Microsoft has a press event scheduled in New York City for tomorrow morning, but it may not be for the kinds of products that fans are fervently anticipating. Even though Microsoft has been known to use New York press events for such announcements, don’t expect a new Surface Pro 5 or the rumored Surface Phone—or even the Surface Book 2. Instead, all reports are pointing toward an event focused on education—and by ‘education’, I mean cheap laptops and pared down software that will work in a school setting.
The takeover of Chromebooks in the education field has been a slow, but steady build. These affordable laptops are being handed out to every student in many public high schools—and they’re the first to really achieve that much success in the education field.
By offering discounted prices and a hassle-free operating system that doesn’t require careful monitoring and maintenance. On top of the price, I’m guessing the fact that students can’t go and install a bunch of programs on these computers makes them highly preferable in such a setting.
Microsoft is looking to step in and take that head-on at tomorrow’s event. First off, we’re expecting to see a new version of Windows 10 tentatively called Windows 10 Cloud (or possibly Windows 10 S). As pointed out by The Verge, references to the new software were seen in the Windows 10 Creative Cloud update back in January—and is now expected to be announced tomorrow.
The idea here would be a version of Windows 10 that can run well on cheaper, lower-powered devices. It’s not clear exactly how this new version of Windows 10 would be different, but one of the goals is to increase battery life. One way this could be achieved is by limiting usage to to only those available in the Windows Store, similar to what Chrome OS does.
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We’ll no doubt also get an update to Microsoft Office tomorrow with a focus on how it can be used in education settings. With students and schools moving over to Chromebooks, they are increasingly depending on services like Google Docs over traditional Microsoft products. With that in mind, expect Microsoft to address that head on within Microsoft Office products such as Word, Powerpoint, and maybe even OneDrive.
The one physical product we may see is some kind of a traditional laptop to reemphasize how seriously Microsoft is taking this focus on education. Similar to how Google produced the Chromebook Pixel and helped produced the original Acer Chromebook to help pave the way for third party manufacturers. Will it be some kind of cheaper Surface Book Will it be a brand new laptop line altogether? It’s not clear, but we’ll find out soon enough.
This won’t have been Microsoft’s first attempt at reaching the education market (anyone remember Windows RT?), but we’ll have to wait and see what the company announces tomorrow.