Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10S, an edition of its Windows 10 operating system designed to run on low-cost laptops used by students. The company also announced the Surface Laptop and View Mixed Reality, a new feature coming to Windows 10 this fall.
Windows 10S promises stronger virus protection and better battery life, and will be available on PCs costing as little as $189.
Windows 10S OS isn't entirely new, it is a tweaked version of the traditional Windows 10 that offers a faster first-time login experience. By default, the OS does not run traditional Windows programs. Instead, it is designed to only run apps from the Windows Store.
Teachers and administrators can create a flash drive to customize the Windows 10 S experience for their students. Then, by inserting the stick for about 30 seconds, the operating system will be set up as designed, armed with specific apps.
The operating system can run on any Windows 10 compatible PC. For instance, if a school district already has computers running Windows 10 Pro, they can convert to Windows 10 S for free. Microsoft says that all of your peripherals that work with Windows 10 will also work with the "S" variant of the OS.
The free operating system will enable schools to get Minecraft Education Edition at no cost for the first year. They also get Office 365 for free.
The move was designed to help Microsoft compete better with Google in the global schools market.
Microsoft and Apple have struggled with the recent rise of Google's low-cost Chromebooks, which come loaded with the Chrome operating system and generally cost less than $300 in the US.
$999 Surface Laptop
Microsoft also introduced a slim, $999 laptop for college kids.
The device comes in four colors, gold, platinum, blue, and burgundy and ditches a metal area around the keyboard for soft microfiber. It has a 13.5-inch touchscreen, runs the latest Intel processors, and gets 14 hours of battery life. It will be equipped with Microsoft's new Windows 10S operating system.
The classic clamshell laptop weighs 2.76 pounds (1.25 kilograms), less than the comparable MacBook Air from Apple.
The base model includes 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, and runs on an Intel Core i5 processor. More expensive configurations are also available with a faster Intel Core i7 chip, storage capacities up to a terabyte, and as much as 16GB of RAM.
The Surface Laptop does not feature speaker holes or grills. Microsoft managed to fit the speakers behind the keys, which Microsoft's Surface head, Panos Panay, claims delivers a more enveloping sound.
Bringing 3D and Windows Mixed Reality to the classroom
Mixed Reality can bring a whole new dimension to teaching and learning in the classroom. With 3D and Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft is empowering educators with a new set of tools to create curriculums for their students and peers.
Microsoft is partnering with Pearson, one of the largest education companies in the world, who is working to integrate 3D and mixed reality into their secondary and university level curriculum. By the school year 2018, Pearson will offer curriculum in health, commerce, history, and STEM, on all Windows Mixed Reality devices. In addition, Microsoft announced a new feature coming to Windows 10 this fall, called View Mixed Reality. This feature allows you to see 3D content through your screen into the real world as mixed reality, using an RGB camera.
In an onstage demo at Microsoft's educational event today in New York, View Mixed Reality was used to display the Mars Curiosity Rover next to a speaker, to show how large it is in real life. Paired with the Paint 3D app introduced in the Windows 10 Creators Update, or 3D educational tools already starting to trickle into the market, this could be a handy feature in the classroom.