Microsoft unveiled on Tuesday its newest Surface Laptop designed to serve the education sector and regain its visibility in academia. Their previous Chromebook models struggled for relevance only accounting for 1-2% of the market during its release in 2012. However, the Chrome OS has gained momentum since then tallying over 50% in the K-12 market in 2017. Microsoft intends to attract students and school administrators by launching this model in June with their exclusive Windows 10 S Operating System for a price tag of $999. Although this might sound like a hefty price mark, Microsoft’s new OS for educators will soon be available for all other compatible devices while offering more affordable options.
Starting this Summer, education PCs with the current Windows 10 Pro OS will be available starting at $189. Free updates of Windows 10 S for all educators will come with this but users have the choice of utilizing either 10 S or 10 Pro. At any time, they can switch back to 10 Pro but Microsoft warns users of the risks associated with choosing a less secure OS. Free Microsoft Office 365 is available along with a free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition.
“It’s not like education is new to us. We’ve been there. In fact, you could say we grew up with our tools, whether it’s Windows or Office being used by students.” said Satya Nadella,Microsoft CEO.
Understanding the role that Minecraft has played in classrooms while acknowledging the growing popularity of computer science, they released this unique Code Builder for Minecraft in hopes of inspiring students to master the essentials of coding.
Windows 10 S is tailor-made for members of the educational environment where any and all related applications can be easily installed through the Windows Store. The applications are thoroughly assessed for security purposes and runs locally to ensure the best performance of the hardware. In addition, Windows 10 S enables lower-end hardware and devices to maximize their performance including brands such as Acer, ASUS, Dell HP and more. Their intents are to simplify classroom integration by allowing setup of any device with a USB stick. This makes the transition to Microsoft 10 S easy to manage and streamlines the OS updating process.
Microsoft’s team traveled all over the world conversing with educational experts in order to create a perfect laptop for instructors and students alike. Two themes were prevalent in their search: preventing distraction and encouraging adherence to directions in the classroom. Microsoft designed the Surface to address these issues while ensuring long-term durability throughout the school year. The Surface Laptop has a 3:2 1080p 13.5-inch touchscreen equipped with a Alcantara keybard similar to those seen in the Surface Pro 4. It has USB ports, SD slots, a mini DisplayPort and traditional Surface power adaptor. Weighing less than 3 pounds and running an Intel Core i5 CPU; it also has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage. Users can also pay to upgrade to i7 CPU if desired. Coming in 4 themes: platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue and graphite gold, people can choose a color scheme attuned to their preferences. Now available for pre-order in 20 countries, people can reserve their own today and will ship June 15 of this year.
With the asking price of $999 and the questionable feasibility of Windows 10 S, critics are uncertain whether it can compete with other brands such as the Google Pixel and others already on the market.