Lenovo is looking to indoctrinate a new generation of PC users with its ThinkPad X130e ultraportable. The system is designed explicitly for elementary and high-school students, and it's been ruggedized to endure the abuse they can dish out. In addition to a rubber bumper that lines the top cover, stronger corners and a thicker screen bezel promise to protect the system from violent impacts. The expansion ports have been recessed and reinforced, and the screen's hinge has been beefed up and tested to endure 30,000 cycles.
All that bombproofing comes at a price, of course. The X130e weighs in at nearly four pounds, which seems a little hefty for an 11.6" system designed for children. With pizza classified as a vegetable by American school lunch programs, it's probably a good thing that kids will burn a few extra calories lugging the X130e around.
Under its armored exterior, the X130e can be configured with a range of CPUs that includes Intel's Core i3-2367M and AMD's E-300 and E-450. Apart from its built-in Wi-Fi support and an option to equip the system with an SSD, Lenovo's press release reveals little more about the ThinkPad's underlying hardware. It's probably safe to assume that the screen has a 1366x768 display resolution, though.
Lenovo will be selling these things directly to schools at a starting price of $469. That seems about right given the specifications, but it also puts the X130e in obvious tablet territory. I can see the appeal of both kinds of systems for students, and it'll be interesting to see whether either can develop a strong foothold in classrooms. As someone who spent a fair amount of time huddled around a Commodore 64 in my own elementary school classroom, I can't help but wonder how different things must be for students today. Thanks to Engadget for the tip.