Google's web-centric Chrome operating system debuted on July 7, 2009, with the first Intel-based Chromebooks shipping on June 15, 2011.
Since then, the Chrome concept has only increased in popularity, with Samsung launching a versatile ARM-powered Chromebook which quickly became a best-selling product on Amazon at a $250 price point.
Additional Chrome devices include the Series 5 550 Chromebook (Wi-Fi), the XE300Mww_A01US Chromebox, the slightly redesigned XE300M22-B01US and the recently introduced XE300M22-A01US Chromebox powered by an Intel Core i5-2450M processor.
And now Lenovo has confirmed that it is adopting Mountain View's Chrome OS for its rugged ThinkPad X131e, a laptop specifically targeted at students, at least initially. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Lenovo offered the operating system for additional ThinkPad Chromebooks aimed at a wider demographic over the next few months.
For now, though, the X131e is expected to simplify software and security management for school administrators, while providing students and teachers with quick access to thousands of apps, education resources and storage.
"Using Google Apps for Education along with thousands of web apps in the Chrome Web Store, students can easily create documents, edit spreadsheets, view multimedia videos, create slide show presentations and view PDF files," a Lenovo rep explained.
"Students can use the low-light webcam to communicate with students in other schools across the world or just across town. They can also easily connect via WiFi and Chrome's fast start up gets students online instantly. With HDMI and VGA ports, students can present their reports to the class with a projector or big screen TV."
Lenovo's rugged Chromebook is powered by an Intel processor (unspecified as of now) and features an 11.6-inch 1366x768 HD LED anti-glare screen, along with three USB ports. The device weighs four pounds and is said to offer enough battery life for an entire school day.
The ThinkPad X131e will be available on February 26. Pricing has yet to be disclosed, although Lenovo says the units can be disclosed via "special bid," which likely means a final price tag is contingent upon schools ordering the laptops in bulk.