Google's Chromebook initiative hasn't really caught fire as well as their other OS of choice, Android, but with the latest updates and reduced pricing there's still life in the initiative. Acer's C7 for instance is apparently the fastest selling "laptop" on Amazon.com, no doubt helped by the $199 price point. Today Lenovo is joining the Chromebook offerings with their ThinkPad X131e, which takes a different approach.

Unlike the other Chromebooks to date, Lenovo is specifically touting the ruggedness of the X131e as a major selling point, highlighting the benefits such a laptop can offer to educational K-12 institutions. The X131e Chromebook is "built to last with rubber bumpers around the top cover and stronger corners to protect the Chromebook against wear and tear." The hinges are also rated to last more than 50K open/close cycles.

Other specifications include an 11.6" 1366x768 anti-glare LCD, low-light webcam, HDMI and VGA ports, and three USB ports (2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0). Battery life is stated as 6.5 hours, which should be sufficient for the entire school day. The X131e weighs just under four pounds (3.92 lbs./1,78kg) with the 6-cell battery and measures 1.27" (32.2mm) thick. Storage consists of a 16GB SSD, and the X131e comes with 4GB of DDR3-1600. Lenovo does not state the specific processor being used, merely listing it as "latest generation Intel", which presumably means an Atom CPU though Celeron or Pentium are certainly possible. Customization options including colors, asset tagging, and school logo etching are also available.

Besides the rugged build quality, Lenovo cites other advantages of Chrome OS for the K-12 environment. There's built-in protection since all apps are curated through the Google Play store, and Lenovo's Chromebook allows IT teams to manage security and scalability through a management console, where they con configure, assign, and manage devices from a single interface.

The ThinkPad X131e Chromebook will be available starting February 26th via special bid volume pricing starting at $429. That's certainly higher than other options, but for a laptop that can actually withstand the rigors of the K-12 environment that's not too bad.

Source: Lenovo Press Release

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  • GNUminex - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    I bet they over produced or over purchased on some part and want a way to sell these laptops in bulk without having them compete with newer models. Reply
  • vision33r - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    Yet, no much interest from kids because iPads are all the rage still. I cannot get my kids to use a PC or notebook because the iPad is so much easier to use for them.

    I doubt Chromebook would offer the ease of use and app selection that Apple offers with the iPad for kids.

    That's why PC makers will continue to suffer in sales while they keep pushing out these low end hardware to cannibalize their own sales of higher model notebooks.
    Reply
  • cjb110 - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    Wait till they get asked to do their first essays! Then see how long the iPad lasts.

    iPads are great timewasters, and they do have some very innovative edutainment apps, but a Chromebook *could* work as a kids main machine for most of school life.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    Then it has to be an atom because the latest generation ivb celerons arent in anything yet. Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    $500 for a netbook, what are they thinking?! Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    I work in a school, and the most damaged thing on the netbooks we have is the keyboard - deliberate vandalism - picking keys off, then destruction of the rubber domes.
    Far more important that the keyboard be hardy than anything else.
    Reply

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