Today, Microsoft showcased a range of low-cost Windows 10 PCs designed for the education sector, priced as low as $189. These devices, it said, "offer the power, performance and security schools need at the same price as Chromebooks, with none of the compromises."
But if schools, colleges and universities around the world are going to be buying these affordable PCs for hundreds, or even thousands, of their students, they'll need the tools to manage those devices at scale. Microsoft is now introducing Intune for Education, a spin-off from its device and software management suite for businesses, to help them do so.
"Specially designed for schools who want to put devices in classrooms and not touch them again for the rest of the school year," Microsoft explained, "Intune for Education makes it easy for either IT admins, or teachers playing the role of IT in the classroom, to get up-and-running in minutes on Windows 10 devices and easily manage shared devices."
Intune for Education promises "simple Windows 10 management", with the ability to quickly establish policies, settings and software installations for devices and groups of users "in a matter of minutes".
"Schools can customize over 150 granular settings, assign them to a student and apply them to hardware, apps, browsers, the start menu, Windows Defender and more," Microsoft added. "These settings follow the user to any device when they sign in."
Intune for Education supports the Windows Store for Business to deploy apps to managed devices, and the management suite also integrates with Microsoft cloud services like Office 365 Education, as well as other products:
Intune for Education is perfectly suited for schools of any size that want a cloud-based solution to manage their Windows 10 devices. Because Intune for Education is based on Microsoft Intune, larger school districts or schools with large, full-time IT departments can take advantage of cross-platform support to manage iOS and Android devices and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, if they choose.
Microsoft will launch a preview of Intune for Education "in the coming weeks", with general availability scheduled for this spring, priced at $30 per device, or through volume licensing agreements.