(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft's education-focused event is done and dusted.
The company promised to discuss the latest tech solutions and address "gaps in learning left by the pandemic" during the event. It did just that - by announcing a new low-cost laptop for students and schools. The device even runs a new edition of Windows 11 that's designed specifically for education customers. Here is a round-up of Microsoft's biggest announcements, plus how to watch or re-watch the action unfold for yourself if you wish.
When was Microsoft's education event?
Microsoft's education-focused event was held at 9am PT/12pm ET/4pm GMT on Tuesday 9 November 2021.
How to watch Microsoft's education event
You can still catch the entire event on Microsft's website. Pocket-lint hopes to embed a video of the stream here if it becomes available.
What happened during Microsoft's event?
Microsoft's event was titled "Microsoft Education’s Reimagine". It was held just over a month after the company released Windows 11, its next major operating system, as well as a wave of new Surface products. Apparently, the company wasn't done with OS updates and new hardware for the year.
Surface Laptop SE
Available exclusively to schools and students, the Surface Laptop SE starts at $249 and comes running a new student edition of Windows called Windows 11 SE. It has the same keyboard and trackpad found on Surface Laptop Go, but it has an all-plastic body with an 11.6-inch (1366 x 768-resolution) display. It's a 16:9 device, too, whereas all other Surface devices since 2014 have 3:2 displays.
Other specs include Intel’s Celeron N4020 or N4120 power with 4GB / 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of eMMC storage. There is also a 720P 1-megapixel front-facing camera, a single USB-A port, one USB-C port, a barrel DC connector, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Surface Laptop SE is launching in early 2022. It will be available in the US, UK, Canada, and Japan.
Windows 11 SE
Windows 11 SE is designed to run exclusively on laptops made for K-8 classrooms in the US. It's different from the S Mode version of Windows that Microsoft previously pushed. Since S Mode essentially limited users to Microsoft Store apps, it was more of a nuisance for schools and never really took off.
It's worth noting, Chromebooks own the K-12 market. If you went to elementary, middle, or even high school in the US, you've used a Chrome OS laptop in class and for homework. Microsoft has been trying to regain this segment for yet, and its latest effort could be its truest Chrome OS rival yet.
Most of the differences between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE are fairly minor. The key difference between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE is that the new edition comes loaded with new benefits for IT admins. Also, unlike the S Mode version of Windows, it doesn't restrict you to Microsoft Store apps.
You can see the full list of new features and changes here.
Windows 11 SE laptops from other partners, such as Acer, Asus, and Dell, are expected to arrive in education channels later this year and in early 2022.
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