Microsoft announced that it would be working with its partners to release ultra-low-cost Windows laptops just over a month ago, it looks like HP will release one of the first of these ultra-low-cost computers. The HP Stream 14 is a 14-inch, Windows 8.1 computer that is expected to sell for a paltry $199. The Stream 14 has an AMD processor, 1366 x 768 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of internal storage, and a slot for an SD card. If you ignore the Windows stickers that are surely going to be located on the palm rests of the Stream 14, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from HP’s Chromebook 14, a popular 14-inch Chromebook released late last year.
In order to combat the continued sales growth of ultra-cheap Chromebooks, Microsoft and PC manufactures are offering Windows machines at at comparable, $200 prices. We knew this was coming, but now a leak of the upcoming HP Stream 14 gives us our first look at what these laptops will actually be. With full specs still live on HP’s site, we have a pretty clear picture of how the Stream is spec’d out. The notebook offers a Chromebookish resolution of 1366×768, but its brain is not Intel or ARM but rather a low-power quad-core AMD A4 “Mullins” processor, and Radeon R3 graphics. To round it all out, HP also includes 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB flash storage, and an expandable SDXC slot. And naturally, the big differentiator is that it runs full Windows 8.1 and can handle any Windows program that its innards can deal with. The 14 Stream will also work directly with Microsoft cloud storage services though still running Windows 8.1. You’ll also get 2 years of 100GB OneDrive with your purchase. The Stream is due out by this holiday season, so we may here more details about it, and other Windows-based Chromebook competitors at the upcoming IFA conference in early September. So there you have it. Microsoft has officially (more or less) begun embracing the Chromebook “fad” in its own special way. On a totally unrelated note, I’m just going to leave this here.