Lenovo has pulled the plug on US sales of its 8 inch Windows tablets. While some retailers still have the Lenovo Miix 2 and ThinkPad 8 in stock, they’re no longer available from Lenovo.com.

The company tells PC World that it plans to continue selling the tablets in other markets where demand has been stronger — but that in the United States Windows tablets with larger screens have been more popular.

Update: Lenovo says while it’s sold out of small Windows tablets for now, the company plans to continue offering models of all sizes, including 8 and 10 inches, in the US and other countries.

lenovo 8 tablets

Original article:

While some industry watchers think the market for larger screens overall shows more growth potential than small tablets, over the past few years tablets with small screens including the iPad mini, Amazon Kindle Fire and many Android tablets from Samsung, Asus, and others have been pretty popular.

So Microsoft has been making a push to get its software onto smaller tablets. The company offers Windows licenses free of charge to makers of tablets with 9 inch or smaller screens, and there are some reports that Microsoft may be giving Windows away to makers of all cheap tablets.

This year Toshiba and other device makers plan to launch Windows tablets that will sell for $200 or less, which makes them about half the price of the latest iPad mini models and competitively priced with Android tablets.

But Lenovo is the world’s largest PC maker… and if the company is pulling out of the small Windows tablet space in the US because of lack of demand, it probably means there’s lack of demand… or at least not enough demand for a big company like Lenovo to justify the expense of manufacturing and distributing the tablets here.

Toshiba, Asus, Dell, HP, and other makers of Windows tablets will have to make their own cost-benefit calculations. For now there’s no shortage of 8 inch Windows tablets on the market, and if you have your heart set on a Lenovo device you can opt for a small Android tablet or a larger Windows machine.

Or you can just pick up a cheap ThinkPad 8 or Miix 2 while they’re still available. Amazon is selling the Miix 2 8 for $202. TigerDirect has it for $220. And the Microsoft Store sells the ThinkPad 8 for $399.

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13 replies on “Lenovo stops selling 8 inch Windows tablets in the US”

  1. The Mixx2 was a decent little machine, but the limitation was not the actual tablet, it’s what went into the tablet, and how the tablet was meant to be used. If you got the 32GB version , your machine would only have around 6GB free if you install Office 2013 and the security updates. The machine can be shrunken if you do the WIMBoot thing, but let’s face it, it’s basically rebuilding the OS, and not all of us will enjoy that. Another issue is that Windows 8 is still a discordian mess…there’s not enough 100% metro apps around, and if you run it to get access to legacy apps (which is the allure of running Windows on x86 hardware in the first place) you will still need a portable keyboard and mouse…and 99.99% of the tablet keyboards out there do not have a trackpad. The Miix 2 was actually surprisingly competent (I had mine on USB charge-and-host using an OTG power injecting cable and a battery pack), but too bad it’s one of those machines that fell slightly off the mark (I was hoping for MicroHDMI or MHL support…which did not happen). The next crop of Win8 tablets are already arriving late and with less features than the first generation (The Toshiba Encore 8 already pulled the MicroHDMI port). If this is momentum, think again.

    1. It was surprising how different manufacturers all brought something different to the table, but none of them brought the device that had it all. ASUS brought out an 8″ tablet with a built in Wacom digitzer that slotted into the device (nice, but thick/heavy and the stylus was uncomfortably thin/light). Dell had a nice design with a Synaptics digitizer, but pen optional (at least it was a seriously comfortable size). Lenovo was just thin. Toshiba and Acer at least brought along microHDMI. I ended up with the Acer W4 because it did have microHDMI and I could hook the tablet up to any decently modern TV (hotel room movie viewing), or a monitor (portable work station). After playing with the Surface Pro 3, I do kind of wish I had a digitizer, but I’ll just lobby for a Surface Pro 3 as a new work laptop. 😉

      Agree about the still somewhat disjointed UI though. I can manage through some desktop apps just with touch input (Chrome), but others really require mouse and keyboard. The Metro/Modern UI apps are growing slowly, but still lack the big hitters. The biggest offense is probably Microsoft’s own lack of a Metro/Modern UI for Office apps other than OneNote. If you can’t even get your own bread and butter apps into the new UI, why are other big app developers going to?

