When you think of the ThinkPad line, your mind instantly jumps to Windows, the two of them have been representing Corporate America on the road for a decade or so now. However, today might be the first step Lenovo makes to shift away from their reliance on Windows. Lenovo bought the ThinkPad brand from IBM some years ago and they've been continuing the solid build quality that the line of laptops were always known for. Wherever a ThinkPad went, so did Windows. Now though, this might start to change.
Lenovo are making a Chromebook available in their ThinkPad range. This is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly; it's another manufacturer partnering with Google on Chrome OS and the more partners the better for the OS that has been questioned since it's inception. Secondly; this is a ThinkPad running Chrome OS, and not a new line from Lenovo, it's a change of the guard for the venerable ThinkPad line and Microsoft should take note.
Sadly, the laptop will not be available for you and I just yet, the ThinkPad X131e - of which there is a Windows-running version as well - will be made available for the Education Sector starting February 26th, through a special bid program for schools. Education is a sector that Google has always had its eye on when it comes to Chrome OS, and the CR-48 that was given out by Google for testing was sent out to a large number of students in the U.S. There are still a lot of people that question Chrome OS as a viable platform and perhaps with a little oomph from Lenovo it might get a boost in the minds of many.
Specs wise, the Lenovo X131e is going to continue the trend of smaller Chromebooks, at 11.6" - with a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 - in size it measures the same as the Acer C7 and the new $249 Samsung Chromebook. There are no specifics on what processor will be shipping with the new Chromebook, but it's confirmed to be an Intel chip so, perhaps a Celeron chip. Battery life is taken care of a 6-cell battery and should last students the entire day. Education is a sector that Chromebooks could do well, after all there is no OS underneath to really learn and we all know that the web is the future - whether it be mobile or otherwise. Google have long pushed Google Docs in schools, and there are a number of success stories out there surrounding Chrome's ease of use and speediness.
As somebody who lives in Google's universe and the owner of two Chromebooks I think Lenovo joining the pack is going to help and hopefully they will be able to make more of a push for Chrome OS in schools.
Would you want a rugged Lenovo ThinkPad running Chrome OS? I know I do.