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HP looks to challenge Chromebooks with $200 Windows notebook

gadgets Updated: Aug 20, 2014 15:01 IST

The HP Stream could be the first in a new line of cut-price PCs that want to offer consumers a Microsoft-based alterative to Google's clever little laptops.

Inexpensive, superfast and essentially virus free, Chromebooks have really started to catch on with teachers, students and consumers alike. So much so that sales are going up when the rest of the PC industry is still going through a downturn.

And, thanks to their flexibility as an education tool, they`re even eating into iPad sales.

Clearly worried about the competition, Microsoft announced during its partner conference in July that it wanted to offer consumers a similarly priced Windows-powered alternative, and the first sub-$200 notebook from a premium PC maker, HP, has just leaked ahead of a suspected September launch.

Called the HP Stream, it will cost $199 and run Windows 8.1. It will come with a 14-inch display and 2GB of memory and can be ordered with a 32GB or 64GB solid state hard drive.

That's not a lot of space for applications or documents and so, just like Google does with its Chromebooks, the Stream will be coming with 100GB of cloud storage bundled in free of charge. Other nice touches include four speakers and Beats Audio, plus integrated webcam, USB and HDMI ports.

HP is yet to confirm when the notebook will launch but it is expected to go on sale in time to cash in on the back to school market.

By Christmas it will have been joined by a host of similar Windows notebooks in the $200-$250 bracket from all the big PC brands.