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

HP Stream

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 HP 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 AMD 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 Microsoft’s cloud storage services, much the way a Chromebook works with Google 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.

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