HP's Stream Tablet Line Brings Fresh Ammunition in Microsoft / Google War

By Steve Anderson September 30, 2014

Microsoft has been in something of a less than pleasant position lately. With the PC market—desktops and laptops alike—in something of a decline in favor of mobile devices, and the mobile device market largely dominated by Apple and Google, this has left Microsoft to stage a come-from-behind fight in the mobile markets. While reports suggest Microsoft is currently taking the third place slot, there's no reason to think that Microsoft isn't planning to make a run at the top, and an unlikely ally has stepped in to help in the form of HP's new line of Stream tablets and laptops.

The current reports say that the Stream line is set to start shipping in November, making it a likely candidate for upcoming holiday shopping. But what will HP be offering for those potential holiday shoppers? Actually, a fairly exciting package: there are two versions of the Stream, the seven inch Stream 7, and the eight inch Stream 8. Both are said to run on processors based on Intel releases, which should offer up the kind of Windows 8.1 experience that's found on a full-size desktop or laptop system, and both tablets will reportedly come with a free year of Office 365 Personal. The Stream 8, however, will offer up an extra 200 megabytes worth of 4G data access at no charge every month, with no contract necessary. The Stream 7 is set to sell at $99.99, while the Stream 8 is set to go for $149.99.

Meanwhile, the Stream laptops come in two sizes as well, an 11.6 inch version and a 13.3 inch version. Neither Stream laptop has a touchscreen included, but reports suggest that said laptops can be configured with a touchscreen. Both laptops are set to offer up 32 gigabytes of storage, an Intel Celeron processor, two gigabytes of RAM and a terabyte of free storage on Microsoft OneDrive for a full year. The 11.6 inch version boasts a battery that will run for fully eight hours on one charge, and is set to sell at $199.99. While battery stats weren't made available on the 13.3 inch version, reports suggest it will sell at $229.99.

The laptops are being referred to, in some circles, as “Chromebook killers”, and it's clear to see why. On several fronts, the new HP laptops seem to be offering much the same proposition as a Chromebook at about the same price, with a little extra value. This may well be the kind of thing that Microsoft needs to better compete with Google, especially given that Google has quite a head start. In order to break into the field better than it has, Microsoft has to be a clearly demonstrated superior value to Google and Apple alike. While Apple might be tougher, thanks to the power of Apple's name recognition in its target market, breaking open a cut of Google's market might be as simple as providing a quality product at a value price. Better yet, Microsoft reportedly has further help coming in from Toshiba, who recently released the seven inch Encore Mini at $120, though reports say that may drop to $99 soon.

Microsoft isn't letting a perfectly good market go by, and though some reports suggest the market may be moving from mobile devices to wearables, Microsoft looks to still get a slice of this market on the way out. Give Microsoft due credit; it's certainly not wanting for initiative in a challenging market.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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