Just a few months ago, Microsoft talked briefly of a new version of Windows, unfortunately known as Windows 8.1 with Bing. The main difference was that the apparently stripped-back copy of Windows would come pre-installed with Internet Explorer, as well as Bing search by default. Though Microsoft had just one restriction for hardware makers: the price of the device itself must be low. And while, as far as we know, the restrictions to the OS don’t cut too deep, the price does. Available to OEMs for $0, the new version was heralded as a true competitor to the cheaper Android, Chrome OS, and Linux devices flooding the market, with a similar price to boot.
Despite its early announcement though, no real products emerged at that time. That is until now.
A new laptop from HP, shown to Microsoft Partners in July, is set to run the free OS out of the box, and with similar specs to HP’s pre-existing 14″ Chromebook, as well as a similar look, it could be the shake-up Microsoft’s been hoping for in the budget laptop space. At the moment, HP call it the HP Stream.
Though the real kicker is this: it’s $100 cheaper than the leading the same Chromebook, hitting a US$200 price point.
Packing a budget AMD processor, the same 1366 x 768 resolution screen, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 2GB of RAM, as well as an SD card slot, it definitely isn’t going to blow you away with performance. Though at the same time it beats Chrome OS in terms of local storage, with 32 and 64GB options, despite the fact that Windows likely eats up a considerable chunk of that initial storage pool. MobileGeeks also reports that Microsoft will throw in 100GB of OneDrive space, matching Google’s 100GB of Google Drive storage.
On paper Microsoft have created something that could very well kill the Chromebook. Taking a step back, it’s pretty much a Chromebook that can run real Windows software. It’s cheaper, and at every single spec will either match or beat Google’s offering. All that’s required from HP and Microsoft is execution and matched performance.
We’ll let you know if it comes down-under, though until then: