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Microsoft doubles down on its low-cost Chromebook competition for schools

Microsoft doubles down on its low-cost Chromebook competition for schools

Four new Windows 10 PCs were shown off at the BETT education show in London, alongside a number of updates to the education version of its software, including Office 365, and a number of new partnerships.

Microsoft is joining forces with PC companies to supply school districts with Windows devices that won't break the bank.

The two companies have launched four low-priced PCs running Windows 10 that are specifically aimed at users in education.

In an announcement today timed with the opening of the sprawling Bett ed-tech show in London, Microsoft said it was responding to demands from schools for low-priced technology that also fosters creativity in "STEM" and other subjects.

Just ahead of the Bett education conference in London, taking place January 24-27, Microsoft took the wraps off four new budget-friendly Windows 10 PCs from Lenovo and JP Sá Couto, or JP for short. The cheapest of the new laptops is a the $189 Lenovo 100e, equipped with Intel's Apollo Lake-series Celeron processor.

A step up from the Classmate Leap T303 is the JP Trigono V401, a two-in-one PC with pen and touch capabilities with a starting price tag of $299.

In nationwide survey results released by EdWeek Market Brief previous year, K-12 officials said they preferred Chromebooks to Microsoft and Apple products in a number of areas, especially affordability.

Kosovo Serb politician killed in drive-by shooting
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called for an emergency national security meeting over the killing. He was shot five times in the chest, Efe news agency reported, quoting Serbian state TV.

"Affordability is the top priority for many schools", said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice president for the Windows and device group, in a blog post detailing the new changes.

Microsoft said the devices, from Lenovo and JP, are highly durable and spill resistant - qualities necessary for withstanding any K-12 classroom. Teachers will be able to connect Office to solutions including SIMS Capita, popular in the United Kingdom, and PowerSchool, a leading US alternative.

Microsoft is pushing augmented and virtual reality headsets as being a key tool for education, dropping the price for its Hololens headsets for academic institutions until the end of May this year. Microsoft also is expanding the company's Immersive Reader assistive technology to Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad and OneNote Mac.

Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook, a collection of handouts and shared work for classes, has been updated to include assignment and grade integration with the most widely used School Information Systems in the UK, SIMS Capita, and U.S., PowerSchool.

With all of these new experiences available in time for the upcoming school year, there's never been a better time for schools to try Microsoft Education.

Now, Microsoft is striking back against Google's domestic dominance, with a series of announcements created to make Windows PCs, Microsoft Office 365, and even the Minecraft video game sensation more appealing for education customers at home and overseas.

This spring, Microsoft is adding a new Chemistry Update to Minecraft: Education, plus new science curricula for MakeCode for Minecraft.

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