Published: Tue, January 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Microsoft announces devices to compete with Chromebooks

Microsoft announces devices to compete with Chromebooks

A year ago at Bett, Microsoft announced Intune for Education, its device management and provisioning service for schools.

Microsoft has an edge globally when it comes to classroom PCs, but the Google Chrome OS rules in the U.S. To capture that important market and take on Google's low-priced Chromebooks, Microsoft has partnered with Lenovo and JP to launch a new series of cheap PCs, which starts from just $189.

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. Microsoft's competition with Google's Chromebooks for the education market steamed up last year when the software giant launched Windows 10 S. As Microsoft continues to push forward with its education-focused offerings, the company's latest Education announcements are quite simply about advancing what started last year.

The cheapest PC is the Lenovo 100e, an Intel Celeron Apollo Lake PC, while the $279 Lenovo 300e is a 2 in 1 machine. 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.

That said, the software alone could be worth more than $200. The update would be free for everyone using Minecraft: Education Edition. But in their new announcement, they also acknowledged that price point weighs heavily on many school buyers.

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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.

Microsoft has agreed new partnerships with Lego Education, the BBC, PBS, NASA and Pearson, which will release six "mixed reality" applications for health, history, chemistry and maths. This will make writing and collaborating with your classmates easy.

Microsoft also announced a slew of new and improved personalized learning tools this week - from built-in dictation technology to expanded functionality of the Immersive Reader. Meanwhile Teams are now accessible on iOS and Android so students and teachers can both stay on top of assignments.

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. A similar arrangement is being made between Microsoft and a provider of student information systems in United Kingdom, SIMS Capita.

This spring, Microsoft is adding a new Chemistry Update to Minecraft: Education, plus new science curricula for MakeCode for Minecraft.

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