Google’s Chromebooks have proved to be an attractive option for those seeking a simple, cheap laptop on a budget. Microsoft wants that to change very soon.
During the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference on Monday, Microsoft announced that extremely cheap Windows 8.1 notebooks will be coming soon from HP, Acer, and Toshiba.
HP will launch a $US199 laptop called the Stream, according to The Verge, while Acer and Toshiba plan to release notebooks starting at $US249.
Acer’s notebook will come with a 15.6-inch display, while Toshiba’s will feature an 11.6-inch screen. We have yet to hear any details about HP’s upcoming laptop.
Those prices are extremely cheap compared to current Windows laptops. Most new entry-level notebooks start at around $US400, which is why Chromebooks seem appealing for those on a budget.
Chromebooks usually cost between $US200-$300, with the exception being Google’s high-end $US1,200 Chromebook Pixel. The trade-off is that a Chromebook’s functionality is severely limited when not connected to the internet.
Microsoft wasn’t shy about directly stating its intentions to compete with Chromebooks at the conference. The company pointed out the advantages of buying a cheap Windows laptop over a Chromebook during the conference on a slide titled “Compete to Win vs. Chromebooks,” which was published by The Verge.
There’s a different advantage that comes with buying a Chromebook, however. Google has been praised for how clean and user-friendly its Chrome OS has been, while Microsoft’s Windows 8 has struggled to catch on since it launched in 2012.
Google sold 2.1 million Chromebooks in 2013. Meanwhile, the ultraportable Windows 8 laptop-tablet hybrids declined by 7.4% last year, according to the latest figures from ABI Research.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft and Google for comment and will update this story accordingly.