Update 7/18/14 - Lenovo has issued a statement regarding the original comments and have since clarified their position, which can be found below:
"We will continue to bring new Windows devices to market across different screen sizes, including a new 8-inch tablet and 10-inch tablet coming this holiday. Our model mix changes as per customer demand, and although we are no longer selling ThinkPad 8 in the U.S., and we have sold out of Miix 8-inch, we are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business as was reported by the media. In short, we will continue to sell both 8 and 10 inch Windows tablets in both the U.S. and non-U.S markets." – Ray Gorman, Executive Director, External Communications, Lenovo
Microsoft and Lenovo evidently cannot catch a break as the PC manufacturer is reportedly halting sales of its small-screen Windows tablets. ITWorld has confirmed that Lenovo is pulling their 8-inch tablet line, including the high-end ThinkPad 8 and Miix2 here in the States, redirecting the stock to other countries.
According to a Lenovo spokesperson "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…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."
The ThinkPad 8 was released earlier this year after being announced by Lenovo during CES. The 8-inch tablet packs an impressive amount of specifications, including a Full HD (1200 x 1920) display, a fast 2.4 GHz Intel Atom Z3770 processor, 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, micro SD expansion and a micro USB 3.0 port. Perhaps the most innovative aspect though was a quick shot cover, which magnetically attaches to the tablet and auto-launches the 8 MP rear camera when folded down.
We had an early look at the tablet back in January and were immediately smitten with the device. However, since its release, the tablet has had numerous bugs and complaints from users, including supply issues making the tablet difficult to acquire. Combined with the initial $449 price tag the ThinkPad 8 just never caught on. Indeed I bought one in March from Microsoft but had to return-exchange it due to the audio amplifier overheating and burning out. Since that time though, and after numerous system updates, the ThinkPad 8 has become my go-to mini tablet due to its quality design and power.
Despite Lenovo not marketing the tablet any longer, customers can still order the ThinkPad 8 and Miix2 directly through Microsoft, who is selling them on their online store for $399 and $299, respectively. It is unknown, however, if Microsoft is continuing to stock the device or if they are pulling it too. You can see out unboxing and impressions of the Miix2 from our earlier coverage.