Like the price of Chromebooks, but want the greater flexibility and apps of Windows? HP has you covered with the HP Stream, an AMD-powered 14-inch notebook running Windows 8.1, which will be available September 24 for $299.
Basically, the HP Stream looks like the upcoming HP Chromebook 14--also $299--but with an AMD processor and Windows 8.1 operating system. Powered by an AMD A4 (Mullins) chip, the HP Stream will have just 32GB of eMMC flash memory, but will also have an SD card slot, and come with 100GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage free for two years.
Its 14.1-inch display will have a resolution of 1366 x 768, but lacks a touchscreen, so you'll have to rely on the touchpad for Windows 8 gestures. At 3.8 pounds, it's the same weight as the Chromebook 14, and, like that system, has three USB ports, HDMI, and a microSD card slot.
The thermal profile of the AMD processor in the HP Stream is low enough so that the notebook doesn't require cooling fans, and HP estimates that the notebook should last up to 6.5 hours on a charge.
Ironically, even if you wanted to install a lot of Windows apps, the limited amount of storage on the Stream will prevent you from doing so. It's also not ideal for those who plan to take a ton of photos or video, even if you plan on eventually storing them in the cloud.
The HP Stream is the first sign that Microsoft is taking the threat posed by Google seriously, but I'm not sure that simply slapping Windows on an erstwhile Chromebook is necessarily the answer. It will be interesting to compare the performance of the Chromebook and the Stream side by side, so stay tuned.
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