Lenovo announced today that it will be introducing a special version of its ThinkPad X131e, an education-focused notebook, running Google’s Chrome OS, ZDNet’s James Kendrick reports. The Chromebook will be sold exclusively to the education market, and the K-12 segment in particular, beginning February 26 via special bid for volume subscription ordering through schools.
The Chromebook is a version of the existing X131e, which runs Windows and which Lenovo already sells to the education market, but running Google’s lightweight OS. It’ll manage an entire school day’s worth of work on its 6-cell battery, the company claims, with a 1366×768 resolution screen, Intel processor and 4-pound body weight. The company also said that it will be making the new Chromebooks available with customization options designed to help schools configure them to suit their specific needs, Kendrick reports.
Unlike other Chromebooks already on the market, the ThinkPad X131e has a degree of ruggedization that should help it better withstand the rigors of being lugged around and used by younger children. Google has promoted the Chromebook as particularly well suited to classroom adoption, and even ran a program discounting the Series 5 from Samsung to $99 during the 2012 holiday season to try to encourage its adoption.
This is a definite win for Google, which gets to capitalize on Lenovo’s brand to help it further the Chromebook cause, specifically in education where it clearly wants more mindshare. And for Lenovo, it’s another way to attach a market it wants to get into in a bad way. Back in August, Lenovo North America VP and General Manager spoke to Bloomberg about how the company wants to take over Dell’s strong position in the education market, and he said at the time that his company can do so with agressive pricing and “the right products.” A Chromebook is another attack vector for challenging Dell, one that could potentially allow for considerable pricing advantages, since Chrome OS doesn’t carry the hefty licensing fees of Microsoft’s Windows.