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Microsoft ready to take on Android, Chrome OS with $99 Windows tabs, $199 laptops

Sections: Computers, Laptops, Mobile Computers

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Windows ChromeInexpensive Chrome OS-running notebooks, aka Chromebooks, are definitely moving up the PC market ranks, against all odds and in spite of a painfully sluggish start back in 2011.

Still highly dependent on the web, they’re nearing Windows popularity stateside, especially among tech users on tight budgets, thanks to decent hardware configurations and a rich slate of Google manufacturing partners that includes Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, Acer, Asus and HP.

But Microsoft can’t sit idly by while Google undermines its PC monopoly, so the first Windows-based laptop aimed squarely at Chromebooks is looming large on the horizon. Built by HP and dubbed Stream, the bad boy should run full Windows 8.1 (as in not the platform’s poor man’s RT alternative), yet cost a measly $199.

How is that even possible? Presumably, by cutting a bundle of hardware corners, although Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO, which confirmed the existence and MSRP of the Stream, was reluctant to detail actual specs.

Personally, I’d expect an 11.6-inch display with meager “HD” resolution, lethargic Intel Celeron processor, 2 GB RAM and either a tiny solid-state drive or a slightly larger HDD. Probably the latter. Cringe worthy list of features, but at 200 bucks, it’s more than enough.

Likely prepped for a commercial push in time for the holiday season, the uber-affordable Stream shall be chaperoned to market by a couple of 6 to 7-inch HP tablets costing no more than $100 and running Windows 8.1 out the box.

Those will need to go toe to toe with similarly priced entry-level Android efforts such as Toshiba’s Excite Go or the HP 7 Plus, so that’s one more so far ignored niche Microsoft plans to go after. Way to get competitive in the eleventh hour, MS.

Via [Techno Buffalo]

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