Intel-based Windows 8 tablets see spotty availability

Intel-based Windows 8 tablets and hybrids from the world's two largest PC vendors, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard, have been experiencing delays.

The HP Envy x2 tablet attaches to the HP keyboard base magnetically, turning the x2 into a laptop.
The HP Envy x2 tablet attaches to the HP keyboard base magnetically, turning the x2 into a laptop. Hewlett-Packard

A tablet from Hewlett-Packard running the full version of Windows 8 is expected to finally ship to customers, though a full Win 8 tablet doesn't appear to be imminent from Lenovo.

HP's Envy x2 laptop-tablet hybrid "convertible" was originally slated for November 14 availability but is now expected to reach customers soon, HP said.

"Customers can expect to receive an Envy January, if they order today. Customers who ordered their units on Dec. 3 or prior are expected to receive their PC by Dec. 21 at the latest," an HP representative told CNET via e-mail.

"HP expects additional units to ship in January," the representative added.

The Envy x2 uses a new power-efficient dual-core "Clover Trail" Z2760 system-on-a-chip from Intel that can run the full 32-bit Windows 8. This sets it apart from Windows RT devices, such as Microsoft's Surface RT tablet, that run a limited version of Windows 8 and are not compatible with older Windows 7 software.

Overall availability of Intel-based Windows 8 tablets and hybrids is spotty. While products based on the Intel Z2760 from Samsung (ATIV Smart PC 500T) and Acer (W510) are already available, others from Lenovo, Dell, and HP aren't.

HP, for instance, is also prepping an ElitePad tablet using the Intel Z2760 and the full 32-bit Windows 8, but that won't be available until late January.

And Lenovo's ThinkPad Tablet 2 -- also based on the Intel Z2760 -- has been delayed since October.

A Lenovo representative told CNET in November that the ThinkPad Tablet 2 would ship to consumers during the first week of December. But that doesn't appear to be happening. For instance, the Microsoft Store's ThinkPad Tablet 2 page gives no indication of availability.

And calls to Microsoft Store representatives today yielded two responses. One rep said the unit wouldn't ship until January 31 and another said there is no shipment date at all.

As of this afternoon PT, Lenovo had not responded to a request to clarify the shipment date for the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Dell's Latitude 10, also built around the Intel Z2760, lists an "estimated ship date" of January 21.

Updated on December 20 at 1:30 p.m. PST: adds correction about Thinkpad tablet name. It's ThinkPad Tablet 2 not Thinkpad 2 Tablet.

It's not clear when the ThinkPad Tablet 2 will ship to consumers.
It's not clear when the ThinkPad Tablet 2 will ship to consumers. Lenovo
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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