With Google offering super-cheap computing hardware alternatives to Windows-based devices in the form of Chromebooks, it appears that Microsoft is making more moves to stem the tide of Chrome OS-powered gear. The company reportedly announced that $199 Windows 8.1 notebooks should be available starting sometime this fall.
Microsoft exec Kevin Turner delved into this topic during the 2014 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference keynote address, mentioning that there are already low-priced Windows 8.1 notebooks. To his point, for starters, there’s the Acer Aspire Switch 10, which starts at $379.99, along with the $278 Aspire Aspire ES1, as WPCentral mentioned. Turner reportedly showcased an HP laptop called the Stream, which will be priced at $199 once it launches sometime this fall, though details on the device are nonexistent.
For what it’s worth, two of the top five laptops that are on Amazon’s list of best selling notebooks right now are Chromebooks – the $199 Acer C720, and the $199 HP Chromebook 11. The rest are Windows-based notebooks. Though the list is updated hourly, Chromebooks have been topping Amazon’s charts for quite a while.
It’s also worth noting that all of the notebooks in Amazon’s list of top five best selling notebooks are all priced pretty low. The most expensive unit, the Asus Transformer Book T100TA-H1-GR, costs $379. Everything in the top ten, outside of the 13.3-inch MacBook Air ($950), is well under $500. If this list in indicative of anything, it’s this: a lot of people want something that’s cheap, and simply works.
By stating that Windows 8.1-based notebooks priced at $199 should be dropping later this year, perhaps Microsoft has wrapped its head around that notion. However, we’ll have to wait and see what those devices look like once they launch to determine whether they’re worth the bargain basement price.