Hewlett Packard (HP) released two new tablet computers, part of the HP Stream series, which also includes two laptop computers.
The new tablets include the HP Stream 7, 7.0-inches and HP Stream 8, 8.0-inches. Both models include 60 free minutes of Skype with the 8-inch model having the option for 200MB of 4G data each month. The new devices will run on full Windows 8.1. The devices will be preloaded with HP’s Connected apps for music, photos, and drive. The HP Stream 7 tablet is priced at $100 with the HP Stream 8 priced at $150.
Some of the additional perks include:
- Free cloud storage for one years
- Optional use of up to 1 terabyte of storage on Microsoft’s cloud storage, OneDrive
- Access to Office 365 Personal for one year
- $25 gift card to the Windows app store
The HP Stream series also includes two new laptops, with 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch HD displays. The laptops, available in Orchid Magenta and Horizon Blue colors, are priced at $200 for the 11.6-inch model and $230 for the larger 13.3-inch model.
The new line of devices will be available in November on HP’s website and at select retailers.
HP is not new to the tablet market. The company’s existing product line already includes a wide range of Android and Windows based tablets. The HP Stream 7 and 8 however, are the smallest Windows-based tablets that HP has offered to date. Taking advantage of Microsoft’s free version of Windows for tablets below 9.0-inches in size, HP is pricing these units to compete directly with Android competitors.
Facing an increasingly saturated U.S. and European tablet market companies are taking Windows and Android tablet prices to a new low. During the holiday sales season in 2013, HP offered its 7-inch, 8GB Mesquite Android tablet for $89, one of the lowest priced offerings from a major vendor at that time in the Android market. The company is following a similar path with these releases, with some of the lowest pricing in the Windows tablet market today.
Microsoft scrapped its 7.5-inch tablet development earlier in the year and HP is entering this space ahead of its major competitors in the Windows space. Acer, ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo have yet to introduce any 7-inch Windows based products. However, Acer does offer an 8.0-inch model starting at $200 and Lenovo offers an 8.0-inch model at $280, while Asus VivoTab Note falls in the mid-price range at $249.
With additional vendors expected to enter the 7-inch Windows space in the fourth quarter, the price barrier which separated the Windows and Android markets in the past is quickly crumbling. With prices approaching equanimity, the choice comes down to user preference for operating system and associated ecosystem. Android has a huge head start in the tablet space but as HP has demonstrated with its Stream offerings, the latest Windows products are coming out swinging. Let the battle begin.