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, 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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  • twotwotwo - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    The (Exynos-based) Samsung Chromebook is the top-selling notebook on Amazon, even more interesting because it costs a little more than the Acer and an ARM notebook is a rare bird right now.
  • jemima puddle-duck - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    Although enthusiasts may sniff at them, I've rarely heard a bad word about them from people that own and use them. The low end of the market is the interesting end at the moment.
  • JeffFlanagan - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    Maybe we shouldn't be giving kinder-gardeners netbooks. They can be issued in 8th grade when the kids are ready for porn.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    Kinder gardeners would be awesome -- how big do they grow them? ;-)
  • Mumrik - Friday, January 18, 2013 - link

    8th grade kindergarten?
  • aryonoco - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    It's not Atom, nor Pentium or Celeron, the processor in this thing is a half respectable Core i3-2367M (17W dual core SB running at 1.4 Ghz with Intel HD 3000).

    I still think $429 is too much for a Chromebook, but then again, the tray price of this core i3 is $250 according to Intel. Obviously the price has come down now but it seems like Intel is getting a good portion of the BoM of this thing.

    Also and perhaps of more importance is that Google has managed to sign up a third (and respectable) OEM for their Chrome OS effort. I think the Chromebooks have a lot to offer the educational market, especially combined with Google Apps for Education which is free. It is a much more sensible and productive solution for kids than more expensive and less productive ipads.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure that's correct for the X131e Chromebook -- the standard X131e is available in both AMD and Intel variants, but the Intel option starts at over $600. I'd be highly surprised if the Chromebook uses a Core i3 and sells for just $429, but if you can find me a source I'd love to see it. The spec sheet Lenovo sent me just says, " Latest-generation Intel processors" for the processor.
  • themossie - Thursday, January 17, 2013 - link

    A $229 premium over the $199 Acer C7 is ridiculous. Take a similar machine, tack on $100 to make it rugged, call it a day. The performance difference between an i3 and a Celeron shouldn't matter for this application...
  • KirkClement - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Couldn't agree more. I have Ruggedized Chromebooks, Celeron 2.16GHz, 4GB , $299., quantity is not an issue can get thousands.
  • KirkClement - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Designed by Intel. contact for PDF with info and specs

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