Lenovo, the world's largest PC manufacturer, has entered the consumer Chromebook market by unveiling two laptops that will be released this summer.
The announcement is the biggest endorsement yet for Chrome OS, the computer software created by Google for use in low-cost laptops and desktops. With Lenovo's support, more consumers will be exposed to Chrome OS, making it a bigger threat to Microsoft's Windows business.
Early last year, Lenovo began selling its first Chromebook laptop, but that machine was only aimed at the education market and had to be bought in bulk. The Chinese tech giant's new N20 and N20P laptops will be available to the general public.
The machines will be among the cheaper Chromebook laptops, starting at $279 for the N20 and $329 for the N20P.
Both machines feature 11.6-inch 720p touchscreens, include 16-gigabytes of storage and have eight-hour battery lives. The laptops are 0.7 inches thick, include 2 GB of RAM and are powered by Intel Celeron processors. They also come with two years of 100 GB cloud storage through Google Drive.
The difference in the machines is that the screen on the N20P is capable of folding backward up to 300 degrees, creating a stand mode that Lenovo said is ideal for watching videos and playing touchscreen games.
The backward-folding screen is nothing new for Lenovo -- it does this on several of its Windows 8.1 laptops -- but this is the first Chromebook to come with that kind of functionality.
Lenovo said the N20 will go on sale in July, followed by the N20P in August.
Other computer manufacturers who have teamed up with Google so far include Samsung, HP, Acer, Asus and Toshiba.
Chromebook computers are designed to keep things simple for users. The machines are able to boot up within seconds, and users do not have to install software or updates -- everything is done through a Web browser.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun