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Lenovo ThinkCentre Embraces Chromebox

Lenovo is following up their Tiny Desktop line of small form factor desktop computers with the ThinkCentre Chromebox, which swaps out Windows for Chrome OS, Google’s lightweight operating system.

The Chromebox will be only one liter in volume, and won’t depart too far from the physical design of the Tiny Desktop line. Like those other tiny PCs, the Chromebox will fit into Lenovo’s Tiny-in-One 23″ monitor, making it ideal for saving desk space by mounting the PC to the back of the monitor.

We don’t know anything specific about the specs, but being a Chrome PC, it doesn’t need much in the way of power. Our best guess is that the Chromebox will keep the price at the usual low Chrome OS levels by sticking an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor inside, alongside 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, but we can’t say for sure yet. There are plenty of ports, including four USB 3.0 ports (two in the front, two in the back), one DisplayPort, ethernet, HDMI, a Kensington lock slot, and a combo microphone/headphone jack.

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Tiny PCs are, for the most part, meant to be bought in bulk by schools and businesses that want to deploy a focused and well-regulated computing experience for their users. To that end, Lenovo has included a management console that IT staffers can use to update systems, add new apps and set up browsing filters. They can also disable USB ports to prevent data leaking out and use the Trusted Platform Module to encrypt passwords, data and certificates.

The Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox will be available in early June, and will start at $200. Not having a legacy VGA port might hurt the appeal to schools and small businesses that haven’t embarked on a wide-scale replacement of older monitors, but for those that have, it looks like a very solid and low cost PC to buy in bulk.

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