Microsoft Releases $189 Laptops For Schools

Nettie James
January 23, 2018

The company hopes schools that go down the Windows 10 laptop route will also use its Intune for Education for device management.

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.

At an event in London, Microsoft and its manufacturing partners announced a new generation of cheap Windows 10 S devices aimed at the education market. The highlights include a Lenovo 100e laptop starting at $190, an awesome looking Chemistry update for Minecraft: Education Edition and a 10 percent academic discount on HoloLens (still only in developer kits) through May 31, 2018. The new Lenovo devices are joined by two from JP, with a Windows Hello laptop priced at $199 and a pen and touch device at $299.

"Affordability is the top priority for many schools", said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice president for the Windows and device group, in a blog post detailing the new changes.

All four are rugged, spill-resistant, and have all-day battery life, Microsoft said.

The fine print: Qualified K-12 schools that purchase 30 or more Microsoft 365 A1 licenses are eligible for free training up to a maximum of 3 days, provided by select, qualified Microsoft Education Training Partners. Pearson will be releasing 6 new applications for the HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality in March that will provide schools with new immersive educational experiences for students. 10% off the HoloLens still doesn't make the device affordable at all for most schools, though. This year, Microsoft will continue expanding the tools on Office for its education customers. For students, the company is adding a new dictation feature to ease writing and an update to Minecraft: Education Edition that will enable them to carry out virtual chemistry experiments. 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. Users of Microsoft Teams for Education will now have access to their classroom on Team from their iOS or Android device and be able to keep track of all the conversations, assignments, shared files, and more from their smartphones.

PowerPoint now lets teachers record lessons and then publish them to their Teams classrooms so students can see them at any time.

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

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