Will Lenovo launch Chromebooks, Chromeboxes this year?

Chrome logo

Chrome OS is an operating system that does less than Windows OS X, or even Android. And in many ways, that’s it’s biggest selling point – since Chrome OS is basically just there to support the web browser and run web apps, a Chromebook (laptop) or Chromebox (desktop) boots quickly, downloads updates automatically, doesn’t get viruses, and doesn’t require much in way of tech support.

So far only Acer and Samsung have launched Chrome OS hardware, but The Street suggests that 2013 could be the year Lenovo gets into the game.

Update: Well that didn’t take long. On January 17th, Lenovo introduced its first Chromebook, the ThinkPad X131e for schools. 

When the first Chrome OS laptops hit the market a few years ago they tended to cost about as much as Windows laptops. While there are some advantages to Chrome OS, it’s kind of hard to justify spending the same price on a laptop because it doesn’t do all the things a full-fledged notebook would do.

Now that you can get Chromebooks for as little as $199 they seem to be selling better, and Chromebooks are regularly listed among best-selling laptops on Amazon.

As The Street points out, the cost-savings are even bigger when you look at long-term support. Many schools have started  using Chromebooks instead of Windows or Mac computers, and because data is stored in the cloud, there are no apps to install, and no viruses to catch, IT departments don’t have to spend a lot of time fixing problems.

Acer and Samsung are best known as consumer brands, but Lenovo has a strong reputation in the enterprise market. If businesses start demanding the same sort of devices those schools are using (and according to The Street, that’s exactly what they are demanding), then it’s likely that Lenovo could get into the Chrome OS business.

HP and Dell also have pretty strong business divisions, but with the strong ThinkPad brand, Lenovo is the heavy hitter in this space.

So 2013 could be the year Lenovo starts to introduce Chromebooks and Chromeboxes backed by Lenovo’s strong business reputation — and The Street Suggests prices could range from $299 to $499 for models with 16GB of storage, ARM or x86 processors, and 11.6 inch to 14 inch displays.

Or maybe this is all just wishful thinking on the part of a single author.

There are clearly advantages to Windows, or even Windows RT. The operating systems are more powerful, customizable, offer a large number of third party apps and the ability for users to create their own apps. They also work just fine if you don’t have an internet connection.

But for many users, the ability to run a few web apps to check email, compose documents, view presentations, and read the news is all they need — so why use a computer OS that’s more complicated than it needs to be for those tasks?

What do you think? Is 2013 the year we’ll start to see Lenovo and other companies invest heavily in Chrome OS for business customers?

Or do you think most enterprise customers would rather spend money on computers that they can install apps on… and which will continue to keep the IT departments busy fixing problems (both real and perceived)?

via MiniMachines

  • strider_mt2k

    Interesting stuff.
    I haven’t played with Chrome OS, but the more I hear about it the more I’m getting curious to check it out.

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      It’s sort of grown on me. On the one hand, just about anything you can do with Chrome OS you could also do with a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer that has the Chrome browser installed. On the other hand, part of the appeal is that it *does* do less… and is therefore faster and more secure than you’d otherwise expect from a $200 laptop.

      You don’t spend any time thinking about the OS at all, and instead just open the lid and start using it… If there were good solutions for video editing, I’d totally think about picking one up for on-the-go-use.

      On the other hand, I’ve been really happy with the Samsung Series 9 I picked up a few months ago, so I don’t expect to buy a new laptop anytime soon. Good thing I still get to play with review units. :)

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    Well, after installing the Chromium browser on Ubuntu installed on my ARM Chromebook, they are similarly efficient at browsing (and battery lifetime) but Ubuntu provides much-much more.

    I am all for cheap Chromebooks which are then converted into Ubuntu smartbooks :)

  • http://twitter.com/mudfly Christian Page

    I haven’t looked to see if ChromeOS supports VDI, but if it does, it will be a big deal in the enterprise.

  • Gary Lai

    Lenovo would be dumb not to invest in Chromebook. They will take off in 2013 for education, enterprise, and the consumer market.

  • menting

    seems like your question was just answered.

    Lenovo IS coming out with a Chromebook. The X131e