Microsoft held a live event in New York City this morning to announce a slew of new products and options for the education market. The #MicrosoftEDU event was covered by our pals over at Windows Central, and here's a rundown of the major announcements made!
New version of Windows 10
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, a new edition of its current operating system which is primarily aimed at schools and the education market. The main difference between Windows 10 S and its standard edition is that this new version is locked to the Windows Store for all apps and games (kind of like Windows RT from back in 2012), meaning you're only able to install what's available from Microsoft's app store. Students will have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from a Windows 10 S installation (free until the end of 2017), which is actually cheaper than upgrading from Windows 10 Home to the Pro edition.
This OS is part of Microsoft's attempt to tackle the Chromebook, which are a big deal within the education market.
New Surface Laptop
The Surface Laptop rounds out Microsoft's Surface lineup, which includes the Surface Pro tablet, the Surface Book 2-in-1 convertible, and the Surface Studio desktop.
The Surface Laptop appears to be aimed at higher-education students and professionals looking for a more traditional laptop experience from the Surface line. Featuring a 13.5-inch PixelSense display and measuring in at only 14.47mm at its thickest point, this is an extremely portable computer that Microsoft says features 14.5 hours of battery life with an Intel Core i5 CPU for the low-end model, with options to upgrade to an Intel Core i7 CPU for those requiring more performance. Read the full specs.
The Surface Laptop will start at $999 and comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 S.
More low-end PCs for education
Along with the new education-focused version of Windows 10, Microsoft announced that they've partnered with the likes of Dell, HP, Samsung and more to offer affordable PCs for schools that start at just $189.
These PCs will run Windows 10 S and come with a free subscription to Minecraft Education Edition, along with Office 365 for Education. They also announced that Windows 10 S will be offered as a free upgrade for any genuine Windows Pro PCs already in use in schools.
What does this mean for Chromebooks?
That's the big question here. Will these $189 PCs running Windows be able to disrupt a market that is heavily entrenched in Chromebooks already? With developers being forced to convert some of their traditional desktop apps to work in the Windows 10 S environment, it may be some time until we see a big impact, but at the very least this announcement will force Google to invest even more heavily in Chromebook and Chrome OS marketing and development.
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