If you're looking for a great Windows notebook for the cost of a Chromebook, HP may have something for you soon. The company has been working on a $200 14-inch Windows 8.1 laptop called the Stream, and it looks almost ready for launch.
While the Stream was previously mentioned at a Microsoft partner conference earlier this year, the device has not yet been officially announced. But Mobile Geeks spotted some supporting documents for the Stream 14, such as a service manual and a user guide, posted to the HP website recently. This suggests the laptop is almost ready for sale.
Based on the service manual, the Stream will measure 13.5 x 9.5 x 0.7 inches, weigh 3.86 pounds and feature a 14-inch 1366 x 768 display. It will also pack an AMD "Mullins" processor instead of an Intel chip, which is typically in more expensive notebooks. You'll also get 2GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage, which is relatively light for a laptop, but not surprising given the low cost.
In addition, the Stream will carry three USB ports (one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0) and four speakers with Beats Audio enhancements.
The Stream looks to be the first in a lineup of aggressively priced Windows 8.1 notebooks to take on Chromebooks. At the partner conference, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner also mentioned upcoming affordable laptops from Acer and Toshiba that will cost just $250. HP itself is also expected to launch 8- and 9-inch models of the Stream for $100.
Chromebooks are traditionally lightweight laptops running Google's Chrome OS and have made a splash, thanks to generally low prices starting from $150. Chromebook sales are expected to triple by 2017, while worldwide PC shipments have taken a dip. This lineup of low-cost Windows laptops could improve the outlook for Microsoft, but we'll have to wait for full reviews of the devices to know for sure.