US largest PC maker, Lenovo, will no longer sell small Windows tablets in the US due to a lack of interest from consumers. The top PC maker currently manufactures two 8-inch Windows 8 tablets: the ThinkPad 8 and Miix 2, which have both been available for a number of months. “In North America, we’re seeing stronger interest in the larger screen sizes for Windows tablets and are pleased with initial customer demand for the ThinkPad 10,” says Lenovo spokesman Raymond Gorman in a statement to PC World. While the ThinkPad 8 has been popular in Brazil, China, and Japan, the lack of demand in the US means it’s no longer on sale.
According to The Verge, Lenovo’s plans mirror similar moves by Samsung to cancel Windows RT tablets in the US due to weak demand. Samsung was one of the first to pull back from Windows RT, and other PC makers have since followed, leaving just Microsoft producing RT tablets with the Surface 2 and Lumia 2520. Microsoft will be hoping Lenovo doesn’t kickstart a trend amongst PC makers to move away from small Windows tablets, especially as it only recently made Windows free for devices under 9 inches. Microsoft reportedly canceled its own plans for a small “Surface Mini” Windows tablet after CEO Satya Nadella and Executive VP Stephen Elop backed away from the project. Nadella and Elop reportedly decided that the product wasn’t different enough from the competition and probably wouldn’t be a hit.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad 8 was one of the more impressive 8-inch Windows tablets on the market, but without full touch versions of Office and more “Metro-style” apps these miniature Windows tablets still fill a puzzling gap in the market. Nevertheless, Toshiba is planning to launch the first 7-inch Windows tablet later this year, alongside $99 small Windows tablets from HP. As Microsoft works to combine Windows Phone and Windows RT into a single operating system without a desktop mode, and bring a touch versions of Office to market, smaller Windows tablets could start to make a lot more sense soon