Lenovo drops Yoga 11 hybrid with Windows RT from online sales

Analysts say Lenovo is joining a number of companies stepping away from Windows RT

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

Lenovo has discontinued sales of the Yoga 11 convertible with Windows RT on its website, which analysts said was a sign of PC makers moving away from their commitment to the struggling OS.

A page on Lenovo's website stated the Yoga 11 is no longer being sold through its website, but said consumers "may still buy this product from a Lenovo retailer or reseller."

The Yoga 11 is being sold by a few retailers such as TigerDirect, which is selling the device for $495. The device is not being sold by Best Buy, which is instead selling the Yoga 11S, a hybrid released earlier this year with Windows 8 and an Intel Core processor.

The Yoga 11 hybrid was one of the handful of computers running Microsoft's Windows RT, which is designed for tablets. The Yoga 11's dual functionality allowed it to be laptop, and also a tablet when the screen was folded up.

Lenovo did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the company is now selling ThinkPad and IdeaPad laptops running Windows 8 and 7. Prices of other Windows RT tablets have also been dropping. Microsoft this week dropped the starting price of Surface RT to $349 from the original $499, while prices of RT tablets from Dell and Asus have also dropped to under $300.

Microsoft released Windows RT for ARM-based devices and Windows 8 for Intel-based devices in October last year. The price drops are an acknowledgement that Windows RT has failed, according to analysts. Some PC makers like Hewlett-Packard have shied away from RT, adopting Android or Windows 8 for their tablets instead.

Lenovo pulling Yoga 11 from its website shows the company's declining commitment to Windows RT, analysts said.

The Yoga 11 being pulled from the website shows Windows RT is not a priority for Lenovo, said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

"They will serve a need if there is one. But I don't think it is a focus," Milanesi said.

Devices such as the Yoga 11 will be replaced with fully functional Windows 8 tablets, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates in an e-mail.

"I think you'll see most vendors of RT tablets move in the same direction as Lenovo. RT tablets have not been selling well at all," Gold said.

Lenovo is now promoting Yoga 11S with Windows 8, and the trick for such tablets and hybrids will be to meet the price points that RT allowed, Gold said.

"New Intel chips should help get the battery/power down so vendors can achieve parity with iPads and other ARM tablets," Gold said.

Any momentum Windows RT had in the past is gone, and the lack of Windows backward compatibility hurt its position with consumers and potential business users alike, said Tim Bajarin, president at Creative Strategies, in an e-mail.

"We are also seeing less commitment to RT from the OEMs who realize that there is little demand for this OS," Bajarin said. "While RT may live on, it will never realize the success Microsoft, ARM and those that supported it had hoped for."

IDC in April said that Windows RT tablet shipments have been poor, and hardware makers have voiced concerns about the operating system's fate. Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang also said he was disappointed with the poor response to Windows RT, while Acer's president Jim Wong said the company will make a final decision on whether to release an RT tablet after the release of Windows RT 8.1 OS later this year.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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