CES 2020 is a wrap but we’ve barely scratched the surface of all the Chrome OS devices that will land this year. In a little under a week, educators and tech companies will converge on London for the annual BETT conference where the latest classroom technology will be on display for the world to see. Slightly lesser known is FETC, the Future of Education Technology conference that happens to be meeting in Miami, FL as we speak. As this conference is more focused on what you can do with classroom tech as opposed to the actual tech itself, we don’t normally see any Chrome OS announcements at the show. However, that was not the case this year.
Fresh off their exciting debuts in Las Vegas, Lenovo has set up shop at FETC and quietly launched an entirely new lineup of Chrome OS and Windows devices designed specifically for the education market. On the Chromebook side of things, Lenovo hasn’t offered up many details apart from the fact that they have “refreshed” their popular 2nd Gen Chromebook 100e, 300e and 500e models. The current 100e and 300e models are powered by the MediaTek quad-core MT8173 processor that has served Lenovo very well in numerous devices while the 2nd Gen 500e features the more powerful Gemini Lake N4100 chipset.
I did some digging around and it appears that Lenovo will forgo upgrading the EDU devices to the new octa-core MediaTek processor found in the recently announced Duet Chromebook Tablet and instead go with strictly Intel chips. These will be the same Gemini Lake-R refreshes that we saw debut last week in CTL’s new EDU lineup. Again, we haven’t received spec sheets on these devices yet but I would presume that they will be very similar to the current models found here.
The more exciting news from Lenovo’s visit to Miami is the announcement of a second Chrome OS tablet. The Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet may simply be a regurgitation of the MediaTek-powered Duet that we saw in Vegas last week but that doesn’t make it any less exciting, in my opinion. The fact that Lenovo saw fit to reskin the premier tablet for EDU tells me that Google and these OEMs truly do want to see this form-factor mature and succeed.
Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet
We’ll have to wait for a review unit to get a better feel for this device but from the images, it looks like Lenovo simply ruggedized the Duet tablet. That’s not a bad thing, either. The Duet thoroughly impressed us at CES and as and EDU tablet, it should shine in the classroom.
Apart from being ruggedized for the classroom, the 10e Chromebook Tablet features a snap-in, folio-style keyboard case with kickstand for use as a traditional laptop. My only gripe here is that it looks like Lenovo omitted the trackpad on the EDU model’s keyboard. I’m not sure what the play was here but in the classroom, that feels like a major fail. We’ll have to wait for the official word from Lenovo as to why they went this direction. Here are some highlights of the new 10e Chromebook Tablet.
- Specifically designed to withstand the rigors of a classroom environment with rubber bumpers and a super tough DragontrailTM Pro Glass that meets MIL-STD-810G testing
- Powerful but efficient MediaTek processor that conquers daily classroom tasks
- Versatile detachable keyboard folio case with anchored and water-resistant keys
- Eight years of auto-updates, world-facing camera, Universal Stylus Input support and access to tons of creativity tools and learning apps.
Now for the biggest win of all. The Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet will cost a mere $269 when it is made available in March. That’s $60 less than the MSRP of the previous generation of tablets that include the Acer Tab 10 and the Lenovo comes with the keyboard. Plus, the updated MediaTek chip will run circles around its predecessor. The refreshed Chromebook models will be available in the coming day and weeks and will start at $214 for the 100e model, $319 for the 300e and $399 for the 500e. You can learn more about all of Lenovo’s latest EDU products on their Story Hub page.