  2. I think part of the problem is that the ThinkPad 8 just wasn’t compelling. Really all it was was an 8 inch Windows tablet with reportedly bad battery life(I don’t own one). If they had done some of the things they did with the new ThinkPad 10 I could see it selling more. Mainly(and the reason I didn’t purchase one) would be to add a pen to the thing. I think they made a big mistake not including some sort of digitizer on it similar to it’s larger brother. Maybe they wanted to make that a selling point of the larger one but it seems silly to not have put one on the 8. Not to mention the fact that it was pretty expensive for what it was. The main tablet it was compared to was the Dell which was selling for around $200 and had a pen(even if it wasn’t that great)

    I think had they launched the 8 differently and had better features it would have sold better. Not sure about the Miix2, I guess it comes back to the same thing, not enough compelling features to set it apart(though I don’t know a whole lot about it so maybe it was fine and just didn’t sell for whatever reason)?

  3. Too bad. I’m not sure why the Miix didn’t sell, but the ThinkPad was high priced and had a poor battery compared to other tablets.

    I like Windows 8 tablets so I hope this isn’t indicative of the market in general.

    1. Lenovo says that there’s strong demand for the ThinkPad 8 and Miix 2 outside the US. That’s good if you’re not in the US. Too bad I’m in the US so I may end up importing UMPCs with the attached extra costs. I got a Viliv N5 that way since it was never really officially sold in the US.

      Also, Lenovo is claiming that there’s a good amount of interest in there larger tablets in the US.

  4. Maybe they weren’t selling very many ThinkPad 8 tablets in the US because it was constantly sold out/out of stock on Lenovo’s site. Every time it was in stock, it went out of stock when I got time to configure and order it after work. I guess now I’ll have to settle with the single configuration from the Microsoft store.

  5. Seems like they’re pulling the plug just as momentum is starting to build for windows machines.
    Odd timing.

  6. Maybe they need to make a 7 inch Windows tablet, or is that not allowed?

  7. I hope smaller companies come out with more interesting mini PCs and don’t necessarily need the huge sales numbers like Lenovo does to make it worth it. Large companies like Lenovo tend to not do much outside the box and more often stay fairly conservative with their designs.

    It was nice during the UMPC era with the old Atoms when there were several companies making small PCs and coming out with pretty interesting designs. I bought some of them. Too bad the old Atom just didn’t keep up with the times and ARM wasn’t that great either (especially with hardware and software support).

    1. As others have said, the ThinkPad 8 was disappointing for its price and ThinkPad name. For me, I expected much longer battery life (even at the cost of a lower resolution screen and a thicker device), simultaneous USB charging and USB host (don’t mind being restricted to the official charger), digitizer with a built in pen holder, a keyboard attachment and even a bezel mouse (a software based mouse would just take up too much screen space).

      I hope for some different form factors as well other than a slab with an 8″ screen. Hopefully, Lenovo or other OEMs come out with something different and good for 8″ or smaller devices like some of the form factors in the larger 10″+ hybrid devices and in the old UMPC days.

  8. I was waiting for the ThinkPad 8 to go back in stock. I guess could go through the MS store.

  9. It’s a shame more people don’t give these 8″ Bay Trail Windows tablets a try. It’s a shockingly good value for a pretty nice machine. Windows 8.1 on a touch device is a little quirky when you use desktop mode, but I can get so much more done on one than I ever could on my Android or iOS devices.

    Admittedly I did not buy a Lenovo Miix 2 8″ (terrible terrible name)., but seeing one on sale for less than $200 did get me in the door so to speak at researching them and competitors. Great little devices for those of us who actually want to get a little work done and not just consume media.

    1. At this point I would not rule out a Windows tablet for myself in the future, but not just yet.

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