Microsoft announces $189 classroom laptops and Office 365 dictation

The dirt-cheap Lenovo 100e

With these new classroom devices, Microsoft is hoping to "bring the full power of a Windows device at the competitive price of the Chromebook", Tholfsen said.

According to the analyst firm Futuresource, Google's low-priced 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.

Microsoft has unveiled lower-cost laptop devices and revamped features within its classroom-productivity tools, a series of changes that come as the corporation battles Google and Apple for supremacy in the school market. JP is a Portuguese device maker that Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, described as one of the company's "largest partners in emerging markets", in a January 22 announcement.

The Lenovo 100e will cost just $190 and is powered by an Intel Celeron (Apollo Lake). The Trigono V401 convertible ($300) supports both touch and pen input while the Classmate Leap T303 laptop ($200) features the added security of Windows Hello.

Microsoft announces $189 classroom laptops and Office 365 dictation
Microsoft announces $189 classroom laptops and Office 365 dictation

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

Microsoft said the devices, from Lenovo and JP, are highly durable and spill resistant - qualities necessary for withstanding any K-12 classroom. As well as additional learning tools, Minecraft: Education Edition, a curriculum using Mixed Reality and HoloLens, and more. It also revealed that, from March this year, Pearson will begin rolling out six new educational HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality applications. But in their new announcement, they also acknowledged that price point weighs heavily on many school buyers.

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.

Microsoft is also working on the content for teachers that would be more suitable to use with these laptops. This will make writing and collaborating with your classmates easy. More platforms will also be added: Word for Mac, iPhone, and Android; Outlook for Windows and Mac (which is also getting Read Aloud support in more than 30 text-to-speech languages over the coming months); OneNote for iPad; and OneNote for Mac. Microsoft said all the new software capabilities will be available by the start of the next school year. Minecraft: Education Edition is also being upgraded with a free Chemistry Update.

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