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Microsoft and Google have not got along over the past few years.
You see, Microsoft doesn’t like how Google’s Chromebooks are taking away PC market share. Microsoft argues that Chromebooks are useless when they’re not connected to the internet and that users are extremely limited when it comes to software and features.
Both of those things are true. Unfortunately for Microsoft, many users don’t really care about those things.
Instead, they care about things like price. And when you can buy a working, internet-connected laptop for $199, that’s a tough deal to beat.
Microsoft finally figured it out this past week as it prepared to unveil a new $199 laptop designed to compete directly with Chrome.
Introducing the HP Stream
That Chromebook competitor is made by Microsoft’s OEM partner HP. The HP Stream costs $199 and its specs were recently leaked onto a German website.
The HP Stream 14 will come with the following tech specs:
-1.6GHz AMD A4 Micro-6400T quadcore SoC
-32GB and 64GB option
-Four speakers with Beats audio
-Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, SD card reader, HDMI out, USB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, and 1960mAh battery
Now, there’s some disagreement about the exact HP Stream tech specs. Neither HP nor Microsoft have officially released the Stream’s tech specs, so we’re relying on leaks from tech news websites like Mobile Geeks and Liliputing, both of which got their info from PC retailers.
Why it’s better than a Chromebook
Many are comparing the Stream 14 to the HP Chromebook 14 – in fact, the two laptops are extremely similar. The main difference is that the Chromebook is limited to 16GB of storage space (although users also get 100GB of extra storage space via Google Drive).
In addition to the $199 HP Stream, Acer and Toshiba are both preparing to release $249 laptops of their own. These miniature, lower-powered laptops are designed to compete directly against the low-cost Chromebooks.
Why would you buy a Windows PC over a Chromebook? Here are a few major advantages:
-More storage space
-The ability to install Windows desktop software (Chromebook users are restricted to Chrome apps)
-The ability to use your computer when you’re offline, something that the Chromebook really struggles with
-Perfect compatibility with Microsoft Office software suite, something which is impossible with Chromebooks (which use Google Docs)
Microsoft won the netbook wars against lower-cost competitors like Linux. Could it do the same with budget laptops?
We’ll have to wait to see: the HP Stream 14 does not yet have an official release date.