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Photo: Kano

Educational electronics maker Kano is launching an updated version of the Kano PC, its modular $300 Windows laptop.

Why it matters: The educational electronics market has grown increasingly important in the coronavirus era with students stuck at home. Competition has also grown, as companies like Sphero shift energy there and away from the consumer market.

  • Kano has sold computer kits as well as coding accessories, including Disney and Harry-Potter-themed options for a while. With its latest computer, Kano sees an opportunity to also target the low end of the educational laptop market.
  • "The computer, at $300, performs much better due to optimization than many laptops that sell for $400, $500 or more," CEO Alex Klein told Axios.

Flashback: Kano's computers were once sold only as a kit — the learning process of assembling the machine was a key selling point.

  • The new model will be available both as a kit and preassembled and features an upgraded processor, longer battery life and a range of add-on accessories — along with a yearlong educational curriculum that pairs with the laptop.
  • Kano is also partnering more closely with Microsoft, which has invested in Kano and is also helping the company with distribution.

The big picture: Kano is promoting a modular design allowing purchasers to add accessories or replace components instead of buying a whole new computer.

  • The company is offering a series of accessories to start, including headphones, a webcam and mouse. The PC will be available immediately, with the accessories due to ship in August.

Yes, but: Modularity has often proved elusive in tech. PCs were once considerably more expandable, but cost-cutting and a push toward smaller designs have limited those options.

  • Efforts to make smartphones more modular have also struggled. Google and Motorola gave up on Project Ara, which was to have been a truly modular device. Motorola continues to sell its Z line which offers modular add-ons such as cameras, projectors and speakers, but it remains a niche product.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.