Microsoft has begun inviting members of the press to a media event scheduled for May 2, 2017, in New York City. Details on the event are light other than Microsoft saying it will be focused on education. Several sites are speculating that it will involve Microsoft's Surface products, though do not expect a new generation Surface Book or Surface Pro 5 announcement, neither of which are on tap for this event.
Instead, rumor has it Microsoft will focus on a cloud-based version of Windows 10. If that is the case, it could tie in with a Surface product designed to give Google's Chromebook products a run for their money. Chromebooks never did become all that popular among mainstream buyers, but in schools, Google has found buyers among teachers and students. Ease of use and virus avoidance are two of the big selling points.
Microsoft could be looking to gain back some ground that's been lost to Chromebooks. It has already done that to some extent with the recent proliferation of low-cost Windows notebooks, but Chromebooks are still finding buyers. A look at the top-selling laptops on Amazon shows an ASUS Chromebook priced at $199 in the No. 2 sport, sandwiched between a couple of Acer Aspire laptops. Spots 7, 8, 12, and 16 also belong to Chromebooks.
A low-cost Surface tablet or laptop running a cloud version of Windows 10 would give Microsoft another product to dangle in front of educators and students. It would also help Microsoft to further promote apps in its Windows Store, assuming it can win over Chromebook customers with a Windows alternative.
Of course, this is all speculation. Microsoft might also roll out a lightly refreshed version of its Surface Pro 4 device with Kaby Lake inside instead of Skylake.