Microsoft Takes On Chromebooks With $189 Laptop For Schools

Microsoft launches new education PCs and apps from $189

Microsoft looks to empower students and educators with HoloLens, new Windows 10 devices, Office 365 features

"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. Among thse new deivces: A new Lenovo 100e Celeron Apollo Lake PC starting at $189; the Lenovo 300e 2-in-1 with pen support, starting at $299; the JP Classmate Leap T303 at $189 and the JP Trigono V401 2-in-1 with touch and pen at $299.

In an announcement today timed with the opening of the sprawling Bett ed-tech show in London, Microsoft said it was responding to demands from schools for low-priced technology that also fosters creativity in "STEM" and other subjects.

The new devices, announced to coincide with the Bett show this week, include notebooks for under $200 and 2-in-1 laptop/tablet PCs for under $300.

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In addition to this, Microsoft wants to expand the use of Hololens to classrooms by offering the HoloLens Commercial ($5,000) or Developer ($3,000) editions for 10% off in select markets until the 31st of May this year to educational institutions. Pearson will start rolling out in March six new immersive applications that will work on HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. "Shrinking budgets can lead schools to choose devices with a stripped-down experience and a limited lifespan, unfortunately costing more over time and offering less to students".

Microsoft officials have argued that their devices and platforms offer students and teachers a richer, more varied experience than Chromebooks can.

Last year, we saw the launch of Microsoft Teams for Education and a lot of education-focused updates for the entire Office suite. Examples include dications in Office 365, to help students write more easily via voice, and an expanded immersive reader feature for Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad and OneNote Mac. Teachers using PowerPoint can now record their lessons and slides, which can later be shared with their digital Teams classroom using Microsoft Stream. Chromebooks have gone from being a rarity to a highly practical option for kids, college students, and anyone who doesn't need to use fancy software. Minecraft: Education Edition is also being upgraded with a free Chemistry Update. The idea definitely sounds like it will be quite engaging for students, as they get to play while learning new things about chemistry.

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