Lenovo to offer Chromebook ThinkPad—for schools

Interesting. You'd think the whole Chromebook concept would run counter to the ThinkPad brand—one involving stripped-down laptops running basic software, the other being all about feature-packed productivity hardware. However, ZDNet reports that Lenovo plans to offer a Chromebook version of its ThinkPad X131e notebook.

Much like the current, Intel-powered variant of the ThinkPad X131e, the Chromebook model will have an Intel processor, a 11.6" 1366x768 panel, a webcam, three USB ports, a six-cell battery, and a weight of around 3.9 lbs.

There's no mention of what storage configuration will be offered, or of whether the Chromebook offering will have the same $619 starting price as its Windows-packing cousin. That price would be relatively hefty, considering Acer offers a basic Intel-powered Chromebook for just $199. Then again, the ThinkPad is ruggedized with rubber bumpers and a hard-drive protection mechanism, so it may survive manhandling by careless schoolkids a little better.

You may not find the X131e Chromebook in stores, though. ZDNet says Lenovo plans to offer the machine on February 26 "under special bid for school systems." The existing X131e is offered to schools, too—Lenovo mentions "custom colors, asset tags and bios modifications" for education customers—but it's available from Lenovo's website alongside a cheaper, AMD-powered model.

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