My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: US$200 HP Stream Netbooks and Tablets with Microsoft Windows 8.1 on Free 1TB Microsoft OneDrive Cloud

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

US$200 HP Stream Netbooks and Tablets with Microsoft Windows 8.1 on Free 1TB Microsoft OneDrive Cloud

Gentle people, Christmas has come to HP (Hewlett Packard) in the form of a Stream!

Google Chromebooks watch out, as despite being headed for a tripling of their sales by 2017 as explained in my blog article entitled “Chromebooks Sales to Triple by 2017 – How Rapid Sales Heaven for PC Makers means Apple iPad and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 under attack”, Microsoft is definitely coming from behind in their rear-view mirror.

On Monday September 29th 2014, HP unveiled its new line of ultra cheap US$200 HP Stream Notebooks running Windows 8 at a Press Event in New York as stated in the article “HP thinks its $200 Stream notebook is the future of Windows computing”, published Sep 29, 2014 3:00 PM by Michael Brown, PCWorld and “HP unveils budget Windows Stream notebooks with 1TB OneDrive storage”, published September 30, 2014 -- 10:04 GMT (03:04 PDT) By Liam Tung, ZDNet.

The Laptops are as follows:

1.      US$200 11.6" HP Stream Notebook
2.      US$230 13.3" HP Stream Notebook

Dubbed Stream, the Notebooks are a follow-on to the US$200 HP Stream 14 which was launched Monday September 8th 2014 as stated in the article “HP Stream adds Chromebook-like laptops and tablets, with Windows 8”, published September 8, 2014 8:00 AM PDT, CNET News.

So now that there are three of them, what’s new? And what’s this I hear about Tablets and Free Cloud Storage?

HP Stream Laptops and Tablets – Microsoft bringing the heat on Android and Chrome OS

Microsoft, apparently upset that they’re not feeling the love for their Windows Operating System, has decided to tag-team with HP and throw us a bone. Especially now that the licensing costs on Windows Operating System was lowered by 70% back in February 2014 as stated in my blog article entitled “Microsoft cuts cost of Windows 8 Licensing by 70% - Low cost Windows 8 Tablets coming as Microsoft is now Walking with the Enemy, Google Chrome OS”.

HP was one of those companies that left the Windows fold. But after teasing their Stream initiative earlier in September at the IFA Trade Show with sub-US$250 prices and offers of Microsoft OneDrive and Office365 as stated in “At IFA, Microsoft counters Chromebooks, Android with dirt-cheap Windows devices”, published Sep 4, 2014 6:49 AM by Brad Chacos, PCWorld, it’s nice to see the product in the flesh!

For as low as US$230, you can purchase either of 2 flavours of HP Stream Notebook come November 2014 as stated in the article “HP’S 11.6, 13.3-INCH STREAM LAPTOPS START AT $200, TRUDGES IN ON CHROMEBOOK’S TURF”, published September 29, 2014 By Konrad Krawczyk, DigitalTrends.

As if to sweeten the deal, they’ve also included a pair of new Tablets:

1.      US$100 7" HP Stream 8 Tablet
2.      US$150 8" HP Stream 8 Tablet

No specs were given but these pair of HP Stream Tablets remind me of the US$160 7" Dell Venue 7 and the US$200 8" Dell Venue 8 running Google android Kitkat but with better pricing as stated in my blog article entitled “US$160 7-inch Dell Venue 7 and US$200 8-inch Dell Venue 8 - Pure Android 4.4 KitKat Tablet in Red and Black”.

Clearly, Microsoft and HP have formed a tag team to bring some heat not only Google Chrome OS powered Chromebooks but also Google Android Tablets as well via competitively priced hardware paired with an improved Windows 8.1!

Didn’t I just say Christmas came early? HP’s also throwing in a US$25 Gift Card to buy to buy Apps, videos or Xbox games from the Windows Store.

So how is this better than Google Chromebooks that are now all the rage, such as the US$299 Acer Chromebook 13, which comes packed with the graphics Processing muscle of an Nvidia K1 Processor as well as a 2 years free 100GB Google Drive Cloud Storage as noted in my blog article entitled “US$299 Acer Chromebook 13 by Acer - How Nvidia K1 Processor Under the Hood means that Cloud Gaming on the Horizon by 2017”?

Short answer, more Microsoft OneDrive Cloud storage!

USS$200 HP Stream – Windows 8 floating on a Microsoft OneDrive Cloud

Now with the offers solidified, the details are where it gets interesting. The HP Stream line comes in 2 flavours:

1.      US$200 11.6" HP Stream Notebook
2.      US$230 13.3" HP Stream Notebook

Fanless-Celeron Processors power these clamshell throwbacks to the Netbook Era with 32GB of eMMC Flash Memory with Windows 8.1 pre-installed. It's an upgraded version, as it's capable of running on 1GB of RAM that outputs to a HD Screen with a resolution close to 1366x768. Good to note here that the 13.3" HP Stream Notebook has a touch screen and has styling similar to its HP's Touchscreen Chromebooks.

With such a measly hard-drive, it might as well be a Tablet. That's where the Microsoft OneDrive comes into play. Microsoft is offering 1TB of Microsoft OneDrive Cloud for a year, a far better deal than Google's 100GB for 2 years that's typically on offer with the purchase of a Google Chromebook.

Even more interesting, they're also teaming up with T-Mobile to offer 200MB of data per month with the 13.3" versions of the HP Stream Notebook contract-free for the life of the device, so long as you play nice with T-Mobile.

These Notebooks, which should really be called Netbooks as their performance mirrors their Intel Atom Processor based predecessors, at least have decent battery life to start:

1.      8hrs 15 min for the 11.6" HP Stream Notebook
2.      7hrs 45min for the 13.3" HP Stream Notebook

Their psychedelic colour scheme, though, combined with their cut-rate price, will help them sell well as they'll make any user stand out in a crowd and are clearly geared towards female first time laptop purchaser:

1.      Orchid Magenta
2.      Horizon Blue

HP Stream a Deal for Jamaicans – US$25 Gift Card and Free 1TB Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft wasn’t planning to take a beating from Google Chromebooks much longer. Their cheaper Google Chrome Operating System was resulting in a string of defections among their usually loyal PC Manufacturers.

Starting with Samsung in 2012, who like the higher sell-through of theses scaled down Network Cloud computers as stated in my blog article entitled “Lenovo and HP now making Chromebooks - Google Chrome OS is being Built from the Cloud Up as Microsoft experiences the Side Effects”.

Jamaican reading this will think that this must be some sort of cruel joke, as this is an affordable deal, not matter how underwhelmed the Netbook may perform. They'll especially be drawn to the offer of a 1TB Microsoft OneDrive, which coincidentally arrives 2 months after Microsoft made my blog article entitled “Microsoft rewards OneDrive users with 15GB Free Storage - How Office 365 users can get 1TB Free Storage as they Chase Google Drive”.

So at least for one year, you get a Free 1TB Microsoft OneDrive, with the option to pay US$.9.99 per month for the service once the one year freebie expires. At least you can use the US$25 Gift Card to buy Apps, videos or Xbox games from the Windows Store.

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