HP Stream specifications revealed

Details about the first $199 Windows laptops have emerged as Microsoft looks to counter the threat of low-cost Chromebooks.

The HP Stream was announced at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July but no specifications were revealed at the time. A comprehensive data sheet has now been obtained by Mobile Geeks, ahead of the official launch.

Key features of the low-cost Windows 8.1 laptop will include a 14in non-touch display (1366 x 768) with 200cd/m2 brightness. The device will be powered by a low-energy AMD quad-core A4 processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz.

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Stream devices will be preloaded with a maximum 2GB of RAM and this is not user accessible or upgradeable. Laptops will support either 32GB or 64GB of storage.

To mitigate the lack of physical storage, users will get 100GB of OneDrive storage for two years. The Stream will also support SD card slots.

Physical ports will include 1 x USB 3, 2 x USB 2 ports and an HDMI output. On the wireless front there's support for Wi-Fi 802.11bgn along with Bluetooth 4 and Miracast-certified devices.

HP will ship the stream with a 3-cell 32 Watt-hr battery, but projected battery life is unknown at this time.

An official release date for the HP Stream is yet to be revealed. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner did say the product would ship before the end of the year, so it's expected to launch in time for the Christmas season.

Chrome OS laptops have proven popular in the education markets and earlier this year Barking and Dagenham Council deployed 2,000 Chromebooks to replace Windows XP devices. Microsoft will be hoping to muscle into this low-cost market with devices like the Stream.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.