Anyone interested in having Google's Chrome operating system run their computer has had to deal with limited options. Samsung and Acer both supply Chromebook notebooks, but outside of those, two shoppers are out of luck. Hoping to budge into a market lacking in choices, Lenovo announced on Thursday it'll be releasing the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook computer.
I say "budge" because the new ThinkPad won't be available to regular customers. Lenovo is specifically targeting educational institutions, saying its new computer simplifies software and security management for schools by giving them quick access to apps, cloud storage, and educational resources right out of the box. The company is also "school-proofing" the computers by including rubber bumpers to fight against wear-and-tear as well as the occasional drop in the hallway.
"The ThinkPad X131e has proven to be very successful in education environments," said Jerry Paradise, executive director of product marketing, ThinkPad Product Group, in a press release. "With the rugged features we added to the X131e, we've seen reduced failure rates in the field. This is a huge benefit to schools and students. We're pleased to be able to offer this hardened ThinkPad Chromebook as a great computer for schools."
The computer sports an 11.6-inch body, an Intel processor, a 1366 x 768p HD anti-glare screen as well as three USB ports. Additionally, Lenovo claims the computer will last the entire day on one charge.
Since Chromebooks run on an OS that's specialized for web use and cloud storage, users are able to access all their files, apps, music, games, documents and more anytime and anywhere. Chromebooks also have built-in security features that go around the need for anti-virus software, making them a little less of a hassle for schools to maintain. Unlike laptops, however, these kinds of computers can't run traditional software like Microsoft Office - everything must be done via web-based software and cloud-based storage.
"Chromebooks are in use today by more than one-thousand K-12 schools, and they make an ideal on-to-one device because they're more cost effective, easier to manage and maintain than traditional laptops or tablets," said Caesar Sengupta, director of product management, Chrome OS, Google. "Lenovo has a great reputation in schools for making durable and reliable laptops, so we're excited to partner with them to introduce the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook."
No price was mentioned, but volume bidding by schools can begin on Feb. 26.