Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools

Alfred Osborne
January 22, 2018

The cheapest of the new laptops is a the $189 Lenovo 100e, equipped with Intel's Apollo Lake-series Celeron processor. And Minecraft: Education Edition, which is already widely used to teach programming, is getting a chemistry module for students to perform science experiments in the safety of the virtual world.

Microsoft is pushing augmented and virtual reality headsets as being a key tool for education, dropping the price for its Hololens headsets for academic institutions until the end of May this year.

In an ongoing effort to stay at the forefront in the minds of educators and students, Microsoft has unveiled four new laptops created to give students and schools what they need while not putting a huge dent in the wallet. Among them: a blog post from a Microsoft executive, touting new Windows devices that provide "more options for schools who don't want to compromise on Chromebooks". The company is expanding mixed reality curriculum offerings thanks to a new partnership with WGBH's Bringing the Universe to America's Classrooms project.

Last year, we saw the launch of Microsoft Teams for Education and a lot of education-focused updates for the entire Office suite.

When it comes to the market for U.S. K-12 mobile devices, Microsoft still has some catching up to do.

Starting in February, the company is adding new dictation capabilities to Office apps across all devices to make it possible for students of all abilities write easily with their voice. Microsoft is also tweaking Word for Mac, Outlook desktop, and OneNote for iPad / Mac to include a new immersive reader that helps with reading and writing.

Microsoft is making a bigger push to keep students and teachers using Windows this week.

Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools

Mehdi gives Google credit where he believes credit is due: He says that Chromebooks didn't actually steal any marketshare away from Microsoft, per se; Google just discovered a previously-unmet demand for low-cost laptops and "made it affordable to have a computer in the classroom".

Paulus said the continued emphasis on Minecraft is a key part Microsoft's overall education strategy in light of interest in STEM education.

According to Futuresource, the time could be right for Microsoft, too: Many schools bought their Chromebooks for students in 2014 and 2015, meaning that they could be looking to do a wide-scale replacement in 2018.

To enable language learners to engage in classroom conversations, our newest updates to Microsoft Teams will also make it easy to translate any conversation or chat into another language.

Building compounds in Minecraft's new Chemistry Update.

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. 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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