc, then Windows RT is it's current "locked down" form might be ok. Otherwise no, a fully unlocked Windows 8-like version of Windows on ARM would be my preference.

When Windows 8 came out some of the moders and hackers on other sites found a way to run desktop apps on an ARM windows RT device. From my knowledge it never got up and running conveniently but it was possible. MS can run Windows fully on ARM if they want to. My guess is that Intel made some agreement with them to not do that for a bit and they also claim RT is locked down for security as well. I dont know why they cant put in a locked down desktop mode eventually that will run in a sandbox or something and fully unlock desktop then as well. It would be hard given how much power desktop apps have but MS has done a lot of neat things so I am hoping RT can become more viable...

Dutchie64 said,
Yes, the did manage to sideload and run desktop apps on RT. But they were recompiled versions for ARM, so not the win32 versions.

Better way to say that would be that they are not the x86 versions, as win32 and .NET can both run on ARM, and do (once recompiled as you mention, or in the case of .NET some can run unmodified).

I've been running the "jailbreak" for a year now. It's really just a script to change the digital signature requirement for desktop apps from "Microsoft" to unsigned, so pretty much any win32 app that has been recompiled can run. I would hate to loose the desktop on my Surface RT, as it has become so much more useful with these open source desktop applications.

Care to share the apps you're using on the Desktop? What do you really miss on RT?
I'm looking for a decent video player on the S2 that can use closed caption subs. (no srt)
All Modern apps don't support this, so a recompiled or .NET version might do ;-)

I can't speak on video players other than suggesting looking through the list that you posted.

What I use all the time and can't live without:
Putty
KeePass2 (.NET, portable executable version requires no recompile).
Subversion (KeePass password safe files are stored in subversion repository)

What I use on occasion and would be annoyed to loose.
notepad++
Quake 1
Dosbox (for old dos games)
snes9x (sometimes prefer it over the store version)

There are others I've downloaded just don't use much.

With the jailbreak the only thing I don't have on my RT that I would really like to have is a Cisco AnyConnect client, and Cisco has flat out said they can't port it because they don't have access to the required APIs (which almost certainly means win32). WinRT isn't a replacement for the standard windows APIs yet.

Oh, and Java. I'd love it if Oracle would be allowed to release a version of Java that would run on Windows RT. They have the same problem as Cisco... no access to the APIs.

domboy said,
Oh, and Java. I'd love it if Oracle would be allowed to release a version of Java that would run on Windows RT. They have the same problem as Cisco... no access to the APIs.

They cant because Java and security dont generally go hand and hand =).

Dutchie64 said,
Care to share the apps you're using on the Desktop? What do you really miss on RT?
I'm looking for a decent video player on the S2 that can use closed caption subs. (no srt)
All Modern apps don't support this, so a recompiled or .NET version might do ;-)

Wasnt VLC released for Win 8? Does that have subtitles?

Scabrat said,

They cant because Java and security dont generally go hand and hand =).

I know you're kidding, but that's actually the problem I have with Windows RT. As a customer and user I want the option to enable third party or unsigned desktop applications to run if I want, even if it does open the potential for security holes. Instead Microsoft in their wisdom says I can't.

Scabrat said,

Wasnt VLC released for Win 8? Does that have subtitles?

I believe the windows store version of VLC doesn't support ARM yet, so no, Windows RT doesn't have VLC, which ironically enough is the OS that needs it much more.

domboy said,

I believe the windows store version of VLC doesn't support ARM yet, so no, Windows RT doesn't have VLC, which ironically enough is the OS that needs it much more.

Oh, ok. Dang. Why did VLC waste so much time on non-arm? That seems a little backwards imo...

Thanks for the reply!
Regarding video, I've looked all over, but so far there's no video player that will support true closed captions like VLC or Media Player Classic unfortunately.
Just external files like .srt. Must be something RT'ish I guess.

lack of interest? there was plenty of interest it's just that your tablets were way more expensive then the competition for little extra benefit.

i would have loved to get the lenovo 8" windows tablet over the Dell but I couldn't do the overly extra price for small boost in specs

Yeah, Dell is winning on the price difference right now between the two. It also doesn't help that the Dell 8" isn't a bad tablet at all either, I've heard good things about it overall.

Brando212 said,
lack of interest? there was plenty of interest it's just that your tablets were way more expensive then the competition for little extra benefit.

i would have loved to get the lenovo 8" windows tablet over the Dell but I couldn't do the overly extra price for small boost in specs

If it had supported a docking station, or OTG cable I would have bought one.

anothercookie said,
So Dell wins the small windows tablet race by default?

I have been wanting to implement a few tablets and the only one I have considered is the Dell Venue 8.

SikSlayer said,
I bought the Dell Venue 8 Pro, but I was really jealous of the ThinkPad 8.

I could have gotten full price for my DV8P and have gotten the ThinkPad 8, but I didn't because terrible battery life, along with a multitude of other little issues, as well as no stylus, made it a no-go.

This is why the ThinkPad 8 never sold well, and the Dell does. Dell made a good product, and Lenovo (for once) didn't