Feeds

For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets

Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated

Security for virtualized datacentres

Lenovo has pulled some 8-inch Windows tablet models from the US market, citing lack of demand, but a Lenovo spokesman has told The Register that contrary to reports, the Chinese firm has no intention of giving up on smaller Windows fondleslabs in the US.

ITworld was first to claim that the Lenovo ThinkPad 8 and the smaller model of the Miix 2 – both tablets with 8-inch screens – are no longer available for sale in North America.

That report cited an emailed statement from Lenovo spokesman Raymond Gorman, who said the company has been seeing stronger demand for the 10-inch ThinkPad 10 model in North America and had therefore diverted its remaining ThinkPad 8 stock elsewhere.

"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," Gorman was quoted as saying.

Industry analysts were quick to interpret Gorman's statement as an admission of defeat, and multiple headlines proclaimed that Lenovo had written off small Windows tablets for the US market as an unprofitable dead end.

But when El Reg contacted Lenovo for further clarification, Gorman himself responded to say that this was, in a nutshell, all bollocks.

"Our model mix changes as per customer demand, and although we are no longer selling ThinkPad 8 in the USA, and we have sold out of Miix 8-inch, we are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business," Gorman wrote in an email.

"We intend to keep making small screen tablets with Windows for both USA and non-USA markets."

'Replacement' for the 8-inch Miix 2 tablet is on the way

To be sure, small Windows tablets have never been a sure bet. When Windows 8 debuted, it couldn't run on anything with a screen smaller than 10 inches, so the first wave of Windows 8 fondleslabs were all that size or larger.

But the success of the iPad mini, in addition to poor sales figures for 10-inch tablets over the 2012 holiday buying season, caused Redmond to rethink its strategy. In March 2013 it relaxed its hardware requirements for Windows 8 to pave the way for smaller tablet designs.

Even then, however, the software giant seemed wary of the idea. "This doesn't imply that we're encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution," Microsoft's revised guidelines explained. "In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience."

Here at Vulture Annex in San Francisco, we were unimpressed by the Acer Iconia W3, one of the first 8-inch Windows tablets. But our complaints had more to do with the compromises the manufacturer had made when designing the device than with the idea of a small Windows tablet per se, and Acer has since corrected many of these shortcomings in later models.

It seems perfectly plausible that some US customers would prefer a more compact Windows tablet, if done right – and although it has made no formal announcement, even Microsoft itself has long been rumored to be working on a "Surface Mini" model.

As for Lenovo's offerings, Gorman told The Reg that the 8-inch Miix 2 tablet is no longer available in the US, not because it has been withdrawn, but because it sold out ahead of schedule. Gorman said Lenovo's US sales organization is currently awaiting that model's replacement, but he didn't disclose whether the next product will be a direct successor to the Miix 2 or a different design entirely.

"Watch this space for future Lenovo-branded small-screen tablets with Windows being sold in the USA," Gorman told El Reg.

In an emailed statement, Peter Han, Microsoft's VP of worldwide OEM marketing, concurred with Gorman's comments, saying, "We are continuing to see worldwide demand for the small device category and are expecting several of Microsoft’s OEM partners to ship devices in this category for holiday, including exciting new 8 inch designs from Lenovo." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.