MICROSOFT IS DETERMINED to take on Chromebooks in the education arena by building out the capabilities of its Windows 10 devices in schools.
That challenge comes in the form of a suite of low-cost laptops from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, and Acer, priced at less than $300 (£230) One Windows 10 machine, the Lenovo 100e from last year, is even being offered at $189 (£145), which almost makes is a throwaway device in tech terms.
Alongside the Microsoft Go, which is a semi-affordable Windows 10 hybrid tablet-come-laptop that offers surprisingly decent performance for its fairly low spec, Redmond and its hardware partners now have a healthy line up of pretty cheap and cheerful Windows 10 lappys and 2-in-1 machines that should stand up to the rigours of a hectic classroom.
But Microsoft isn't content with just having a solid range of laptops on offer, it also wants to have peripherals that can survive school life: enter the Classroom Pen.
Essentially just Surface Pen jacked up to cope with the abuse children and hormonal teenagers might subject it to, the stylus uses a single AAAA battery and comes with a pair of buttons for right click and erasing functions.
But the neat thing about the Classroom Pen is that is can work with a device that uses the Microsoft Pen Protocol rather than just be consigned for use with the Surface Go, which it has been designed for.
That means if the stylus goes on a walkabout, say after being thrown in a typical classroom fracas, then another student could pick it up and use it with their Windows 10 machine, providing it has a touchscreen and the right protocol.
This expands the scope of the Classroom Pen, which is probably why Microsoft is offering it in bundles of 20 for $799.80 (£616).
If you want such a durable stylus for your own use, we're afraid it's only being offered to schools, so you'd need to persuade a child to part with one or pilfer a pen from an unsuspecting youth *we absolutely recommend you don't do that as teachers and the law frown on such acts*.
Anyway, we guess it's up to Google to do its retort against Microsoft's attempted low-end laptop land grab, not that there's a shortage of Chromebooks, but we'd like to see a more affordable take on the excellent Pixelbook. µ
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