Lenovo Doubles Down with Consumer-Focused Chromebooks
As we noted during the last days of 2013, holiday sales numbers for Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform--were very strong. Despite recent columns such as "Why there's no good reason to buy a Chromebook," the low cost computers are doing well in several niche markets, and they are doing particularly well in the education market. Schools are buying up Chromebooks at low costs, and giving many kids an introduction to cloud computing and using applications in the cloud.
With its eye on the education market, Lenovo has already had success with Chromebooks in schools, and now it has announced two consumer-focused clamshell Chromebook models, each with an 11.6-in. display and Intel Celeron chips.
Lenovo's N20 Chromebook, at $279 starting in July, is a basic clamshell portable. The new N20p, at $329 starting in August, wraps in a touchscreen with a keyboard that can flex backwards for use in laptop mode or standing mode.
PCMag has a hands-on review of the new models and notes:
"The two systems are quite similar, with Intel Celeron processors, 2GB of RAM standard, with the option of upgrading to 4GB, and the same 16GB of storage offered on most competing Chromebooks. Lenovo estimates battery life of up to eight hours."
While Lenovo is pitching its new Chromebooks at consumers, it's likely that they'll be popular in school systems--especially the less expensive N20 model. School systems around the U.S. are purchasing Chromebooks for students, a trend that Google could subsidize and one that is reminiscent of Apple's strong focus on the education market from years ago. Westwood High School in Massachussetts is buying Chromebooks to issue to students who will return them once they graduate. The Bell-Chatham school board has approved Chromebook purchases for students, as has the Sumner School District.