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Microsoft unveils $200 Windows 10 laptops for schools

23 January 2018

The software giant has unveiled a number of education-focused laptops at the Bett education show in London.

Past year at Bett, Microsoft announced Intune for Education, its device management and provisioning service for schools. Apple has always been Microsoft's competitor in the educational sector, and now the company must also do battle with Google's Chromebook platform in the classroom.

Microsoft is testing the next major Windows 10 release with the Windows Insiders and the features available to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring will eventually make its way to the public with Windows 10 Redstone 4 update in April.

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.

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The new Lenovo laptops are also joined by two similar devices from JP.

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. Microsoft's CVP Yusuf Mehdi says the new devices are for those who "don't want to compromise on Chromebooks".

Each of these new devices are spill resistant and ruggedized, and has been created to have have long battery life and 2x2 Wi-Fi for faster connectivity. The company's also sweetening the pot a bit by tossing in Office 365 for Education free for teachers. Teachers will be able to connect Office to solutions including SIMS Capita, popular in the United Kingdom, and PowerSchool, a leading USA alternative. These include mixed reality learning applications, a special Chemistry Update for Minecraft and a new coding app called MakeCode. The new Immersive Reader feature is coming to more Office apps and devices, including Word for Mac and iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote for iPad and Mac. This year, Microsoft will continue expanding the tools on Office for its education customers. Microsoft also is making Teams - its Slack competitor - accessible on iOS and Android, as part of its quest to make Teams the "digital hub for the classroom". First, it's partnering up with Pearson, the world's largest education company, to roll out curriculum for both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality.

PowerPoint will now allow teachers to record their lessons including slides, interactive ink, video, and narrations and publish to their Stream channel in Teams classrooms. The company added that over 15 million new student notebooks have been made in OneNote Class Notebook since the start of the current academic year, indicating Microsoft's cloud suite is gaining a noticeable share of the education market.

Microsoft unveils $200 Windows 10 laptops for schools