HP takes on the iPad in the classroom with new Education Edition PCs and services

HP aims to transform the classroom - and perhaps slow down Apple's efforts to expand iPad usage in schools - with a range of new Education Edition PCs and an updated cloud-based education suite.

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HP has unveiled a new range of rugged convertibles, a durable laptop, and an updated cloud-based education suite.

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On the hardware side of things there's the HP ProBook x360 11 G3 EE and HP ProBook x360 11 G4 EE, which are, according to HP, the world's thinnest rugged laptop convertibles. How rugged? According to the spec they both "pass a 76 cm drop test on concrete and MIL-STD tests."

The both also feature reinforced power ports, make use of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the displays, and have a spill-resistant keyboard in case of beverage-related accidents.

HP is also keen to point out that the ProBook x360 11 G3 EE offers a 16-hour battery life, and that both devices come equipped with built-in HP manageability and security software tools and HP BIOSphere Gen4 for automatic BIOS updates, to help protect both the school's network and student data.

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Both devices can be used in a variety of orientations - stand, tent, tablet and notebook - and this, according to HP, makes the devices adaptable to every style of teaching and learning.

The HP ProBook x360 11 G3 EE is expected to ship December, with the HP ProBook x360 11 G4 EE following along in spring 2019. Pricing has not been announced.

The other device is the HP Stream 11 Pro G5. This too has been ruggedized, and comes with a hardened 180-degree hinge and has been built to withstand a 70 cm drop on concrete and MIL-STD 810G, and is also IP 41 rated.

The HP Stream 11 Pro G5 is expected to ship December. No pricing has been announced.

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On the software side of things, HP has announced HP School Pack 3.5, a cloud-based, access-anywhere education suite that consists of four elements:

  • HP Classroom Manager 4.0.
  • HP Simple Sign On created by ClassLink which offers access to thousands of education applications and services in school and at home.
  • Kortext e-Reader featuring OpenStax OER helps save money and trees with discounted access to over 500,000+ DRM protected titles and free world-class, peer-reviewed OER textbooks.
  • bulb Digital Portfolios allows students to protect and share digital projects through an easy to use, secure platform.

At a time when schools are turning more and more to iPads and Chromebooks (the latter being a pie that HP has its fingers in), it will be interesting to see how this is viewed by education users. Is the PC a has-been, or do these devices have enough going for them - especially on the services and urability front - to allow them to horn in and make some space?

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