At the #MicrosoftEDU event today, Microsoft announced a brand-new version of Windows 10, Windows 10 S, which is aimed at students and is a competitor to Chrome OS – Google’s lightweight operating system for Chromebooks.
Offering a lightweight version of Windows 10 for which users can only download verified apps from the Windows Store means teachers and parents can ensure that students are protected from online threats.
Windows 10 S will be made available to schools for free, as long as the school’s devices are already running Windows 10 Pro. Microsoft confirmed at the event that IT administrators in the school can switch from Windows 10 S back to Windows 10 Pro if devices need to access more advanced features.
Setting up devices running Windows 10 S will also be made much easier thanks to a tool that will allow admins to configure the devices from a USB stick. This should be music to the ears of IT departments in schools that feature lots of PCs.
Microsoft also confirmed that Windows 10 S will be released this summer, ahead of the next school year.
Microsoft also announced that it has worked with a number of device manufacturers, including HP, Asus and Acer, to create a new range of affordable laptops running Windows 10 S, with prices starting at $189 (around £145, AU$250).
These devices should make buying laptops for students much more affordable, and the price point is Microsoft’s answer to cheap Chromebooks, which are already popular in schools.
These new PCs will come with a year’s free subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition, as well as Office 365 for Education.
At today’s event Microsoft presented an ambitious vision of a world where all students have access to powerful educational software via Windows 10 S. Making Windows devices more accessible to students around the world is a worthy endeavour (while also getting people locked into the Windows ecosystem earlier than ever), but will it make students abandon their Chromebooks? Time will tell…