Hello, HP Stream 14: A $199 Windows laptop aimed squarely at the Chromebook market

47 Comments

Credit: Mobile Geeks

HP will help lead the charge toward lower-priced Microsoft Windows computers this year with an expected $199 laptop called the HP Stream 14. Details for the device leaked out on Monday with an official data sheet found by Mobile Geeks. The 14-inch laptop is a definite reaction to the small but growing market for Chromebooks and even includes a cloud storage feature similar to the one found on Google-powered laptops.

HP Stream

The [company]HP[/company] Stream 14 itself shares many other features with Chromebooks: It has a 1366 x 768 display, for example, which is nearly ubiquitous on Chrome OS laptops. An energy-efficient [company]AMD[/company] chip powers the Stream 14, combined with 2 GB of memory and either 32 or 64 GB of flash storage as well as an SDXC card slot. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a trio of USB ports, HDMI out and a webcam make up the rest of the package. Like the Android SlateBook 14 that HP also sells, the HP Stream 14 will have four speakers and support Beats Audio.

The 3.9-pound laptop runs Windows 8.1, of course, and is tied directly to [company]Microsoft’s[/company] cloud storage services, much the way a Chromebook works with [company]Google[/company] Drive. Indeed, just like a Chromebook, the HP Steam 14 will come with 100 GB of OneDrive storage for two years. I wonder where that idea came from?

I expect many other similar low-cost laptops to arrive by year’s end, since last month Microsoft publicly acknowledged the threat of Chromebooks. The company isn’t willing to cede the bottom of the market to Google and said it will be working with hardware partners to create compelling choices for Windows laptops in the $199 to $249 price range.

47 Comments

Kremer

So basically, it is a laptop where the hardware itself is only $100? The $100 laptop is here! :D I want one without the Windows license!

aharper

Hmmm. I think it may be fairly underpowered for Win8, but all of the hardware would be supported under Linux unless such a mod is locked out somehow.

Rann Xeroxx

W8.1u2 is coded to run very well on very low spec hardware. The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a good example and that is a Atom processor with eMM. This PC has 2x the RAM even required.

g43

I’d rather use x86, with the possibility of a legacy (aka proper) bootloader, than ARM, with a locked and useless bootloader, so this is good. I also like netbooks, so it’s good to see that trend again.

brotherbob

This might be a good machine, except it will have windows for an OS, that in itself ruins it.

eduardom

Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot here. The lower the price of the hardware, the less money there is to pay for Windows.

Oh, and the question is not which is better, Windows or Chrome OS. Rather, it is what percentage of present-day home users of Windows computers would be happier with Chome OS. My guess is it would be around 50%.

praxis22

Like the slate and the phone before it, this is something MSFT need to exist. So no wonder they’re building it. I wonder what battery life is like, and whether it’s any good? That said to really spur adoption I think they’d need to pitch it at $99 every so often.

This is going to end up as an ecosystem play by Google if they’re not careful. Android apps on your chromebook will probably go down well with people who bought cheap Androids.

afroskeptic

Although admittedly I like the Chromebook concept this device could be interesting in the education market. Full tests will tell if its good enough to boot and will run a full version of Office which always seems to be the saving grace for MS. I recently installed a non-bloated version of Win 8.1 and it was almost 30GB. I wonder how they will address the space limitations and keep the price point?

I assume it will only run Modern UI?

Rann Xeroxx

Sounds like it will be running Windows with Bing which only means its retail Windows and Bing is setup as the default browser (but that option can be changed). MS is licencing this to OEMs at no cost for low cost PCs.

Bobby Vaughn

In the past, HP has loaded their computers full of crapware. I wonder how many icons will want you to go to HP and buy ink or download a newer version of trialware already installed?

VIncenzo

I’d buy this if it were lighter and 13″ inch instead of 14″.

Rhys Sage

Now we just need to buy that, erase Windows and put Android/OSX/Linux on it and we’ll have a usable laptop.

Rann Xeroxx

Linux I can see but how would putting OSX or Android make this thing more usable than Windows 8x?

Scott W

MS should just allow dual boot window / chrome OS desktops. I remember about a year ago a manufacturer was planning that was told. No F***ing way.

But as a chromebook users. I only need Windows features once a week or month and would pay an extra $50 to $100 to not need another piece of hardware. To run windows software.

Rann Xeroxx

As a Windows user, I never need to boot into ChromeOS for anything as Chrome Apps can be run from Windows.

