In order to combat the continued sales growth of ultra-cheap Chromebooks, Microsoft and PC manufacturers are offering Windows machines at comparable $US200 prices. We knew this was coming, but now a leak of the upcoming HP Stream 14 gives us our first look at what these laptops will actually be.
With full specs still live on HP's site, we have a pretty clear picture of how the Stream is specced out. The notebook offers a Chromebookish resolution of 1366x768, but its brain is not Intel or ARM but rather a low-power quad-core AMD A4 "Mullins" processor, and Radeon R3 graphics. To round it all out, HP also includes 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB flash storage, and an expandable SDXC slot. And naturally, the big differentiator is that it runs full Windows 8.1 and can handle any Windows program that its innards can deal with.
The 14 Stream will also work directly with Microsoft cloud storage services though still running Windows 8.1. You'll also get two years of 100GB OneDrive with your purchase. The Stream is due out by this holiday season, so we may here more details about it, and other Windows-based Chromebook competitors at the upcoming IFA conference in early September.
So there you have it. Microsoft has officially (more or less) begun embracing the Chromebook "fad" in its own special way. On a totally unrelated note, I'm just going to leave this here.