Technology

Report: Microsoft is engaged on an inexpensive Floor laptop computer and “Home windows 11 SE”

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Enlarge / The Surface Laptop Go.

Jeff Dunn

According to a rumor from Windows Central, Microsoft could make another Surface announcement before the end of the year. The report claims that Microsoft is working on an inexpensive, education-centric device, code-named “Tenjin”, to compete with Chromebooks in schools. The laptop could “be announced before the end of this year if plans don’t change,” the report said. It would also run a new variant of Windows 11 called “Windows 11 SE”.

The laptop would come with a low-end quad-core Intel Celeron N4120 processor, “up to” 8 GB of memory, an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display, and an all-plastic case. It would avoid the normal Surface Connect port in favor of a single USB-A port, a USB-C port, and a “barrel style AC port”. Presumably, the laptop could be charged via either the AC port or the USB-C port, as current Surface devices do.

One such laptop would fit under the 12.4-inch Surface Laptop Go for $ 549 in Microsoft’s lineup. This would explain the use of a two-year-old underpowered Celeron processor and a low-resolution 16: 9 display, which breaks with the Surface range’s long-standing tradition of using screens with a higher aspect ratio of 3: 2. The laptop may not even be available through typical retail channels, reflecting a strategy Microsoft is already using on certain business-centric Surface configurations and certain models like the Surface Pro 7+. Only if the machine was offered in large quantities at educational institutions could the price be reduced further.

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While the Windows Central report is very specific to the laptop’s hardware, it offers few details about Windows 11 SE. It could just be a successor to Windows 10 in S mode that only runs apps from the Microsoft Store, but can be updated to a normal Windows 10 version for free with just a few clicks. An older mention of Windows 11 SE detailed by XDA, on the other hand, suggests that it is a pure enterprise version of Windows with no Microsoft Store and some other restrictions on apps and settings.

Microsoft has long offered limited, low-cost Windows versions for the cheaper end of the PC market up to Windows 7 Starter Edition, “Windows 8.1 with Bing” and Windows 10 in S mode. However, this would be the company’s first entry into this market with its own hardware, rather than allowing other hardware manufacturers to offer Windows systems for less money.

A Microsoft representative had nothing to say about this laptop or Windows 11 SE when asked for comment.

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