Lenovo Ruggedizes New ThinkPad For K-12 Schools

Lenovo has unveiled its newest ThinkPad model, the X130e notebook specially built and "ruggedized" for the K-12 education market.

The laptop, which touts a number of student-friendly design features distinguishing it from traditional ThinkPads, will give Lenovo partners a leg up in this specialized vertical market.

The X130e is fueled by AMD Fusion and Intel Core i3-2367 ULV processors. It weighs in at slightly under four pounds, touts up to 8.5 hours in battery life, and is said to boot up in only 20 seconds through the use of Lenovo’s RapidBoot technology.

The new ThinkPad’s claim to fame, however, is its durability. Before designing the product, Lenovo conducted focus groups with CIOs from various school districts to determine which school-centric specs were a must for the classroom. According to Lenovo, the importance of ruggedness was one the of the most frequent CIO responses.

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Running with that rugged form factor concept, the PC maker took significant strides toward making the X130e "school-proof." The laptop has a reinforced top cover, keyboard and hinges to ensure extra durability in the classroom. The device also boasts a top cover rubber bumper to better absorb impacts, reinforced and recessed ports, and a 1.2mm-thick bezel frame to protect the LED panel. The device’s corners, according to Lenovo, are 33 percent stronger than traditional ThinkPads to reduce damage when dropped at an angle.

Industry research firm IDC has identified Lenovo as the number one PC provider for the education space, said Michael Schmedlen, worldwide director of education at Lenovo. The ThinkPad X130e exemplifies the firm’s continued commitment to the K-12 market.

"We shipped about 3.6 million laptops and desktops into education over the last four quarters," Schmedlen told CRN. "We expect to continue on that path moving forward."

In addition to resilience, the new ThinkPad X130e enables students to easily create and share digital content with peers. "Students can create content," Schmedlen said, "not just consume it."

Students can maintain a Wi-Fi connection while moving from class to class using Lenovo’s Instant Resume function, and with HDMI and VGA, they can easily present to the class with a projector or bigscreen TV. The device also includes a low-light webcam to communicate with students worldwide.

Apart from benefits to the classroom, the new ThinkPad X130e delivers value to Lenovo channel partners, Schmedlen said. The unique build of the laptop and its appeal to students and educators arms VARs with a product they know will resonate well within this particularly niche market. What’s more, Lenovo’s route to the education industry, by a wide margin, is through its partners.

"This device provides partners a specialized platform that’s just for education," Schmedlen said. "It may have some applicability to state and local government, but it will have a sticker on it that says 'EDU series,' short for 'education series,' on the palm rest. This is a purpose-optimized device which they [partners] can use to compete and win business in K-12."

The ThinkPad X130e laptop will be available starting December 20 through Lenovo business partners. Pricing starts at $469.