Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows laptops

Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows laptops

This week at the Bett show in London, Microsoft made its first education announcements for 2018.

According to the analyst firm Futuresource, Google's low-priced Chromebooks captured 59.8% of the laptop market for K-12 education, compared to 22.3% of the Microsoft Windows devices in the third-quarter of 2017.

The two companies have launched four low-priced PCs running Windows 10 that are specifically aimed at users in education. Microsoft also announced two analogous systems (at the same United States prices) from JP, its big partner in emerging economies. Microsoft said it's developing several updates for Windows 10 and Office 365 which will make the combination more attractive to teachers and students.

The Lenovo 100e will cost just $190 and is powered by an Intel Celeron (Apollo Lake). 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).

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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". All four are spill resistant, ruggedized for students, and promise long battery life to avoid having wires all over the classroom. And, of course, there are education-related updates to Office 365 for Education, because Microsoft. It's likely that users will be able to use both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality together to collaborate. But in their new announcement, they also acknowledged that price point weighs heavily on many school buyers.

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. The software giant is also partnering with the BBC, LEGO, NASA, PBS, and Pearson to bring a variety of Mixed Reality and video curricula to schools. Microsoft also is expanding the company's Immersive Reader assistive technology to Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad and OneNote Mac.

Microsoft has also been quietly updating Microsoft Teams' mobile apps recently in order to provide a better experience 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".

An update to the immersive game Minecraft: Education Edition, created to engage students in chemistry through virtual experimentation and other tasks.