Lenovo introduces Android as a Windows alternative on some of its desktop PCs
Lenovo announced a partnership with Esper Device Management this week that brings Esper's custom Android operating system to some Lenovo PCs.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M70a 3rd Gen desktop is the first device that is classified by Lenovo as ready to run Esper Foundation for Android. The company plans to add support to three additional PCs, Lenovo ThinkCentre M70q, M90n-1 IoT and ThinkEdge SE30 v2, by the end of the calendar year.
All four devices run an Enterprise-grade version of Android and include dedicated device management from Esper. This makes it easier for organizations to "deploy, manage, and update dedicated PCs across their operations" according to Lenovo.
The four products are designed for specific Enterprise use cases. Lenovo mentions retail, hospitality and healthcare specifically, but the products are not limited to those industries. Customers still have the option to purchase the PCs with Windows or Linux, as Android is added as another option.
Lenovo believes that Android offers advantages to certain industries. These may include improved "flexibility, global familiarity, cost-efficiency" and a large developer pool.
Lenovo's ThinkCentre M70a 3rd Gen is an all-in-one 21.5" touchscreen desktop. It is powered by a 12th generation Intel Core processor, supports up to 16 gigabytes of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM and up to 512 gigabytes of PCIe SSD storage. Hardware components depend on the select version of the desktop PC.
The PC is powered by a custom version of Android 11 that supports customizable branding. Lenovo promises quarterly security updates and at least three years of support. Other features include Esper Seamless Provisioning as well as app and system crash notifications.
Lenovo lists four models on its website currently. The base model is available for $1679 USD at the time of writing. It is powered by an Intel Core i3-12100 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. The current top of the line model is available for $2359 USD. It has an Intel Core i7-12700 processor, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD. No Core i9 model is listed yet on the website.
Esper's dedicated device management platform manages and monitors devices. It supports remote deploys and administrators may run updates on devices using the platform. Esper notes on its website that systems do support dual-booting. Customers may boot other operating systems next to Android on the device; this may help them run legacy software or devices, if required.
The new range of Android-powered devices aims to expand Lenovo's portfolio of desktop devices. While limited to specific use-cases at the time of writing, nothing is stopping Lenovo from dipping its toe in the customer segment later on. Whether Android for desktop PCs would become a hit remains to be seen.
Not all Enterprise customers may be happy about the quarterly security updates that Lenovo and Esper promise. Google Android receives monthly security updates.
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