Lenovo announces ThinkPad Chromebook for schools

Lenovo announces ThinkPad Chromebook for schools

Summary: Lenovo will offer a Chromebook version of its ThinkPad X131e for the education sector. The Chromebook will be sold only to schools for grades K-12.

TOPICS: Lenovo, Google, Laptops
Lenovo ThinkPad chromebook

The folks at Lenovo are going into the Chromebook space with the announcement of a version of its ThinkPad X131e for the education market. The ruggedized Chromebook is designed to handle the rigors of students attending grade school and will only be available for the education market.

The ThinkPad X131e is already sold for the education market running Windows, so this new Chromebook model is a validation by Lenovo that the Chromebook running Google's Chrome OS is a good fit for the company's ThinkPad brand.

Lenovo will offer the Chromebook in a customizable manner allowing schools to configure the laptops to suit, but the company has not detailed what those customizations will be.

The 11.6-inch ThinkPad Chromebook will have an Intel processor, anti-glare screen (1366x768), three USB ports, web cam, and weighs 3.92 pounds. Lenovo is also claiming the 6-cell battery will get students through an entire school day.

“Chromebooks are in use today by more than one-thousand K-12 schools, and they make an ideal on-toone 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.”

The ThinkPad X131e will be available starting February 26 under special bid for school systems.

Google offers Chromebooks to schools under subscription that includes hardware and support for a low fixed fee.

Topics: Lenovo, Google, Laptops

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  • Not good for kids

    First of all Chromebooks are pretty much useless devices and now pushing them to kids will affect the kids' competancy and their future. Imagine a kid who is only good at using a browser?
    • Yeah...

      I mean what good would it do to teach a child to be resourceful?
      Michael Kelly
      • Resourceful?

        If you want to teach them to be resourceful, give them something that is more than a consumption device.
        Michael Alan Goff
        • Affordable netbooks are under 170$

          So will anyone tell me why would these schools already struggling financially buy overpriced ChromeBooks that offer less bang for the buck than the netbooks?
          • The basics

            No Windows licensing.
            No AD deployment.
            Ability to not have to worry about re-imaging.
            Factor Defaults in 5 minutes or less.
            Ability to set up a locked black/white list for content filtering, alongside a full content filter. An OS designed to run on an Atom processor and not struggle.
            Movement towards HTML5 Personalized Learning Education Software for students.
            Active care and involvement by Google with the Google Domain joining of Chrome Devices.
          • No windows licensing and yet costs more than windows netbooks

            It's hard to find any better definition of rip-off than this, is it?

            Let's see what other spin: "No AD deployment. Ability to not have to worry about re-imaging. "

            How many PC users ever do above? Let me guess: 0.001%.

            "Ability to set up a locked black/white list for content filtering, alongside a full content filter."
            A piece of cake that can be enabled by every netbook maker.

            "An OS designed to run on an Atom processor and not struggle.
            Which is Win7.

            "Movement towards HTML5 Personalized Learning Education"
            Which is flopping all over the place. Check latest Facebook abandoning HTML5 for native on - guess what - mobile devices.

            "Active care and involvement by Google"
            You mean 24/7 spying?
    • Not Useless

      Kids only use a browser, where have you been? Try and get your hands on a new Samsung Chromebook. You can't, they are sold out everywhere. And when you can they are priced at a premium. A Chromebook is far from useless. Think about how much time most people spend in a browser. Applications are designed for a browser now instead of the traditional desktop. All major educational software is web based.

      Chromebooks are growing and becoming popular, so get used to seeing them around.
      • It is not just black and white...

        ... the answer falls in the middle. If all you needed was a browser, then why would MS continually get bashed for a smaller number of apps. Sure, the browser is great, but the fact that apps are needed points out the browser has limitations. Clearly, both are needed.

        The article is about K-12 kids, and most likely a light-weight solution is all that is required. MS obviously realized this and hence Windows 8. Google and MS will fight for this turf (remember the OLPC?). I don't know the outcome, but it will be fun to watch.
        • ChromeBook is an overpriced scam

          ChromeBook is sold at what, 350$? So you spend 350$ to buy a browser. Are you kidding me?

          These schools can buy the cheapest netbook available on the market and then install a browser on it then "BANG" they have a laptop with far more capable than a Chromebook and yet at 40% discount price easily.

          A lot of these schools are simply fooled by Google thinking ChromeBook is the most affordable option while there are far better choices in the market.
          • Except...

            They are actually priced starting at $199 and the Samsung model which is hard to fine is $249.
          • Except it's still more expensive than netbooks

            A Dell Passion netbook is available at 150$. A HP mini is at 140$. So sorry ChromeBook is still a rip-off for the schools already hit by budget problems.
          • You are talking out of the wrong end of your anatomy man!


            The Dell Passion netbook has a 10.1" screen with 1024x764 resolution, a cramped keyboard, 1GB RAM, a painfully slow Atom processor, and a 160GB mechanical hard drive. It costs $228 at Walmart. Its CPU really is painfully slow with a Passmark score of 319, and its GPU is also painfully slow.


            The $199 Acer C7 Chromebook has a 11.6" screen with 1366x764 resolution, a superb full sized keyboard and oversized trackpad which supports gestures, 2GB RAM, a decent 1.1 GHz Celeron processor, and a 320GB mechanical hard drive, and its Passmark benchmark is 1044, and it has an Intel HD2000 GPU which is capable of handling two simultaneous streams of 1080p HD video decoding.


            This means that the Acer C7 is about 3 times as fast as the netbook you are talking about, has twice the RAM, and twice the hard drive capacity. The Samsung series 3 Chromebook has a CPU which is about 20% slower than the Acer C7 Chromebook, but has a SSD which is about twice as fast as the Acer, so overall it is probably slightly faster than the Acer in terms of real life usage.

