Microsoft Rolls Out Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop to Win School Sales

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Microsoft Rolls Out Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop to Win School Sales

Microsoft held a press event in New York City May 2 to introduce new products designed mainly to serve the education market. The focus of the show was the introduced of Windows 10 S that's a stripped-down version designed to compete with Google’s Chrome OS. Lightweight Chromebooks running the Google OS are popular in the education market. Window 10 S is an effort to win back PC hardware sales lost to Chrome OS. Microsoft also showcased the new Surface Laptop, and said that it’s partnering with third-party vendors to enhance its education market appeal. Best of all for education customers, Microsoft made clear that it’s committed to keeping prices down. This slide show provides more details on Microsoft's latest initiatives in the education market.

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Microsoft Mainly Talked About Educational Computing

Microsoft’s May 2 media event main focused on education. The company talked about new computing tools for teachers and students and how it wants to help the world educate young people. But the company’s announcements focused on products and services that could also appeal to corporate users and consumers.

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Windows 10 S Designed to Counter Chrome OS

Arguably Microsoft’s biggest announcement at the show was Windows 10 S, an operating system that has been stripped down and streamlined to run on low-powered computers. It's clearly a response to Google Chrome OS running on low-power notebook PCs. The operating system includes support for familiar Microsoft apps, like Edge and Office. The OS works only with apps from the company’s Windows Store. Microsoft says it’ll be free for any current PCs running Windows 10 Pro.

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Surface Laptop Designed as Chromebook Alternative

Microsoft showcased a new Surface Laptop designed solely with Chromebook users in mind. The device, which will cost $999, comes with the Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and delivers 128GB of storage. The device has a 13.5-inch screen and a touchscreen display. And since it’s a Surface device, it’ll support Microsoft’s Surface Pen.

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Hardware Partners Will Support Windows 10 S

Although Microsoft focused much of its hardware talk on the new Surface Laptop, its vendor partners are planning to support Windows 10 S. In fact, HP, Acer, Asus, and several others all unveiled new devices at the show that will be compatible with the new operating system. Some of those devices are standard notebooks and others are hybrids.

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Lower Cost Notebook on the Way

In order to compete with Chromebooks, Microsoft needs to offer cheap pricing on the hardware. Microsoft isn’t necessarily doing that with its $999 Surface Laptop, but its vendor partners have already committed to keeping prices as low as $189 for Windows 10 S devices. Other, more sophisticated products, like two-in-one hybrids, will likely cost around $300 to $500.

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Minecraft: Education Edition Heads to Schools

Microsoft is hoping that Minecraft, a wildly popular game it owns, will encourage students to learn how to code. During its show, Microsoft said that it’s launching a new Code Building platform that will let students code inside the Minecraft universe and see their creations within the game. Microsoft believes the tool will get users to more readily create applications through Minecraft.

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Microsoft Bringing Mixed Reality Devices to Schools

Although it was a little light on details, Microsoft said that it plans to expand the presence of mixed reality in the education industry. Specifically, the company said that it’s partnered with Pearson Education to develop virtual reality devices that focus on education. Microsoft is also planning to make available mixed-reality virtual reality and augmented reality headsets for use in the classroom.

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Microsoft Teams Extended for Classrooms

Microsoft is adding features to its Teams collaboration app to enable to work in classrooms. Teachers will be able to access a dashboard to enable students to access course materials, tests, and other information. Students can also collaborate through the service and teachers can hold both private and public conversations through the platform. It’s unclear, however, whether parental features will be added in the future.

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Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop to Reach Market in Summer

Many of Microsoft’s major announcements on May 2 will reach the market in the summer. According to Microsoft, the company plans to release Windows 10 S over the summer, before the start of the next school year. Microsoft also said that it will release its Surface Laptop on June 15. Availability on other hardware hasn’t yet been announced. 

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Microsoft Announces Intune for Education

Microsoft announced on May 2 that it’s planning to make it easier for IT managers to get Windows 10 devices up and running in the classroom with Intune for Education. The service is designed to help IT technicians quickly provision devices and get them up and running in a school. It also allows for ongoing management and application deployment, and will integrate with Microsoft’s education-focused software and services.

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HP ZBooks Deliver High End Features for Enterprise Road Warriors

HP's new ZBook 15 and 17 are high-end notebook PCs with the processing power and features to support virtual reality and just about any kind of business application.
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