Microsoft keeping ChromeOS off of Windows devices is about the same as Google keeping Google services off of WP8 or Metro, just a business decision to protect their own service, understandable really.

elvirs

i had owned 4 laptops before i switched to chromebook and i never looked back. my first one was xp, then vista, then 7 and last one was win8. all of them except for the xp one got super slow and half functioning after around a year. and i think its just written into windows to slow down after a while to push customers to buy new laptops. this winter when i went back to visit my parents i took my windows 8 laptop with me and they still had the xp one and i kid u not the xp was faster at almost anything. all my work is web based and i dont play games on my laptop so chromebook is more than enough and i always will be thankful to google for all their amazing free web based services

Rann Xeroxx

I have never had an W8x PC slow down and that is with installing and removing and installing all kinds of software.

But just comparing a ChromeBook and how you run it… if you just install only Metro apps and run as a Standard User, there is nothing to slow your W8x PC. Heck, you can install Chrome and run only Chrome apps if you like while still having the option to install that one or two Windows app you need. You can also plug in almost any device and have it work, connect to printers, etc.

Peter Amor

For those with an Office subscription already this would be a pretty good option particularly given the 5TB of OneDrive storage you can get now. Assuming performance is acceptable – which I think it would be with Win8.1 on those specs – I can see this as a pretty good device for a family member e.g. Kids.

dee

Posters are correct regarding HP’s quality and I’m working on my relative’s computer after the latest screwed up update. In addition, 2 gigs of Ram is enough ram to run Windows 7 well with all my security stuff: third party virus protection and firewall.

philip d space

yeah, right, sure.

It may be the same physical hardware cost as the Chromebook

BUT

just wait until you have to pay the subscription fee for MS Office 365 to do any work on it.

Google Drive with its FREE software still wins.

Rann Xeroxx

You do realize that nothing is stopping you from installing Chrome, running Chrome apps, including Google Docs on this, right? And in fact you also have OneDrive with Office Web Apps as well. Heck, you can use iCloud with Apple apps on this.

Mike S

Price is only part of the reason someone might choose a Chromebook. It’s also the low maintenance aspect. There’s no way a Windows laptop, especially an underpowered one, is going to be low maintenance.

Rann Xeroxx

If you are buying into the whole “cloud app” philosophy of ChromeOS and you run your Windows 8x PC the same way, what maintenance are you going to have with W8x? Updates are just set to install automatically, you install apps from the App Store, etc. When you do need that one or two apps, something like iTunes, you can install it. Set your account as Standard User so you can’t even make changes to the OS.

TJ

Does anyone else remember the articles back in 2009 about Microsoft wanting to kill the netbook market? (If not, just search for microsoft kill netbook) Microsoft had just laid off 5,000, Vista was foundering, and iPad was eating their lunch.

Now its 18,000 laid off, Windows 8 is foundering, and iPads and Chromebooks are eating their lunch. My, how times have changed???

Marion

Soon Apple, Google, and others will be eating MS’ dinner. Their breakfast is gone, their lunch is almost gone, MS has only their dinner left. They’re going to be starving soon if they don’t get any traction. Give them a bone, please.

john G

Nobody remembers how MS saved Apple? Yeah things are the same (sort of) and, yeah, history repeats, And Apple is having its own struggles.

Namby Crumpmu

It’s Ok for Apple to eat Microsoft’s dinner. Just another instance where recycling is a good thing.

Pooh

Poor choice for a partner. Both high end and low end HP models are famous for failing after whatever the warranty is. The exception being the large 15 inch budget desktopish laptops. Why those survive, I have no idea. But I would never trust a small low end laptop from hp.

They should have partnered with someone who does quality testing and stands behind their products. Toshiba or Lenovo, maybe?

mike

The interesting thing here to me is that this is using the AMD ‘Mullins’ platform, which was thought to be geared toward tablet use. This in contrast to same family ‘Beema’ hardware from AMD directed toward laptops.
It will be very interesting to see how this compares with the Baytrail stuff which is becoming ubiquitous. Similarly interested to see if these AMD platforms come to ChromeOS as well.
It’s also interesting that we have 2GB of RAM present. Given the hard storage constraints I’d think this is using the new Windows trickery of running everything from the compressed image. This approach, designed for use in tablets I think, allows RAM down to 1GB as I recall. I wonder if they stayed with 2GB due to performance concerns or an attempt to better match the typical Chromebook hardware.
In any event I’m happy with the decision as I think modern Windows moves along reasonably enough under 2GB. Power users won’t be happy but Joe internet checking his/her mail and Facebook won’t mind a bit.
I do worry about the tradition Windows bloat and cruft build-up on such storage limited systems. I’m also curious how well the Bluetooth 3 throughput does on these systems. Hanging an external USB drive off of it might make for a decently versatile system either for a Desktop or HTPC.
Will be very interested to see the reviews and also what sale prices turn into for the holidays – or perhaps refurb prices.
I’ll admit I had thought myself done with Windows generally. But if I can pick up something decently versatile and usable on sale or refurb for $150 or below then there might still be a home for Windows under my roof.

