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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

Franklin Graham worries Trump too old to run in 2024

Graham and Trump at a rally in 2017. Photo: Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Rev. Franklin Graham says a potential 2024 presidential bid by Donald Trump would "be a very tough thing to do," the prominent Christian leader told "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, was among Trump's earliest and most prominent evangelical defenders.

6 mins ago - Health

Franklin Graham would help Biden persuade evangelicals on vaccines

The Rev. Franklin Graham would be happy to work with the Biden administration on encouraging evangelicals to get COVID vaccines, he told "Axios on HBO."

  • "I would work with the Biden administration. I would work with the CDC. I would work with all of 'em to try to help save life," he told Axios' Mike Allen.

Why it matters: Evangelicals have expressed high levels of vaccine hesitancy.

7 mins ago - World

Most of Congress silent on Israeli-Palestinian fighting

A Palestinian boy mourns an airstrike victim on Sunday. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

The pitched criticism by conservatives over progressive outrage about the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians overshadows a larger silence by the vast majority of Congress.

Why it matters: In the largely permissive environment, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ratcheting up its military engagement in Gaza. The death toll is rising, and a spectacular weekend attack leveled a building housing the Associated Press and other outside media.