Microsoft at the Bett 2017 education technology conference in London has announced new budget Windows 10 laptops starting at $189. The Redmond giant, in addition to PCs, has also announced its new cloud-based service dubbed Microsoft Intune for Education. The company made announcements alongside Google, which declared its focus on classroom-centric Chromebooks.
The company claims that the new Windows 10 PCs offer “power, performance and security” schools need at the same price as Chromebooks. In partnership with OEMs, Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP, and Lenovo. Microsoft’s Intune for Education is claimed to be engineered to integrate with Windows 10 and other cloud services including Office 365 Education. Intune for Education will be available in preview in the coming weeks and will be available this spring at $30 per device, and via volume licensing.
The new Windows 10 laptops include Acer’s TravelMate Spin B118 Convertible Notebook which features an 11.6-inch convertible notebook with a 360-degree hinge. It will be available at a starting price of $299 (roughly Rs. 20,500). The laptop supports four usage modes and runs on Windows 10 Pro with a stylus to support Windows Ink. Acer claims a battery life of up to 13 hours.
Lenovo has also updated its education line of Windows 10 ThinkPad devices. The Chinese company has announced the new ThinkPad 11e series which will come in both clamshell and Yoga form-factors with Windows 10. The company touts a battery life of up to 11 hours and the new laptops also include military standard for handling rough usage. The Yoga 11e comes with a pen and supports Windows Ink. The company also unveiled the new Lenovo N24 running Windows 10 and support for Windows Ink. The N24 is a convertible notebook featuring an 11.6-inch IPS display with 360-degree screen rotation, 10-point touch, and an Active Pen with pen holder. The Lenovo N24 is expected to be available mid-2017.
Much like the Lenovo N24, the Lenovo N22 and N23 Yoga are also durable notebooks built specifically for education and will be available at $189 (roughly Rs. 13,000) and $249 (roughly Rs. 17,000), respectively.
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The Intune for Education service is said to be specially designed for schools and to make it easier for either IT admins or teachers to manage shared devices. The service offers express setup feature to set up default policies for all the devices and users in a class, school or district. Microsoft says that the service lets schools to customize over 150 granular settings including helping them to assign a student and apply them to hardware, apps, browsers, the start menu, Windows Defender and more.
Intune for Education is claimed to make assigning and deploying any combination of Web apps or education apps from the Windows Store for Business much easier. Announcing the new service, Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group stressed that the company despite making advancements in education sector lacked few things including a tool for schools to setup and manage the connected devices and affordable devices for students.
“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person on the planet to achieve more. For students, we are committed to enabling better learning and preparation for the future through software and devices built for the modern era,” Mehdi said in a blog post.
Microsoft at the Bett 2017 conference also announced an update to Minecraft: Education Edition which brings features that were requested by the community.
The latest Minecraft: Education Edition update brings Global Pause to take break to transition to a new activity; accessibility features like text-to-speech for in-game chat; an updated user interface for managing in game settings, and new “Minecraft mobs” among others.