            So you are talking complete crap and you do really need to shove a butt plug in it.

            Netbooks and some budget Windows laptops are being discontinued and cleared off the shelf in order to prevent them from undercutting Windows 8 Pro tablets in the $500-$750 range, which are in effect slow netbooks with slow Atom processors (albeit with a touchscreen and a long life battery), so it is possible you can get a stock clearance bargain at $150, but I wouldn't recommend it for schools (or for that matter consumers).
          • You are forgetting the most expensive part of the equation

            Chrombooks are extreamemly cheap to maintain compared to full blown windows laptops. Since all a kids data would be stored remotely if their chromebook dies you setup their google account on another one and they continue where they left off try doing that on a netbook.
          • So you are saying netbook cannot access online storage?

            If you don't mind may I tell you the truth that netbooks can do it just as well and lots more. So why would the schools pay more to buy ChromeBooks that does less than NBs?
          • Not at all. Its a low priced supplement.

            You obviously don't know that Google offers these chromebooks at a large discount to the schools, not retail price. In contrast, companies that make these netbooks you speak of do not offer these discounts.

            Also, as a person who has actually had first hand experience with the technology within our schools, I can tell you that Windows is one of the biggest pains to deal with. Windows has various different settings and configurations that the students frequently play with and thus create a hard time for the next person that comes along to use it. These systems are then assumed to be not working and remain unused until a knowledgeable person comes along and resolves the problem. Going further, Windows is more prone to infections especially with .exe files. It IS NOT uncommon for a student to plug in their jump drive in to a school computer and then plague it with malware that they did not know was on their drive. Chrome OS would remain unaffected on the other hand, by the malware Windows is prone to. This is because in general most malware is dependent of the .exe file type to even get on to a system. Chrome OS DOES NOT support .exe.

            As someone had stated before, you can factory reset a chromebook and have it up and running in minutes. Also, a factory reset is simple and quite straight forward on the chromebook. In comparison, on Windows it is quite consuming to do and isn't straight forward.

            Finally, Chromebooks get straight to the point as most of them are powered by SSDs. I've booted up both Macs and Windows that have been used in by students in schools and they take minutes to power on. Yes, Chrome OS is, in laymen terms, a browser. But that browser does everything a student needs to do in school. Google Docs provides the ability to create Word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. All of which are compatible with Microsoft Office as it uses the same file types so a student could start their work at home and continue in school or vice versa. For research, students have the power of Google Chrome in their hands, known to be one of the most used browsers and fastest.

            If you argue that a avid user who might depend on certain Windows/OSX shouldn't buy a chromebook, then fine. But for a student, what more could you need?
          • Online Storage Is NOT All That Great

            Absent a fat pipe to the internet, a Chromebook, regardless of any other attributes, is little more than a paperweight. To be useful, not only will schools have to have lots of bandwidth, the only way the child (children in many cases) can use the machine at home is if there is some sort of broadband internet connection at home.

            As hard as it might be for most folks who read these newsletters to remember, broadband internet is not something that can be assumed. This is most true for households that have the most at-risk students. If you are going to give students any sort of technology and make it a key part of their education, then you must ensure it is fully usable and functional at home.

            Are there solutions to address this? Sure, but none of them are cheap. Before you attempt to sell the Chromebook as THE low cost solution, you have to consider the entire end-to-end cost of providing it.
    • Better to get them hooked ......

      on overpriced MS software so MS can continue in its abusive, dominant desktop monopoly. :-(

      All the information/knowledge kids need is available through the browser, with the possible exception on certain IT skills, which only a minority will acquire in any event. For them, the raspberry Pi the the perfect learning tool, and my guess is that most progressive schools will have courses/labs with such hw available. The Pi is cheap enough for kids to have one at home in any event.

      This is all great for learning, inexpensive to buy and VERY easy to administer. MS simply cannot compete.

      Adapt or die.
      • As opposed to getting them hooked

        on overpriced Google hardware so Google can continue in its abusive, dominant monopoly. :-(

        Or haven't you've been reading the news the past 2 years. Google's the one being looked at for abusive/borderline illegal behavor, not MS.

        Or shouldn't I have mentioned that?
        William Farrel
        • Google not in trouble any longer in U.S.

          I can't agree with you that Google hardware is over priced. It's has done it's best in encourage low cost solutions. Google isn't charging for it's chromium OS and I know this because I have downloaded it for free since its open source. You can say you can't do as much on it but you can do everything you would need to do on a cheap laptop. I'm not going to do photo editing or play games on my laptop. That's why I have a desktop pc. Using the plug ins that are in the chrome store you would be surprised at everything that can be done in the browser and again what you can't do in the browser is not things you should be doing on a cheap slow laptop. As for Google being in trouble they have been found not to be in violation and the reason is simple. Google doesn't force anyone to use it. You have to type in www.goolge.com to use their service. IE comes preset to bing. If you think Googles results are biased then don't use them. Thing is Google owns about 70% of the search market in the U.S. I think consumers have chosen. MS got in trouble for preloading IE as your default and making it hard to remove it stating it was built into the OS which was wasn't remotely true. Back then MS wanted IE to kill netscape and other browsers of the time. MS more or less made you use IE where Google has no way of making you use them. PS.. I have Windows 8 on my desktop / game pc and love it but truth be told most people who buy a cheap laptop don't need to do much more than what a teblet does with the exception of writing and spreadsheets which Google gives for free with Google drive.
    • Owlnet, That’s your argument

      “will affect the kids' competency”

      Kudos Lenovo