NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- HP (HPQ) introduced its new line of inexpensive Windows laptops and tablets designed to compete with Google's (GOOG) popular Chromebooks and Android tablets.
HP's Stream line consists of a brand new $199 laptop with an 11.6-inch HD screen starting price of $200, a $230 laptop with a 13.3-inch (diagonal) screen and two tablets, 7 and 8-inch screen models priced at $99 and $149, respectively. There is a touch-screen option available for the 13.3-inch notebook.
These new devices are part of Microsoft's (MSFT) attempt to slow the sale of super-popular Google-based devices by creating much cheaper computers running versions of its Windows OS. According to a recent research note from Gartner, Chromebook sales should increase 79%, this year, reaching 5.2 million units and are expected to nearly triple - reaching 14.4 million units - by 2017. Major Chromebook (both laptop and desktop models) include Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG and Samsung.
All of HP's Stream new devices use the Windows 8.1 operating system and are powered by Intel (INTC) processors. The notebook PCs come with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid-state flash storage, 1 TB of Microsoft OneDrive online storage for a year, one year's worth of Office 365 Personal and a $25 gift card for use in the Microsoft Store. The larger laptop includes an optional 200MB of free, no-contract 4G data each month for the life of the device.
In our brief encounter with the new laptops, we were impressed with how portable and deceptively lightweight both units felt. By using Intel's new Celeron processors, the new Stream computers HP was able to skip using an internal fan and also provide up to 8.5 hours of battery life on a charge.