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Microsoft Unveils Seven Windows 10 Laptops for Schools, New Classroom Pen, Teams Upgrades

Furthering its education push, Microsoft has launched seven new Windows 10 devices meant for schools, a new Microsoft Classroom Pen, new feature additions to Microsoft Teams software, and other new technologies to help make the learning process easier. The seven new Windows 10 devices include the Lenovo 100e, Lenovo 300e 2-in-1, Lenovo 14w, Acer TravelMate…

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Microsoft Unveils Seven Windows 10 Laptops for Schools, New Classroom Pen, Teams Upgrades

Furthering its education push, Microsoft has launched seven new Windows 10 devices meant for schools, a new Microsoft Classroom Pen, new feature additions to Microsoft Teams software, and other new technologies to help make the learning process easier. The seven new Windows 10 devices include the Lenovo 100e, Lenovo 300e 2-in-1, Lenovo 14w, Acer TravelMate B1 (B118-M), Acer TravelMate Spin B1 (B118-R/RN), Acer TravelMate B1-141, and Dell Latitude 3300 for Education. The company also announced the Microsoft Classroom Pen, designed specifically with K-8 students and schools in mind, and optimised for use with Surface Go.

The new Windows 10 devices come with offerings like ‘Learning Tools’ in Office 365, and S Mode that reduces bloatware and improves battery life. Microsoft notes that the Lenovo 300e 2-in-1 comes with stylus support, but if the stylus gets lost, students can even write on the screen with a regular No. 2 graphite pencil. This new range starts from as low as $189 (roughly Rs. 13,400), giving tough competition to Chromebooks that have been pushing education-focused features as well. The three laptops from Acer, Lenovo, and Dell come in the $300 (roughly Rs. 21,400) price range, and claim to give bigger screens and added functionality for the same low price as many smaller devices.

The Redmond giant also launched a new Classroom Pen that is optimised for Surface Go, and is designed keeping schools, students, and classrooms in mind. It is touted to be durable with a hardened pen tip that is replaceable. It also sports a built-in slot at the end for easy tethering to students’ device cases, so the pen doesn’t get lost. The Microsoft Classroom Pen will be available exclusively to education institutions and sold in packs of 20 for a cost of $799.80. The first wave of availability will begin next month, and it will be sold in 36 markets where the Surface Go has been made available.

Microsoft Teams also got new features like Grade Sync, Mobile grading, Turnitin integration, and improvements to Teams Assignments as well. Grade Sync automatically sends grades from Teams Assignments directly to your Student Information System, saving teachers lots of time. Microsoft notes that Grade Sync will be coming to systems like PowerSchool, Infinite Campus, Capita SIMS and many others soon. It is also taking registrations for a preview here. The company also introduced the ability to grade team assignments via the Android and iOS Teams app. It is also set to get Turnitin integration, accessible directly via Teams Assignments, that allows teachers to check student submissions for multiple forms of plagiarism and helps teach the value of academic integrity, proper attribution, and authentic writing. Teams will also allow teachers to access MakeCode in the future, with beta access kicking off this month itself. It will be available within Teams Assignments. The Teams Assignments will also get an upgrade to a more simplified experience that is easier and faster to use.

Microsoft also announced Code Jumper to enable kids aged 7 to 11 learn the basics of coding. It also will give schools free 25 hours of standards-aligned virtual reality curricula across subjects when they purchase a Windows virtual reality headset. Lastly, it also introduced Immersive Reader software for VR and free Dyslexia training materials for teachers.

