That was fast! A rumor surfaced earlier this week suggesting Lenovo was planning to launch a Chromebook, jumping into territory that's so far been occupied only by Acer and Samsung. The rumor was true, at least as it pertains to Lenovo introducing a Chromebook model of its own, which it did today in the form of a rugged ThinkPad X131e.
What didn't turn out to be true is that Lenovo's first Chromebook would take aim at enterprise clients and start as low as $299. Instead, the ThinkPad X131e starts at $429 via special volume bid pricing and is built for school and college students.
Lenovo designed the ThinkPad X131e with a rubber bumper around the top cover and stronger corners to protect the system in case of accidental drops. Even the hinges and hinge brackets have been strengthened and are rated at more than 50,000 open and close cycles.
"The ThinkPad X131e has proven to be very successful in education environments," said Jerry Paradise, executive director of product marketing, ThinkPad Product Group. "With the rugged features we added to the X131e, we’ve seen reduced failure rates in the field. This is a huge benefit to schools and students. We’re pleased to be able to offer this hardened ThinkPad Chromebook as a great computer for schools."
Lenovo didn't go into a whole lot of detail about the specs, revealing only that it's running an Intel processor and has an 11.6-inch display with a 1366x768 resolution, low-light webcam, Wi-Fi connectivity, and USB, HDMI, and VGA ports.
The ThinkPad X131e will be available starting February 26, 2013.