Lenovo is entering into a new venture that could end up leaving the future of Chromebooks looking about as bleak as that of the dodo’s.
The company, which currently makes some of the very best business laptops on the market, is set to launch a new lineup of services powered by a custom Android OS known as ‘Esper Foundation’.
Said Foundation is built around Android 11 tech, and will support quarterly security updates to maximize online safety, hopefully robust compatibility for peripherals and customizable branding.
The latter seems to be focused on the fact that some of these new Esper machines will be primarily designed for hospitality sectors. This was confirmed in an interview by Lenovo’s Johanny Payero, director of global advanced solutions for marketing and strategy (thanks, TechRadar). “Specific market segments we are targeting include retail and hospitality, as well as the digital signage appliances for these industries,” Payero told our sister site.
Lenovo’s first device that will run on the new Esper Foundation operating system is a PC called the ThinkCentre M70a — a machine that will feature a solid 12th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, 512GB of SSD storage and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
This will then be followed by further desktops, including the ThinkCentre M70q, ThinkCentre M90-1 IoT and Se30 v2 PCs, all of which should launch before the end of the year.
A potential ChromeOS slayer
With Lenovo seemingly betting at least part of the farm on these new Android-powered PCs, what does this mean for the company’s future in terms of Chromebook production? Currently, the firm is deeply embedded in that market, making some of the best Chromebooks around — including the excellent Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3.
In that same interview with TechRadar, Payero was keen to state his hope that Esper Foundation and its Android architecture would help Lenovo achieve increased success across different industries. “Dedicated devices are proliferating across several key industries, and our new joint solution with Esper allows us to deliver the best of Android with the consistency and predictability of Lenovo’s x86 devices.”
That doesn’t exactly sound great for the company’s continued support for traditional Chromebook hardware that often spans some of its best 2-in-1 laptops you can currently buy.
As someone who has never gotten along with ChromeOS, I won’t exactly be donning funeral gear if and when support for the platform starts to decline. I recently bought my technophobe mom the aforementioned Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3, and the setup process wasn't exactly smooth.
As a hardcore Windows 11 user, I’ve always found ChromeOS to be somewhat baffling as an operating system. So if Lenovo has decided to focus more on new Android-based PCs and laptops going forward thanks to Esper Foundation, I won’t be shedding any tears.