Lenovo isn't abandoning small-screen Windows tablets after all

Lenovo isn't abandoning small-screen Windows tablets after all

Summary: After halting sales on the ThinkPad 8 and selling out of the Miix, the company promises to keep producing new 8-inch Windows tablet PCs in the future.

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Lenovo caused a bit of a kerkuffle last week when it came to light that the company had stopped selling its 8-inch Windows tablets in North America due to insufficient consumer demand. A Lenovo spokesperson even said as much, telling PCWorld that "we’re seeing stronger interest in the larger screen sizes for Windows tablets."

That news must not have sat well with someone, because it prompted the company to issue a statement clarifying its position with regard to small-screen Windows tablets. In it, Lenovo said that it had not, in fact, abandoned producing 8-inch slates running Windows 8; rather, it had sold out of the smaller-sized Miix and stopped selling the ThinkPad 8 (pictured above).

In other words, the company had stopped selling in the category for now, leaving open the possibility that it would produce 8-inch Windows tablets in the future: "[W]e are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business as was reported by the media." (Emphasis from Lenovo)

The timing of Lenovo's decision to (temporarily) exit the smaller end of the Windows tablet market was not particularly well timed with Microsoft's announcement last week that it was going to bolster that segment by giving away Windows 8 to manufacturers creating smartphones and tablets that sport screens of 9 inches or smaller. Both items do suggest, however, that despite the popularity of the form factor (whether for budget Android tablets or the iPad mini), Microsoft has not been able to capitalize on it as much as it would like. (The long-rumored Surface Mini is still M.I.A., for instance.)

Microsoft is clearly focused on extending Windows market share to the new world of cheaper mobile devices, including low-cost laptops that can compete with Chromebooks. The small-screen tablet realm is another facet of that strategy, so the fact that Lenovo has to clairfy its position in that market would suggest that its partnership with Microsoft in producing 8-inch slates is gearing up for a second act. While the PC maker's decision to leave the space now indicates a notable bump in the road for Windows 8 on smaller screen tablets, it remains to be seen if it's a symptom of a fatal flaw in getting consumers to use the OS on 8-inch devices.  

Topics: Mobility, Lenovo, Tablets, Windows

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9 comments
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  • Not selling in the USA !=

    not selling products.

    They were saying that other markets were seeing good sales of small tablets last week.

    They were only pulling the products in the USA, they weren't abandoning the form factor, or selling it in other markets.
    wright_is
  • I in fact own a ThinkPad 8 HD. :)

    I enjoy using it very much as a highly mobile supplement to the heavy-lifter in our home-office. Such devices represent a very particular user case that is not everyone's cup of tea. However, this little fellah is quite nippy, runs Office without any problems as well as being a pleasant experience when using leisure-apps in touch mode.
    FrederickLeeson
  • Just means MS is losing money on each sale...

    :)
    jessepollard
    • Can you back up that claim?

      The ThinkPad 8 isn't a Microsoft product, it's a Lenovo product.

      Google doesn't lose money off of the sale of Samsung products, does it?
      ForeverCookie
    • ALways triolling the MS articles

      aren't you jessie. Go post on all those linix articles that your boy sjvn writes, oh wait, nobody cares.
      hoppmang
  • It's all about the pen . . . .

    . . . for me, at any rate.

    I still wish MS had persevered with its Courier design of a few years ago, TWO screens when opened, highly portable.

    Until later, I'll use my Galaxy Note 2 smartphone and Galaxy Note 8 'mini'.

    9" scfreen to emulate a A5 size piece of paper would be ideal, for me.
    AN O'Nymous
  • tablets smaller than 10 are nonsense

    Now that most of us have a 5 or 6 inches phone, a tablet has to start from 10 inches.
    aviamquepasa
    • Illogical.

      Near mini tablet-sized smartphones can undermine the value of a mini tablet... when both devices are running the same OS - because the tablet doesn't offer any additional capabilities beyond a slightly larger screen. But a mini Windows (full X86 Windows) tablet has inherently greater capabilities than a smartphone and therefore offers more than just a slightly larger screen.

      My wife and I both have ~5 inch Android phones, and she has the 8 inch Dell Win 8.1 tablet, while I have a 7 inch Android tablet. She uses her Dell tablet every single day, for a multitude of things, while my Android tablet hasn't been used in at least 6 months.

      Android and iOS tablets excel at some things, but overall, a full Windows tablet is just far more capable, even an 8 inch one.
      PC987
  • 8 inch Dell tablet

    I have a Dell 8" tablet. Windows 8.1 .
    I don't like windows 8.1. But that doesn't mean the tablet sux at that size. I only use the desktop and Yes, it can be a little hard to work with because so much is tiny but I can see it ok and I can use it.
    I would prefer to have Windows 7 on it, but even so that wouldn't change the size of the screen.
    Chimera Obscura