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Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) With 11th Gen Intel Core i9 Processor, 4K Mini LED Display Launched in India

Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in India on Monday. The laptop comes with an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 and features a 120Hz mini-LED display. It also carries Thunderbolt 4 ports and is equipped with DTS:X Ultra sound. Additionally, there are preloaded modes to deliver a customised performance experience. Acer initially unveiled the Predator…

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Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) With 11th Gen Intel Core i9 Processor, 4K Mini LED Display Launched in India

Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in India on Monday. The laptop comes with an 11th-generation Intel Core i9 and features a 120Hz mini-LED display. It also carries Thunderbolt 4 ports and is equipped with DTS:X Ultra sound. Additionally, there are preloaded modes to deliver a customised performance experience. Acer initially unveiled the Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) in the US. The laptop is aimed at hardcore gaming enthusiasts and PC gamers looking to play graphically demanding games.Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) price in India, availability detailsAcer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) price in India starts at Rs. 3,79,999. The laptop will be available for purchase in the country through the Acer Online Store, Acer Exclusive Stores, and other authorised retail stores.In August, the Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) was launched in the US with a starting price of $2,499.99 (roughly Rs. 1,88,600).Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) specificationsThe Acer Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) features a 17.3-inch 4K Mini LED display that is powered by an AUO AmLED technology and has a 120Hz refresh rate. Under the hood, the laptop has an overclockable 11th-generation Intel Core i9 processor (supporting up to 5.01GHz clock speed), along with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU (16GB GDDR6 VRAM) and 64GB DDR4 3200MHz memory. The machine also has a pair of PCIe NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 and one SATA HDD. Further, there is a Vortex Flow technology that uses two fans, including a fifth-generation AeroBlade 3D Fan. The proprietary technology is claimed to help redirect airflow to critical components and boost performance during heavy gaming sessions.Acer has also provided its PredatorSense technology on the Predator Helios 500 that can be used to customise the light cluster and personalise keyboard using the built-in per-key RGB backlighting. The laptop also has the WASD key assembly that works with Acer’s MagForce keys and includes a MagTek mechanical switch to help gamers transform regular keypress functions into a joystick mechanism. This is claimed to gradually increase pressure on the key for precise control over the character’s / car’s speed – from the initial (0.8 mm), press all the way to full speed at 100 percent (3 / 3.1 mm) actuation.Connectivity options on the Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) include an HDMI 2.1, mini-DP1.4, two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports with offline charging support, and an RJ45 port. The laptop also has an Intel Killer E3100 Ethernet Controller, Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, and the Killer Intelligence Center for an enhanced connectivity experience.The Predator Helios 500 (PH517-52) includes DTS:X Ultra audio that helps provide a 360-degree surround sound experience using a pair of headphones or speakers.

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Nvidia to Launch RTX 2060 From 2019, Now With 12GB Memory, to Combat Global GPU Shortage

Nvidia has confirmed the reissue of the RTX 2060 but now with 12GB of VRAM, a GPU that was launched in 2019, as part of a move to alleviate sky-high prices of GPUs during the global chip shortage. The original Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card was released in 2019 and came with 6GB of memory.…

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Nvidia to Launch RTX 2060 From 2019, Now With 12GB Memory, to Combat Global GPU Shortage

Nvidia has confirmed the reissue of the RTX 2060 but now with 12GB of VRAM, a GPU that was launched in 2019, as part of a move to alleviate sky-high prices of GPUs during the global chip shortage. The original Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card was released in 2019 and came with 6GB of memory. The company has announced that the renewed Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU with double the memory of the original model will soon be available, although pricing is yet to be announced.The company has announced the revised Nvidia RTX 2060 in the release notes for the company’s Game Ready Driver 497.00 that was launched on December 2. Nvidia has also listed the specifications on its website, revealing that the new GeForce RTX 2060 will feature a higher base clock speed and offers 2,176 CUDA cores, instead of the 1,920 cores found on the 2019 model.Power consumption is also higher at 185W, up from 160W on the older model, according to Nvidia. As previously mentioned, the GPU will also feature 12GB of memory, twice that of the RTX 2060 from two years ago. The specifications of the renewed RTX 2060 GPU suggest it could be positioned as an entry-level graphics card for gamers, in a market with a high demand for GPUs. The company has not provided a launch date, but The Verge reports that the GPU will be available from December 7.Earlier this year, Nvidia had announced that it would relaunch the GTX 1050 Ti and the RTX 2060, in an attempt to alleviate the problems caused by the global semiconductor shortage that has hit the computing industry. Over the past year, scalpers (who buy GPUs in bulk and sell them at a premium) and cryptocurrency mining have ensured that the prices of GPUs like the Nvidia RTX 3060 are high, while stocks are limited. The company is re-releasing older, lower-powered GPUs is to ensure graphics cards are available for those who need to purchase GPUs without waiting for restocks.

