Lenovo today announced their ThinkPad X131e model notebook designed for schools will now also be offered in a Chromebook flavor for those who are looking to use the Google Chrome OS instead of Microsoft Windows. The ThinkPad X131e Chromebook has ruggedized features such as a rubber bumper around the top cover and reinforced corners to protect the system in the event of accidental drops. The ThinkPad X131e’s appeal to schools is of course lower failure rates and repairs needed, and with a more simplified Chrome OS the cost should be a bit lower and easier to manage for IT administrators in schools.
Aside from the different OS, the ThinkPad X131e Chromebook features will be very similar to original X131e. It will have an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 matte screen, HDMI and VGA ports, 6-cell battery, integrated web cam with low light sensitivity, and two USB ports. No word on what storage will be used, but it’s certain that the 500GB HD used in the Windows ThinkPad X131e will not be present in the Chromebook version, in general manufacturers use 16GB flash storage that’s enough to fit the Chrome OS and then a few locally stored files. Since the Chrome OS is for the most part just a Google Chrome browser, the emphasis is on storing and using everything in the cloud and keeping very little stored on the local machine. As is the case with all Chromebooks, the processor will be Intel based, which is different to the AMD processor on board the regular X131e.
The ThinkPad X131e Chromebook will not be available to the general public via Lenovo.com like most ThinkPads are, rather it will be restricted to educational buyers purchasing large lots for use in schools. However, Lenovo has indicated that a few X131e Chromebooks will be available via “special bid” on February 26th. It’s not exactly clear what that means exactly, but the bottom line is it won’t be easy to get unless you’re in a school that purchases these or are the IT admin at a K – 12 school yourself!