Microsoft has announced a new cloud-based service dubbed Microsoft Intune for Education at the Bett 2017 education technology conference in London and has also revealed new budget Windows 10 laptops starting at $189.
Microsoft said that its new Windows 10 PCs offer “power, performance and security” that schools need at the same price as the recently unveiled Chromebooks. Microsoft has joined hands with Acer, HP, and Lenovo for its education centric laptops.
Microsoft Intune for Education is said to have been engineered to integrate with Windows 10 and other cloud services including Office 365 Education. Intune for Education will be available in preview in the coming weeks and will be available this spring at $30 per device, and via volume licensing.
The first among the new Windows 10 laptops is the Acer’s TravelMate Spin B118 Convertible Notebook featuring an 11.6-inch screen with a 360-degree hinge. It will be available at a starting price of $299. The laptop supports four usage modes and runs on Windows 10 Pro with a stylus to support Windows Ink. Acer claims a battery life of up to 13 hours.
Lenovo announced its ThinkPad 11e series which will come in both clamshell and Yoga form-factors with Windows 10. The company touts a battery life of up to 11 hours and the new laptops also include military standard for handling rough usage. The Yoga 11e comes with a pen and supports Windows Ink. The company also unveiled the new Lenovo N24 running Windows 10 and support for Windows Ink. The N24 is a convertible notebook featuring an 11.6-inch IPS display with 360-degree screen rotation, 10-point touch, and an Active Pen with pen holder. The Lenovo N24 is expected to be available mid-2017.
Much like the Lenovo N24, the Lenovo N22 and N23 Yoga are also durable notebooks built specifically for education and will be available at $189 and $249 respectively.
The Intune for Education service is said to be specially designed for schools and to make it easier for either IT admins or teachers to manage shared devices. The service offers express setup feature to set up default policies for all the devices and users in a class, school or district. Microsoft says that the service lets schools to customize over 150 granular settings including helping them to assign a student and apply them to hardware, apps, browsers, the start menu, Windows Defender and more.
Intune for Education is claimed to make assigning and deploying any combination of Web apps or education apps from the Windows Store for Business much easier. Announcing the new service, Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group stressed that the company despite making advancements in education sector lacked few things including a tool for schools to setup and manage the connected devices and affordable devices for students.
Microsoft at the Bett 2017 conference also announced an update to Minecraft: Education Edition which brings features that were requested by the community. The latest Minecraft: Education Edition update brings Global Pause to take break to transition to a new activity; accessibility features like text-to-speech for in-game chat; an updated user interface for managing in game settings, and new “Minecraft mobs” among others.