Is the Lenovo IdeaPad N20P the future of Chromebooks or just an oddball?

Is this Chromebook with a twist something you need?

The just-released Lenovo IdeaPad N20P is a Chromebook with a twist, literally -- its screen swivels to turn it into a slate. Is this the future of Chromebooks, or just an outlier?

In general, the Lenovo IdeaPad N20P is a somewhat standard Chromebook. It's got an 11.6-inch screen with 1366 by 768 resolution, 2 GB of RAM, and a 16 GB hard drive. Its processor is a Haswell-based Celeron chip running at 2.16 GHz, which is newer than the chips that power many competitors, so that sets it apart to a certain extent. You can buy it now on Amazon for $300.

So how is it different? First, it's a touchscreen, which is still a little bit of a rarity among Chromebooks. But the biggest difference is the way that the screen rotates back, away from the keyboard, turning the keyboard into its base. In essence, it becomes a standing slate computer. In that mode, the keyboard is disabled, so the device functions solely as a touchscreen, with a virtual keyboard appearing onscreen.

Why would you use it this way? Certainly for watching videos. And if you're merely browsing the web, it would be convenient as well.

So is it the future of Chromebooks? No. It's likely an outlier aimed at a niche market. Touchscreens haven't taken off, either on Chromebooks or on Windows-based PCs either. And having it be able to be a stand may get it a bit of press, but in real life, not that many people will need it.

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