With Lenovo's entry, Chromebooks are gaining popularity fast

With Lenovo's entry, Chromebooks are gaining popularity fast

Summary: As Windows 8 and RT devices stumble out of the starting gate, Google's Linux-based, Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks are gaining in popularity.

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Lenovo enters the education market with a Chromebook. Can a Lenovo business Chromebook ThinkPad be far behind?

The people have spoken, and they want Google's Linux-based, Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks.. The ARM-powered Samsung Chromebook is still Amazon's top selling laptop, and now Lenovo is getting ready to offer a ThinkPad Chromebook: the ThinkPad X131e for the education market.

The Chromebook ThinkPad X131e will have an as yet unidentified Intel processor. The Windows model that's the Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook is based on uses an Intel Core i3-2367M processor. It also will come with an 11.6-inch, 1366x768 HD LED anti-glare screen, and three USB 3.0 ports. Lenovo also claims that it will weigh less than four pounds1 and have "battery life for the entire school day."

According to Caesar Sengupta, Google's Director of Product Management, "The new Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook will be available for $429 in the United States starting on February 26, 2013. Schools can add management and support from Google for a one-time cost of $30 per device."

So, why is Lenovo offering a Chromebook? In their press release, Lenovo executive director of ThinkPad marketing, Jerry Paradise, said that "this hardened ThinkPad Chromebook [is] a great computer for schools." In addition, thanks to "Google Apps for Education along with thousands of web apps in the Chrome Web Store, students can easily create documents, edit spreadsheets, view multimedia videos, create slide show presentations and view PDF files." Last, but far from least, Lenovo cited IDG which has found that Chromebooks "require 69 percent less labor to deploy and 92 percent less labor to support."

For cash-constrained school boards, the Chromebook ThinkPad sounds very attractive. So, why isn't Lenovo offering it to consumers or businesses as well? Who says they won't?

Anton Wahlman in The Street recently predicted that the Lenovo Chromebook would be nother nail in Microsoft's coffin. Wahlman wrote, "In 2013, Lenovo will break with its Microsoft Windows exclusivity and start offering PCs -- laptops and desktops alike -- based on Google's PC operating system." I've asked Lenovo to comment on Wahlman's predictions, but they have yet to reply.

Users, and not just pro-Linux or anti-Windows ones, are warming up to the Chromebook. To note one recent example, ZDNet's own Matt Baxter-Reynolds, wrote, "I wasn't expecting to like it, but in the end I loved it. The Chromebook could be the perfect post-PC device that has a keyboard." That sounds about right to me. 

I've predicted from early on that the Chromebook could become a Windows PC killer. It looks like vendors and end-users are agreeing with me. Now that Lenovo, the world's number two PC vendor, has a toe in the Chromebook market, I'll be very curious to see how Lenovo's future Chromebook plans and those of other major PC vendors, such as Dell and HP, work out.

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Topics: Laptops, Google, Lenovo, Linux, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows, Education

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102 comments
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  • Waiting for the usual suspects

    declaring how "useless" Chromebooks are.
    D.T.Long
    • Speaking of usual suspects...

      just saying...
      William Farrel
      • Wow

        Well articulated and supported points - if you are a gnat.

        Manufacturers are cancelling RT hardware due to poor sales and producing Chromebooks due to very high demand. Must be a very bitter pill for MS shills to swallow, but you really need to get over it. Stress can be detrimental to your health.
        D.T.Long
        • Haha...high demand

          $429 for a browser and another $30 for management and that is $460 for a dump device. I am expecting no demand.

          There are google gimmiks to attract attention. Nobody is paying for their web 'apps'. Most firms moving to the cloud are using Office 365.

          There is zero value in Cromebook and its 'ecosystem'
          Owlll1net
          • The Owlll1net mindset:

            My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with facts.
            D.T.Long
          • D.T.Long's mindset:

            "I am open for anything and everything, provided it should be labeled with Google. Don't confuse me with issues that are existing with Google products, because I have limited mindset and it is closed."

            Sorry, couldn't resist after reading continuous rampage of your insults to whoever opposes your view.
            Ram U
          • Your sorry, why?

            But you choose to comment with what DT Long wrote, why?

            You called it rampage, why?
            RickLively
          • Wow

            Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
            .......http://goo.gl/nP8Mr

            Happy New Year!
            StephenPhillip
          • Re; Haha Owlnet

            The schools believe there is value with this product.

            “Nobody is paying for their web 'apps'”
            “Most firms moving to the cloud are using Office 365.”
            Source(s)?

            It’s all about the education of the children…..
            daikon
          • No more vendor lock-in

            The thing is that Chrome OS makes the platform irrelevant, as the platform is the web, it's open. Thus, you can use Office 365 if you wish in your Chromebook.
            This is good for everybody, as it makes vendor lock-in much harder for companies like Microsoft or anyone else to accomplish and they must compete in quality and pricing, and not leveraging old monopolies and relying on legacy.
            nachomartr
          • Office 365 Works Best With IE

            Things like SharePoint are at least partially crippled if you aren't using IE (7 through 10), so a Chromebook wouldn't be the greatest.

            For $350 you can buy a 4 lb Windows machine with an i3 that works great, even without internet connectivity (assuming also that you have some applications that work disconnected). These are truly powerful machines for very little money with a very refined OS.
            Schoolboy Bob
          • Sharepoint lock-in technologies

            As you said, SharePoint work best with IE was Microsoft attempt to force enterprise to use exclusively IE. This said, please could you tell me where I can buy a usable Windows PC for $350. You have to pay Microsoft licenses for Windows, offices in premise and office 365. Chromebook costs much less for school and it is much better for students collaboration than office 365. Not to mention maintenance and upgrade cost.
            oldman60
          • Not hard to find...

            http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312453

            How do YOU define "decent"? The specs on the mentioned Windows 8 laptop match up to most Chromebooks, and have optical drives also (reports of the death of optical media have been greatly exaggerated, IMO).
            onlyunwantedjunk@...
          • Sorry...

            The above should have been a response to Oldman60's comment.
            onlyunwantedjunk@...
          • Ignorance is bliss

            @Owlll1net : If ignorance is bliss, you must be blissed out over Chromebooks — a word you can't even spell correctly.
            S_Deemer
        • Really? I didn't know that.

          Here I was reading they're canceling RT sales and expanding to Windows Pro sales due to high demand.

          Chromebooks are a side project not expected to pay the bills.
          William Farrel
          • Expanding the sales ...

            due to high demand of something not on the market yet?

            How is that crack you are smoking?

            Priceless. Ah, the complicated life of a MS shill.
            D.T.Long
          • Well, how about some numbers

            If I heard the numbers correctly, MS is disappointed with about a million tablets sold in the past few months.

            How many Chromebooks have been sold, ever?

            Me thinks one should examine the numbers.
            Cynical99
          • How about amazon analytics?

            Check the best selling laptop on Amazon.com. Samsung Chromebook. Most vendors can't keep them in stock. MS fanboys will just have to get over it. These puppies are a success.
            BobK Linux Noob
          • But then again, I remeber these stories

            http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/opinion/1561773/windows-boosting-pc-sales

            And ye,t where is Windows 7 installs at now?
            William Farrel