Microsoft partners with Lenovo for cheap school laptops

Microsoft Goes After Chromebooks With $189 Windows 10 Notebooks

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.

Microsoft is joining forces with PC companies to supply school districts with Windows devices that won't break the bank.

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.

"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.

Lenovo's got the cheapest PC of the bunch - the 100e, which hits that $189 price point the company's been talking up for the space. Microsoft and Lenovo also took the wraps off the Lenovo 300e, a convertible PC that can enter tablet mode and features stylus support. In addition to the 100E, Microsoft says manufacturing partner JP will release two cheap laptop models of their own including the Classmate Leap T303 ($199) and the Trigono V401 ($299). It's likely that users will be able to use both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality together to collaborate.

For the past three years, Microsoft has watched as Google's Chromebooks have eaten away at the low-priced Windows PC market. Chromebooks have acquired a strong presence in the education sector, a movement Microsoft began to respond to previous year. 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. Microsoft said all the new software capabilities will be available by the start of the next school year. 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". A similar arrangement is being made between Microsoft and a provider of student information systems in United Kingdom, SIMS Capita.

Minecraft is getting a new chemistry module for students. The company even built a different version of the game specifically for use in classrooms, with interactive features like real-time classroom collaboration, progress tracking abilities for each student, and more. 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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