Microsoft, Lenovo and JP Debut Low-Cost Windows PCs for Education

Cesar Mills
January 23, 2018

At the annual Bett education show in London, Microsoft is revealing new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices that are priced from just $189.

Microsoft is joining forces with PC companies to supply school districts with Windows devices that won't break the bank.

Google has all but captured the market for American classrooms - analyst firm Futuresource estimates that in the third quarter of 2017, Google's low-priced Chromebooks accounted for 59.8% of the laptop market for K-12 education, compared to Microsoft Windows devices' 22.3% share. JP is a Portuguese device maker that Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, described as one of the company's "largest partners in emerging markets", in a January 22 announcement. The cloud-based Chromebook has established itself in many schools and has led to Microsoft responding with Windows 10 S, a simplified and secured version of the OS.

The cheapest system, the Lenovo 100e, starts at US$189 (A$236) and features an Intel Celeron Apollo Lake processor, 2GB of memory, 32GB storage, and an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 pixel screen that folds flat. JP, on the other hand, is coming out with the new Classmate Leap T303 for $199, and the Trigono V401 2-in-1 for $299.

Finally, Microsoft also announced that organizations that buy Microsoft 365 Education licenses between February and December this year will be eligible for free training on how to use the service.

Speaking to Business Insider, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Yusuf Mehdi, said that the company is making efforts to challenge the price advantage of Chromebooks, which can be bought for as low as $299.

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Microsoft's goal for Windows Mixed Reality has always been to make affordable headsets with great virtual and augmented reality experiences that could scale for regular, normal people. It's likely that users will be able to use both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality together to collaborate. It also revealed that, from March this year, Pearson will begin rolling out six new educational HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality applications.

Affordability is the top priority for many schools.

Outside the U.S., Windows continues to be the dominant education platform. Office's Immersive Reader text-to-speech functionality will also be made available on Microsoft Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad, and OneNote Mac, with support for a variety of new languages.

Last year, Microsoft announced a new, bundled package of education tools and apps, designed in part to streamline the purchasing and management of its products for K-12 systems. The software features Teams for collaboration, Learning Tools with dictation, OneNote for note taking, and PowerPoint for recording lessons. Microsoft is also partnering with PBS and NASA to expand its Mixed Reality curriculum through the Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms initiative.

In addition to devices, Microsoft is adding new capabilities to Office 365 for Education.

Other reports by GizPress

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