Asus $199 Notebook in the Works, Will Compete With HP Stream 14 and Chromebook

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By Sovan Mandal | August 29, 2014 1:03 PM EST

The Asus F205TA could well be the newest kid in the $199 notebook block, experts claim. This if true will mean heady competition for the Steam 14 that HP had recently announced. Details are scarce at the moment so that it isn't even a surety if the device is going to be a notebook or a tablet. However, the fact that the branding of the device in question carries the F2 prefix gives us hope if it being a netbook. Asus typically uses F2 branding for its laptop range.

However, as is mentioned in the product page on the French retailer PC21 that first revealed the device, the Asus low cost laptop comes with just a 11.6 inch display compared to a 14 inch for the HP Stream. Other details mentioned are also a lot tablet-like, claims Liliputing. Among these include a purported Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail chip and 4 GB of RAM. The latter does make things interesting considering the Stream 14 comes with a 2 GB RAM. The Asus device with 32GB of storage matches that of the HP offering.

The new crop of ultra cheap laptop from mainstream manufacturers running Windows 8.1 with Bing is part of the new strategy on part of Microsoft to curb the growing clout of Google Chromebook, mentions ZDNet.  These devices will be running the latest Windows 8.1 with its own search engine Bing enjoying default status with Internet Explorer. The particular OS also comes free from Microsoft as long as the device is priced below $250.

Among other manufacturers that have shown off low cost laptops include Lenovo and Dell. With the entire emphasis on keeping the cost low, there is nothing flamboyant with the specifications. The laptops are meant to offer decent levels of performance with day-to-day tasks as well as less intensive gaming.

There is also a sense of urgency in Microsoft's move to come up with a viable alternative to the Chromebook. As is mentioned in ZDNet, the Chromebooks with its low cost attribute has been making steady inroads in the education market. This way, the students also gets to be acclimatized with an ecosystem - read Android - that they might prefer to stick to later in their life.

Microsoft hopes to change that with the new range of ultra cheap laptops running Windows. 

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