fredhstein

Interesting. Truly disruptive price.

Puzzled by what’s in it for HP? The intent must be to get users hooked on MSFT’s OneDrive. HP sells other low price devices – tablets, notebooks, etc. So this would erode and confuse these businesses.

Is this HPQ/MSFT meant to counter AAPL/IBM in the enterprise. Is it a consumer play?

John Selden

Wow, that’s cheaper than most Chromebooks. How is that possible? Is Microsoft subsidizing the cost?

I’d be afraid of poor performance by Windows on such low-end hardware. Windows has traditionally suffered from “OS rot,” where it got slower and slower over time. I don’t know if Windows 8 suffers from the same malady, but I won’t be an early adopter to find out.

Mark

I’d have to agree with John. Not sure how it is possible. It could only be Windows in name for multiple reasons. 1 – the resources windows needs. 2 – Microsoft would have to be providing the OS (and whatever else) for no cost.

Kevin C. Tofel

Right; we don’t know what the experience will be like on this device yet, which is part of the equation. The AMD chip is likely less expensive than an Intel for one thing and it’s even possible as Mark says that Microsoft is quietly subsidizing the license or other costs.

mike

I wonder if they are subsidizing given the price point. I’m guessing this is the “Windows with Bing” SKU which MS is giving for free at these prices.
But HPs own Haswell based Chromebooks were quite similar and sold for around a $300 base.
We can assume Windows is free or insanely cheap to HP here. That would wash with ChromeOS – which HP probalby paid a few bucks to MS in protection money for using as well. So Windows might be cheaper but I doubt it is very much cheaper.
This AMD hardware might be cheaper than the Intel stuff too, as you say. But it seems like it couldn’t be possibly cheap enough to account for the $100 price difference here.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if MS is actualy subsidizing. They throw a lot of money at propping up their consumer products already. It’s hard to not get free cloud storage from them every time you trip. And they have ongoing incentive systems for using Bing browser as well. Would not surprise me at all to find out they decided to try throwing more cash at stamping out ChromeOS before it gets too big. Though I rather suspect they are already too late.

Rann Xeroxx

This is not your father’s Windows. Check out the Dell Venue 8 Pro and how fluid it runs and that is on a Atom chip and these are on AMD chips. W8.1u2 really is optimized for light hardware.

Albin

I got my Acer netbook with W7 with the old 1GB RAM first gen Atom specs and it runs “well enough” – these specs would run W8 just fine.

cri33

Well then shoot, maybe I will try it. I have a copy sitting right here. Only problem is that it doesn’t want to be in a dual boot config with Win 8 Pro.

cri33

It gets slower and slower over time because of the amount of crap that users inadvertently download, inc me. That isn’t the fault of the OS, its the fault of the user.

Kremer

Windows suffers from a problem called creep. They have been trying to address it for a very long time. Unix and Unix-like systems do not suffer from this. It isn’t the user’s fault, it is the NT architecture’s fault.

Rann Xeroxx

Have not seen “creep” with any of my W8x PCs so far.

And in fact if you are running this Windows device like you would run a ChromeOS device, you are not installing big legacy apps. You also have OneDrive sync that allows you to put all your settings, files, bookmarks, wallpapers, etc in the cloud and not only have it replicate your desktop (to allow you to use this cheap device as a companion device) but also allow Set to Factory Default and then restore.

The argument for ChromeBooks has been that you don’t need all that legacy stuff. Well if you don’t need it on a ChromeBook, why would you need it on a light W8.1U2 device? Truthfully I love my Surface RT tab but there are just a hand full of legacy apps that I need such as my corporate VoIP or VPN. Its not about loading down one of these W8.1U2 device, just having those few apps that make ChromeBooks a no go for many people.

snuggles

I’m actually kind of liking this. Please let us know when you get your paws on one for a review.

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