At Microsoft’s partner conference today the company’s COO Kevin Turner announced that this holiday season HP is going to release a $199 laptop that runs on Windows. This would take Windows into Chromebook territory as the latter has already seen a surge in its adoption due to the fact that many Chromebooks are very competitively priced. This isn’t Microsoft’s first move to move into the low-end segment of the market. In fact at its BUILD 2014 conference the company announced that it would offer Windows for free on select devices.
While Kevin didn’t reveal any specifications of the HP “Stream” device he did point out that several $249 Windows laptops are already available from the likes of Toshiba and Acer. The former’s laptop offers a 15.6-inch display with a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron processor. Intel’s Celeron processors appear to be pivotal in this push to the low-end segment.
It was also revealed today at the partner conference that HP will also release 7 and 8-inch versions of its Stream PCs all in time for the holiday season. “We’ve got a great value proposition against Chromebooks,” Turner said, adding that “we are not ceding the market to anyone.”
On the other hand Chromebooks might be ready to mount their own challenge and drive prices even lower. Chips from the likes of MediaTek and Rocketchip could enable OEMs to produce sub-$200 Chromebooks, thus keeping these devices relevant in this particular market segment. Looks like we’re in for an exciting holiday season this year.