All posts in “Microsoft”

Windows 10 S laptops will start at $189 and ship this summer


Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS is called Windows 10 S. This new operating system is a streamlined and secured version of Windows 10. It runs sandboxed apps and doesn’t require expensive hardware.

And this is where Microsoft shines as it can talk with all major PC OEMs to convince them to build Windows 10 S devices. The company announced that Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba are all working on Windows 10 S devices.

Entry-level Windows 10 S devices will start at $189, which should help convince schools when it comes to buying a ton of laptops for their students.

These devices come with a free one-year subscription of Minecraft: Education Edition. But that’s not all. Office 365 apps will also be free for both students and teachers.

Windows 10 S devices will ship this summer, just in time for the new school year. Schools will be able to download Windows 10 S for free if they want to upgrade older devices to Windows 10 S. Let’s see if this will be enough to compete with Google in the education space.

Microsoft launches Windows 10 S, its low-cost answer to the Chromebook

Windows 10
Windows 10

Image: lili sams/mashable

Microsoft is tired of getting beat in the education market, so it’s pulling out the big guns: A custom version of Windows 10 streamlined for students.

And they call it Windows 10 S.

If you can leave aside the nagging question of why Microsoft didn’t go for “Windows 10 E,” this new operating system flavor makes a lot of sense. 

Over the last half decade Microsoft (and Apple) have watched as sub-$300 Chromebooks running Chrome OS and cloud-connected to Google Docs have swallowed up more than 50 percent of the education market. 

Microsoft, which makes the most popular desktop OS in the world, Windows, has had no answer for it. It only recently started building its own PCs — which tend to be on the premium side of pricing — and Windows is, well, Windows, a $120 product that relies on sometimes expensive, large third-party applications that you download and install. It has a good cloud game in One Drive, but there hasn’t really been a marriage between platform, price and cloud accessibility. 

Windows 10 S is at least part of Microsoft’s answer.

Unveiled on Tuesday in New York City during Microsoft’s education-market-focused event, Windows 10 S is still very much Windows (and not a cloud-based service as was recently predicted), including the latest Creators Update versions of Cortana and the Edge browser. However it’s also engineered for an audience, like teachers, administrators, and students who don’t have time to worry about application curation, OS updates and system security.

To do all that, Microsoft is narrowing the list of Windows 10 S-approved apps to those Microsoft curates in the Windows Store. This will, obviously, include Office 365, which is also getting an education-focused update, specifically in the Teams for Education group collaboration component.

If a student or educator needs an application that isn’t in the Windows Store, they’ll have to switch their system to Windows 10 Pro — at no extra cost — and then download and install the required app. They won’t be able to switch the system back to Windows 10 S.

Microsoft contends that not only will Store-only apps simplify management of these systems, the managed app list could improve system performance, as well. Web-downloaded apps launch processes during install and subsequent boot-up that often don’t ever turn off. These services can also be duplicative, further slowing down the system, and even consuming battery life. 

Windows 10 S’ managed set of apps will not, according to Microsoft, launch those services. This might also be a way of improving performance on affordable systems that may not have the most powerful components or longest battery life.

In order to make the systems a little more cloud-friendly, Windows 10 S will default to saving all documents in the cloud. You can do this in standard Windows 10, but it’s not the default.

Windows 10 S will also help promote coding for kids through a new Minecraft programming component that will let them manipulate their favorite world-building environment.

This move by Microsoft isn’t particularly surprising. When I spoke to Microsoft Corporate VP in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore a few weeks ago, he made it clear that Microsoft would not be ceding the education market and they wouldn’t approach it with thin clients and cloud-based apps. 

This latest flavor of Windows will arrive inside new, low-cost laptops from Microsoft Partners and Microsoft itself in time for the back to school buying season. Microsoft hasn’t specified standalone pricing since it expects Windows 10 S will ship with low-cost systems.

This story is developing…

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Watch Microsoft unveil its Windows 10-based Chromebook competitor live right here

Microsoft is holding a press conference today in New York. The conference is about to start. This time, it’s all about the education market. While many schools have been buying a ton of Chromebooks and iPads, Microsoft is about to fight back.

Rumor has it that the company is about to unveil a lightweight version of Windows 10 with fewer apps and a lot of cloud functionality. Just like I wrote this weekend, tech companies have been outsourcing compute-intensive tasks to the data center. This is Microsoft’s answer to the Chromebook.

Note: If the live stream doesn’t work in Google Chrome, try Safari or Microsoft Edge as there seems to be an issue with live streaming in Chrome.

How to watch Microsoft’s #MicrosoftEDU event live

Image: CJ GUNTHER/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Microsoft is about to unveil new products — both hardware and software — Tuesday, and you can join the fun and follow the event live over the internet. 

The education-centered #MicrosoftEDU event starts at 9:30 AM ET in New York City, and will likely bring two key new products. On the software side, the company is rumored to launch a new, web-centric version of Windows 10. On the hardware front, Microsoft will likely unveil a Surface-based laptop that runs on this new version of Windows. 

Of course, there may be other announcements from the company; perhaps a consumer-ready version of HoloLens or a new mixed-reality headset will appear? And given the event’s theme, a few more announcements related to education wouldn’t surprise us. 

Image: Microsoft

We don’t know for sure yet, but we will soon; Mashable‘s Chief Correspondent Lance Ulanoff and Senior Product Analyst Raymond Wong are on the ground and will be reporting from the event live. Click on their names to see their updates on Twitter; there will also be updates on Mashable‘s Tech Twitter channel. 

Microsoft will also be having a live stream of the event, starting at 9:30 AM ET; you can follow it here

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Bill Gates has some surprising technology restrictions for his kids

Take a moment to imagine the childhood lives of Bill Gates’ three kids. You’re picturing joyful children leaping and lounging upon heaps of all the coolest and newest tech, right? Shockingly, you’re wrong.

Bill Gates, technology giant and co-founder of Microsoft, had pretty surprising technology restrictions for his kids. Gates and his wife Melinda banned their three children from owning cell phones until they were age 14 – even though they argued all their friends had them. (Classic.)

Bill Gates smiling during a panel on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Image: DI NOLFI/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

According to 2016 research by Influence Central, the average age for a child to get their first cell phone is 10 years old, down from 12 in 2012. So in the scheme of things, the Gates kids were really on the late side for tech. Who would have thought!?

Once the children finally got their phones, their parents strictly regulated their usage – notably banning all phones from the dinner table.

“We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour,” Gates told The Mirror.

Surprisingly, Gates isn’t the only tech mastermind to limit his children’s technology usage. In a 2014 article titled “Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent,” the Apple founder told a New York Times reporter that his children had not yet used the iPad, and that, “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

Kids, hide your cell phones.

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