Microsoft Targets Chromebook for Low-Cost Education Laptops

Lenovo Windows 10 S Laptop
Lenovo Windows 10 S Laptop

Google’s low-cost Chromebook dominates in the education sector, but Microsoft may have an ace up its sleeve.

Chromebooks have gone a long way from being a rarity to a practical option among the academe (e.g. college students, kids, teachers, etc.). Over the years, Microsoft watched as Google’s low-cost laptop ate away at the Windows PC market. The Google Chromebook’s claim to fame is its budget-friendly price point. You can buy a decent Chromebook for under $200 and a fancy model only goes as high as $500.

Microsoft is looking to even the score by beating Google at its own game. Historically, Windows laptops cost twice as much as Chromebooks but changes are in order.

Samsung Education Chromebooks
Samsung Education Chromebooks

New Generation of Windows 10 S Devices

Microsoft and its partners recently unveiled a quartet of new Windows 10 S devices at the Bett education show in London. During their announcement, the company said they have made new devices for the education market.

The most interesting option is the $189 Lenovo laptop. Its black color and plastic build may not be turning heads, but it‘s powered by Intel’s Apollo Lake-generation Celeron chips. Assuming its specs work fine, it could be a game-changer for Microsoft.

Besides the $189 Lenovo 100e, Microsoft introduced the 300e, a convertible, 2-in-1 laptop with a touch and pen support. It costs only $289. Two other Lenovo laptops (non-touch and touch models) they exhibited cost $199 and $299, respectively.

Edge in the Software Department

Although Chrome OS’s lightweight, browser-based experience isn’t anything like Windows 10 S, the latter has been optimized to run on low-end computers. Plus, the Microsoft Office suite is still among the most sought-after software among students and teachers alike.

From a business standpoint, it’s clear Microsoft Office applications still have an edge over Google’s productivity apps, no matter the similarity. If schools take advantage of Microsoft’s newest, low-cost laptops, they will toss in free Office 365 for Education for teachers.

More Sweet Education Deals

Microsoft will be releasing a new Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition this spring. The game’s focus will center on experimentation like tackling stable isotopes and building compounds.

The company emphasized that it’ll be a free update for everyone already using the Education Edition of Minecraft.

Microsoft is also optimizing Word for Outlook desktop and Mac as well as OneNote for iPad Mac. The company revealed optimized apps include a new immersive reader that helps with writing and reading.

To entice schools further, Microsoft will be giving 10% discounts for its HoloLens headsets. They’ll be making six new Mixed Reality content available for the Microsoft HoloLens. The content will primarily be immersive experiences for students, just another way to convince schools to try Microsoft’s augmented reality headsets.

All of these are a big part of Microsoft’s renewed effort to convince students and teachers to keep using its software and services. It’s clear how the company plans to stay relevant in the face of Chromebooks’ phenomenal rise in the education market.