Back in January, Lenovo executives promised a big Chromebook push for this summer, comprising of multiple Chrome OS devices offered at different price levels. Now the first devices in this push are here, and Lenovo predictably went for the low end of the market first.
The new Lenovo N20 and N20p will be available this summer for $279 and $329 respectively, as the company’s first Chromebooks that are generally available to consumers. Lenovo first Chrome OS laptops, released in January 2013, were sold exclusively to schools and other educational institutions.
The N20 and N20p feature identical specs, but the N20p boasts a 300-degree swiveling touchscreen that makes it possible to use it as a tablet, even though Chrome OS is still not fully optimized for touch use. Google recently added an onscreen keyboard and other touchscreen accessibility features, but Chrome OS remains primarily made for keyboard and touchpad use.
Lenovo’s two Chromebooks feature 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 displays, Haswell-based Celeron processors, up to 4GB of RAM, and up to 16GB of storage. Connectivity options include two USB ports, an SD card slot, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac WiFi. There’s a full-sized keyboard and a generously proportioned touchpad. Design-wise, these two Chromebooks are utilitarian, rather than stylish, with their conservative lines and thick bezels around the display.
The Lenovo N20 will become available starting from July, while the touchscreen N20p will follow up in August.
Talking to The Verge, Lenovo said it hopes to continue the “huge success” its Chromebooks had in the educational market. Like its competitors HP and Dell, Lenovo – the largest PC maker in the world – is embracing Chromebooks as one of the few growing segments in an otherwise stagnant PC industry.
While Chromebook sales remain relatively small, the concept has gained traction over the past year. Chromebooks hold the first six positions on Amazon’s list of best rated laptops, and consistently rank among the best sellers.