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back to article Lenovo offers Chrome OS ThinkPad for well-heeled schools

Google has won over another convert to the Chrome OS cause, signing up Lenovo to sell a ThinkPad X131e Chromebook into the education market – albeit at a very high price. The new Chromebook uses an unspecified Intel chipset and has Wi-Fi, HDMI and VGA, three USB ports, and a 1366x768 HD LED anti-glare screen. Lenovo says its six …

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Anonymous Coward

Still...

Cheaper than the MacBook Airs and iPads being tossed around at my daughter's school. Cheaper to msnage too I'd expect.

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Old Skool

It has a track point. Time to party like it's 1999.

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Re: Old Skool

Track points rock. Far, far better than touch pads.

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Meh

Non Story

So this is basically just a story about an ill-conceived product that will clearly fail in its intended marketplace, unless the relevant IT procurement bods are all inept and / or enticed by dodgy kickbacks...

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Re: Non Story

With all due respect to a couple of fellow commentards here, generally K-12 Procurement types are either so fucking inept Id rather let a three year old do the job or so completely stifled by decisions from below as well as above that they have no freedom to do their job correctly. For instance, my county stayed with Apple for over 20 years simply because the HP catalogs only ever made it to the technical centers and the buyer was too stupid to seek one out because the she'd been lying to the school board for her entire tenure.

And yes I do know about Apple's long-standing discounts and flexible financing for education, but that wasn't the deal, we had plenty of money back then (C'mon, we're a tourist destination, the Government make at least 15 bucks on each person that comes here per day) the deal was that no matter what the individual school wanted, they got PowerPC-era Apple and MacOS instead. Except for the tech centers and my High School, which was exempted because we were the Engineering, Science and Technology magnet school, everything county wide was Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Non Story

No, it's a story about one of the largest PC vendors (Lenovo) bringing out a new product and supporting Chrome OS when historically they have been a Windows shop. Regardless of any opinions on the product, it IS a story.

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The bigger story

A major Microsoft customer is openly selling a laptop without Microsoft tax. A year ago, a laptop manufacturer might have shown (and withdrawn) a theoretical Linux box to negotiate a better price for Windows. Here is an actual product for sale (to schools and universities placing large orders). That is a hefty dent in Microsoft's control of OEMs. I thought news like this was still years away. I would like to say a big thankyou to everyone at Microsoft who contributed to the user interface design for Windows 8. Their determined efforts have brought a choice of operating systems a big step closer to customers.

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Re: The bigger story

Dude, Its a Chromebook. Its not as if Lenovo's started putting out a real full-flavor box with CentOS, Fedora, or Debian pre-installed or anything. Call me jaded but I think the entire Chromebook exercise is one of Google's attempts at something which they'll pull the plug on as soon as they decide its losing them more money than its making, or it gets borged by the Android team. And I'll hate to see the reaction from all four Chromebook users when Google kills their service. I was a Wave user and I'm still mad as hell about that. I know some people who used Buzz alot and were pissed when Google got rid of that.

Unless you have an Always On connection anywhere you go, which isnt likely yet and wont be for awhile, the Chromebook's a kludgy piece of crap. When we see a Linux distro that isn't for idiots make it on a Laptop, we'll see. Until then I think your forecast is a little premature.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The bigger story

I agreed entirely.

Then the latest Samsung one came out much cheaper than previous models and I decided to have an *informed* opinion by actually getting one.

Personally, I love it and see it as the future for second machines with primary machines being dragged out reluctantly for those rare tasks that are still not web-ified.

I do writing on it (using Google Docs even without an internet connection despite the FUD).

I have a cloudy IDE that gives me multi-document syntax-highlighted code development.

And my cloud data is triply-redundant and continuously synced across 3 different cloud stores.

No maintenance. Virtually instant on. Superb keyboard on the Samsung model. Easily powerful enough. Light enough to carry without even noticing and a full day's work on one charge.

If it breaks/gets lost or stolen I lose zero data and when I switch on my replacement one my data is there and waiting for me.

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Re: The bigger story

I'm not sure I could disagree with you any more if I tried. I'd bet my ass Google believe the Web and Chrome are the future, not Android or Linux (I use both).

