CHINESE PC MAKER Lenovo has announced a Chromebook for schools under the legendary Thinkpad brand.
Lenovo joins Acer and Samsung in the Chromebook market with the Thinkpad X131e, which unlike its rivals is aimed directly at schools. The firm has also shunned ARM chips in the Thinkpad X131e, opting for Intel processors though it didn't disclose part numbers.
Lenovo's Thinkpad X131e, a model number it already uses for its low-end Thinkpad X series models, received some additional chassis protection to make it more suitable for the rigours of school life including strengthening of corners and hinges for the 11.6in 1366x768 display. The firm touts an "entire school's day" of battery life and a weight of less than 1.8kg.
Jerry Paradise, executive director of product marketing of Lenovo's Thinkpad Product Group said, "The Thinkpad X131e has proven to be very successful in education environments. 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."
Although Acer and Samsung have enjoyed muted sales success with their respective Chromebooks, Lenovo's and in particular the Thinkpad's reputation for durability could make it a hit with schools. However the firm's literature hints at a worrying use of these machines as Lenovo touts the ability to use Google Docs as a big selling point, which is no different than teaching students how to click on buttons in Microsoft's Office suite.
Lenovo is set to release the Thinkpad X131e on 26 February for $429, which is $200 less than Thinkpad X131e models running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. µ