Windows PCs push back against Chromebooks in schools with LTE, Gemini Lake Refresh chips

JP.IK and Positivo may be two PC vendors you've not heard of before, but they're among Microsoft's current favorites in educational PCs.

Credit: Microsoft / Positivo

Microsoft and its partners, including JP.IK and Positivo, are launching new “Always Connected PCs” for education in conjunction with T-Mobile, which will supply the laptops with 4G LTE SIM cards.

The two Always Connected PCs will be built around undisclosed Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. Many more education devices that Microsoft and its partners plan to announce at the BETT 2020 show in London next week will be based around Intel’s Gemini Lake Refresh chips, an update to 2017’s Gemini Lake processor for low-cost PCs. Those PCs will offer up to 47 percent more performance than their predecessors, according to Intel and Microsoft.

In education, the battle lines are starkly drawn: though the education market was once dominated by Apple Macs and then iPads, Chromebooks quietly have pushed those aside. In the meantime, Microsoft has tried to elbow in, with some success.

Data surrounding who’s buying what in the education market isn’t all that easy to come by, however, with FutureSource Consulting publishing somewhat intermittent reports. In 2018, Chromebooks captured 35 percent of the worldwide education PC market, and 60 percent in the U.S., according to FutureSource. (Of all Chromebook shipments, 85 percent go to U.S. customers.) Worldwide, Windows captured 40 percent of total shipments, FutureSource found. Microsoft hopes to increase that share.

Microsoft said that the new Qualcomm laptops—the $299 JP.IK Turn T101 and the $575 Wise N1212S (seen at top)—will connect underserved classrooms in rural areas. T-Mobile has agreed to provide SIMs and LTE service to some of those classrooms, to provide data connections where wired broadband may not be available.

The other devices Microsoft and its partners are launching—including low-cost PCs from Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Huawei—include features like easy-to-read indicator lights showing the teacher that the device is up and running. Those are more traditional PCs based on the Celeron N or Gemini Lake Refresh processors, such as the N4120.

For its part, Microsoft is also offering a private preview of OneNote Live Captions this month, allowing students to connect OneNote to a Microsoft Translator session and record, transcribe, and translate the audio. Similar translation capabilities are being added to PowerPoint Live presentations as well as Microsoft Stream.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?