Microsoft has an edge globally when it comes to classroom PCs, but the Google Chrome OS rules in the U.S. To capture that important market and take on Google’s low-cost Chromebooks, Microsoft has partnered with Lenovo and JP to launch a new series of cheap PCs, which starts from just $189.
Challenging Chromebooks price advantage
At the annual Bett education show in London, Microsoft launched a new Windows 10 and 10 S device priced between $189 and $300. Created by Lenovo, the new 100e laptop costing $189 is powered by Intel’s Celeron Apollo Lake Chips to keep the price low and also to suit the needs of schools. Further, the company unveiled its 300e, a 2-in-1 laptop with Pen, priced at $279.
Other than these two laptops, Microsoft also announced two laptops from its biggest partner in emerging economies – JP. These two laptops are a Windows Hello laptop priced at $199 and a pen and touch device at $299. All these laptops are aimed at schools.
Speaking to Business Insider, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Yusuf Mehdi, said that the company is making efforts to challenge the price advantage of Chromebooks, which can be bought for as low as $299.
According to the analyst firm Futuresource, Google’s low-cost 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. A quarter before, Microsoft’s share was 18.4%. Globally, Windows devices took over 66.5% of global K-12 classroom PC shipments in the third-quarter.
Mehdi believes that Chromebooks has not stolen any share from Microsoft, rather they should be credited for identifying the untapped market for the low-cost computers in the classroom.
Making Windows devices useful for students and teachers
Microsoft is also working on the content for teachers that would be more suitable to use with these laptops. The company will roll out a new Chemistry update for Minecraft: Education Edition this spring. The new module would talk about experimentation like building compounds or tackling stable isotopes. The update would be free for everyone using Minecraft: Education Edition.
Speaking to EdSurge, Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s Vice President of Worldwide Education, said that the Windows devices can offer both teachers and students more room and variety of tools to use.
“Everything that you want to do on a Chromebook can be done in Windows,” the executive said.
Further, there would be updates for Word for Mac, Outlook desktop and OneNote for iPad/Mac, notes The Verge. To penetrate further into the schools, the company also partnered with the BBC, NASA, PBS, LEGO, Pearson and PBS for launching various Mixed Reality and video curricula for schools. The new addition is also being made for the Office 365 for Education. Going ahead, the software would get a dictation feature to allow students to write papers using their voice.
Microsoft claims that the Windows-based PC is better than a Chromebook, as the Windows 10 enables users to run a full version of software like Minecraft or Microsoft Office. Since Windows PCs are equipped to run the full version of Windows software, including the Microsoft Office and Minecraft they give, “none of the compromises of a Chromebook,” Mehdi said.