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Trollface

Chromebook != PC

Its a thin client. You don't upgrade them because of the latest OS takes 3x the resources of the last one. You don't upgrade them because they can't run your latest db app. You replace them when they break.

2x the cheapest (worst built?) device has to be compared to expected lifespan. If being dropped destroys them then they won't last long in a school. Double the lifespan of the cheapest device and you've broken even.

Compared to a business laptop it may look like poor value for money, but then add the cost of managing a laptop and the fact that primary kids may not be as careful as an employee when it comes to putting it on a table.

Having said that, my favourite school equipment is pencil and paper.

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Boffin

So Miss Johnson returned to teaching her little class and dreaming her little dreams, unaware as she was of the cruel trick fate had in store for her. For Miss Johnson was about to fall victim of the dreaded international Chinese Communist Conspiracy.

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Childcatcher

Catch them while they are young }:-)~~~

Yes. Yes. The Title Requires a Comment.

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Anonymous Coward

You can't be too critical of ChromeOS when there are too many users being sold powerful expensive laptops to only surf the web.

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Meh

why no ARM processor?

Those Chromebooks need very little power, why bothering with an expensive processor?

The Samsung Chromebook is the right device, (right processor, right price) but it's the wrong brand.

All we need now is for Lenovo and Asus to start building ARM based laptop too.

Yes I know ChromeOS this, ChromeOS that, and to some extent I agree with the criticisms but for my 9 years old who only uses the thing for homework, flashgames and youtube it's plenty enough.

I am tired of cleaning up the mess he makes of it's windows7 laptop every few weeks. This should do the trick.

P

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Go

Variety is the spice of life...

We need to see multiple operating systems in school computer classes... is it still "ICT"? Or somesuch which currently means "How to use Word and Excel"?

I remember when I was at school (a long while back now) - all our machines ran Win3.0 (yes, it was that long ago). At about 14/15, I was put on a week's work experience placement with a local computer company that ran a CLI Unix setup, and I was clueless. Similarly, I remember my first year at univeristy and my first encounter with a Mac...

To gamble everything on Microsoft in the current environment is crazy.

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Re: Variety is the spice of life...

>I remember when I was at school (a long while back now) - all our machines ran Win3.0

When I was at school we had a Pet - total time I spent on it was probably about an hour, and most of that was copying out listings.....similarily a book with a solution took a week to arrive and couldn't leave the reference library. These days I somehow struggle by.

>To gamble everything on Microsoft in the current environment is crazy.

It's not a gamble, it doesn't matter. Buy the cheapest thing that works, doesn't fall to bits in a month or when you drop it - and spend the money you save on Maths and English teachers so kids are equipped to handle an O'Reilly text or Stack Overflow.

Young developers and engineers are moulded through hours of slog in bedrooms not in 40 minute weekly ICT lessons or ten minutes of data handling and WP bolted on to other subjects here and there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Variety is the spice of life...

There's some truth in the last sentence - certainly slog rather than snog - but sadly also, young developers and engineers pick up bad habits in those bedrooms. Their parents might prefer this to picking up STDs, but the truth is that they would save a lot of time and future pain if they were taught properly to start with.

I was taught school physics by an ex-research scientist who drummed into us the importance of approximate calculations and scaling the answers. He was far more interested in dimensional analysis than special relativity, and I owe him a huge debt. I also had the fortune to get a summer job in the days when you could read paper tape, one row at a time, and actually see the execution of a loop as a loop of tape circled a reader over and over again. People who have had the misfortune to work for me and who have had the sad experience of my looking at their results and saying "there's a factor of 10 out there somewhere" in a few seconds, didn't get to learn those lessons.

In the same way, learning a little real programming theory and design would reduce the future pain of development managers everywhere. Between the people who obsess endlessly over which of two equally efficient ways of doing things is closest to what Djikstra would have wanted, and the people who implement huge spaghetti code because they never really understood basic programming structures, there is a Middle Way, as promoted by the Buddha, and the way to it is to teach it in schools.

Kids on their own probably won't learn how to iterate through and exit from lists, how to use guard conditions to reduce the chance of getting stuck in loops, how to implement retries cleanly. But this is stuff that can be taught. Without even using a computer....

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