For a long time we’ve known that Microsoft and its partners were planning to take the cheap segment of the notebooks market back with new low-cost Windows machines, but we didn’t know was how decent those notebooks would be. Leaks of the HP Stream, a $199 notebook coming later this year indicate that users can expect some pretty decent machines to take on Chromebooks and cheap tablets too.
Documents and specifications leaked to MobileGeeks include almost all the details about the HP Stream, HP’s upcoming low-cost notebook designed to compete for the cheap notebooks space.
According to the leaked documents, the HP stream will be like no other cheap notebook running Windows that we’ve seen before. Reportedly, the HP Stream will include a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Unlike many of the machines that Microsoft and its partners have been pushing, the HP Stream won’t have a touchscreen display, allegedly. HP Stream buyers will have to rely on the device’s touchpad and gestures to select things and move around in the operating system.
Apps and programs will be handled by a low-end AMD processor with up to 1.6 Ghz of turbo boost, making it possible for HP to not have a fan in the HP Stream. Not having a fan is key to producing cheap notebooks that are battery efficient and quiet. Rounding out the internals of the cheap notebook running Windows will be a 720p front-facing webcam, four speakers with Beats Audio, Bluetooth 4.0, and SD card slot, and HDMI port, One USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports.
Users won’t have to rely on those USB ports alone to provide storage, internally the HP Stream will include either 64GB or 32GB of storage depending on the configuration it’s ordered in. It also appears that HP will allow users to customize the HP Stream on some level. In addition to choosing between storage options, the documents allude to the HP Stream supporting, “up to 2GB of on-board memory.” Users won’t be able to change the amount of storage the HP Stream has once its ordered.
The HP Stream is big news for the cheap notebooks space. In recent years, Chromebooks have started to eat into Microsoft’s share of the notebook’s market. Chromebooks hit all the high notes users are looking for. Each runs Google’s ChromeOS. ChromeOS doesn’t have nearly as many apps as Windows, but it doesn’t come with all the minuses either, mainly viruses and extras that users don’t want. Chromebooks like the Dell Chromebook 11 offer a reasonably large screen and full size keyboard for a very reasonable price. Even HP’s own Chromebook 14 offers some pretty robust features at just $329. The smaller HP Chromebook 11 costs $249.99, roughly $50 more than what the HP Stream will.
The HP Stream and cheap notebooks running Windows like it will come with their own set of advantages though. By hitting $199, Microsoft is even undercutting Chromebook pricing. What’s more, cheap Windows notebooks will be able to run full Windows applications like Microsoft Office. Chromebooks are gaining traction with users who don’t game on their PCs or create a lot of multimedia. In theory, a cheap notebooks running Windows should resonate with these shoppers too.
About the only thing that could derail the HP Stream is Windows 8. Thanks to the less than robust options the original version of the operating system arrived with, it at least appears that buyers are holding off on purchasing any machine with Windows 8 installed. The HP Stream will come with Windows 8.1, a more feature-rich version of the operating system, but only time will tell if that low price is enough to overcome Windows 8’s reputation with users.