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Microsoft launches new education PCs and apps from $189

Low-cost hardware
Microsoft attended the Bett education show in London today, unveiling with its partners a selection of new school computers intended to fend off Google’s Chromebooks. Chromebooks have
acquired a strong presence in the education sector, a movement Microsoft began to respond to last year. It’s now stepping up its stance against Google by focusing on how Windows hardware and software can improve education experiences.

Lenovo 100e

Lenovo 100e

The cheapest of the new laptops is a the $189 Lenovo 100e, equipped with Intel’s Apollo Lake-series Celeron processor. Lenovo’s also created a $279 2-in-1 convertible for more versatility. Further new options come from JP, one of Microsoft’s major device partners in emerging regions, priced from $199. Microsoft said existing education PCs, including the popular HP ProBook x360, remain on sale too.
Classroom tools
Microsoft’s not just committing to low-cost hardware. While the drive towards Chromebooks has been in part due to their accessibility, schools have also been attracted to their ease of use and manageability. Microsoft said it’s developing several updates for Windows 10 and Office 365 which will make the combination more attractive to teachers and students.

HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition

HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP / Microsoft

The expanded capabilities include dictation inside Office apps, support for reading assistance in a wider selection of apps and assignment tracking capabilities in Microsoft’s Teams collaboration hub.
In a notable announcement, Microsoft is also adding integrations with some of the most used School Information Systems. Teachers will be able to connect Office to solutions including SIMS Capita, popular in the U.K., and PowerSchool, a leading U.S. alternative.
“Empower every student”
Microsoft said it remains committed to the education sector and helping students to learn with technology. The company’s main challenge though is to convince schools not to switch to Chromebooks. After being the dominant force in classrooms since PCs became widespread, Microsoft is seeing its lead diminish as budget-conscious education leaders switch to Google’s low-cost ecosystem.
READ NEXT: Google launches service to automate machine learning
“Our ongoing commitment to empower every student to create the world of tomorrow continues today with several new announcements for education,” said Microsoft. “Whether igniting interest in STEM, learning in 3D, helping students of all abilities improve their reading, writing, and comprehension, or saving teachers time and helping them collaborate, we know technology has the power to unlock limitless learning.”
Microsoft said all the new software capabilities will be available by the start of the next school year. These include mixed reality learning applications, a special Chemistry Update for Minecraft and a new coding app called MakeCode. The company added that over 15 million new student notebooks have been made in OneNote Class Notebook since the start of the current academic year, indicating Microsoft’s cloud suite is gaining a noticeable share of the education market.

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