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Snapdragon 2022 Chips Coming for Chromebooks, Nintendo Switch, and Android Flagships

At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit this week Qualcomm announced a new generation of chips under its Snapdragon branding. The showstopper was Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that is essentially an incremental update to last year’s Snapdragon 888 and is meant for next-generation flagship Android phones coming later this year and next year. The San Diego-based…

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Snapdragon 2022 Chips Coming for Chromebooks, Nintendo Switch, and Android Flagships

At the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit this week Qualcomm announced a new generation of chips under its Snapdragon branding. The showstopper was Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that is essentially an incremental update to last year’s Snapdragon 888 and is meant for next-generation flagship Android phones coming later this year and next year. The San Diego-based company, however, also brought the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 as two of its new system-on-chip (SoC) models for Windows laptops and Chromebooks, and the Snapdragon G3x as its chip designed for handheld gaming devices.Host Akhil Arora speaks with Reviews Editor Jamshed Avari and Senior Reviewer Sheldon Pinto on this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital to discuss Qualcomm’s new announcements.The big launch for phones at this year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit was the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The chip doesn’t have massive upgrades over the Snapdragon 888 that was launched last year. However, it does have some incremental changes that are claimed to help deliver better processing, faster artificial intelligence (AI) performance, and an upgraded graphics rendering.The one big change that comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the new branding that moves away from the existing number series. This was obvious as Qualcomm was running out of numbers — thanks to the launch of various Snapdragon number-series models in the recent past. Qualcomm also seems to now be promoting Snapdragon as a distinct brand by using the new nomenclature.Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 carries an all-new branding that sans the company’s number-series titlePhoto Credit: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is also claimed to have some compelling features including an 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) that enables capturing of 8K HDR videos. There is also a new always-on ISP that Qualcomm says will help enable always-on face unlocking, and lock the device when you are not looking at the screen. This particular update may raise some privacy concerns though.Qualcomm has also developed an on-device AI technology in partnership with health-tech company Sonde Health that is claimed to analyse users’ vocal patterns to determine whether they are at risk of health conditions including asthma, depression, and COVID-19.The features that come with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 may help Qualcomm retain its strong presence in the smartphone market in 2022 and make it an active competitor against Taiwan’s MediaTek that also has its Dimensity range of 5G chips.Alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 as its new chip for premium Windows laptops and Chromebooks. It comes as the successor to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 and is built using the 5nm process technology. The chip claims to offer faster performance over competitive x86 platforms. The company also brought the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chip for affordable laptops and Chromebooks, along with 5G connectivity support.Both Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 appear to be Qualcomm’s answer to Intel and AMD — the traditional chipmakers in the market of laptops. However, Qualcomm rival MediaTek is also exploring to gain both revenues and popularity in the laptop market with its own chips.And as a foray into a new market, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 as its first chip for handheld gaming devices. This could be embraced by manufacturers looking to develop dedicated hardware for mobile gamers. Companies including Asus, Black Shark, and Nubia in the past tried to please that audience with their gaming phones. But Qualcomm seems to have taken a different approach this time.Qualcomm showcased a handheld gaming device concept in collaboration with Razer that it is giving to developers to build games for its new move. We are, though, yet to see how big the chipmaker and partners like Razer could do to make a shift in the gaming industry with their ongoing efforts.Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Handheld Gaming Developer Kit is a concept of what we could see in the futurePhoto Credit: Qualcomm We discuss all this and more in this episode of Orbital. You can catch it by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.You can also find the Gadgets 360 podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Gaana, JioSaavn, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.Don’t forget to follow/ subscribe to Orbital wherever you’re listening. Please also rate us and leave a review.New Orbital episodes release every Friday, so make sure to tune in each week.

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