HP opens floodgates to machines for students with Stream PCs

Remember when buying a computer meant a big spend? Nowadays, anyone can get a decent PC, and students are about to get a better deal as HP prices its Stream machines for Australia.

A replacement for the now dead “netbook” set of computers, HP’s Stream computer looks set to kickstart the world of budget computing for people who really need it: kids and students.

Powered by Intel processors, the Stream computers are HP’s first thwack at a new line of computers that will let people who don’t want to spend too much get a Windows machine for less than the cost of many new machines, providing flash storage, Windows 8, Microsoft Office, and WiFi without needing to fork out an arm and a leg for privilege.

Three computers will start this range up for HP, with two Stream laptops and one Stream tablet.

The tablet looks to be the most budget of the lot, providing an Intel-powered 8 inch tablet with a camera on both the front and back, a full copy of Windows 8, as well as a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal for one year, with a retail price of $229. We’re checking to see what the full-specs are, but we suspect it’s an Intel Atom powering things with 32GB of storage and a microSD for room to move.

Interestingly, HP is also talking up a 7 inch model in America with a lower price point, but there’s nothing from HP Australia on that topic.

We’ll keep pestering them and let you know if we hear anything more, but given that both Stream tablets won’t be out until December, HP has some time to get back to us.

Coming before the Stream tablets will be the HP Stream laptops, and there will be two of these, coming in both an 11.6 inch and 13.3 inch version sometime in November.

According to HP, these machines will be pretty similar to the Stream tablet, albeit without a touchscreen, providing Intel inside with a Celeron chip, 32GB of flash storage, Windows 8, Microsoft Office Personal, and enough power to get a fair amount of work done.

“Customers have told us they want attractive mobile products that do more without trade-offs,” said Paul Gracey, Business Manager for the Personal Systems Category at HP South Pacific.

“The HP Stream products announced today hit the mark with portability, access to free cloud storage, and the familiarity of Windows and Office 365.”

One thing that we find interesting is one of the value adds, and that’s an inclusion of a $25 gift card for the Windows App Store for games, apps, or Xbox videos, an inclusion which HP says will be in the box of every Stream.

We’re checking with HP to see how long this inclusion will be there for, and if it applies to all models, including the 8 inch Stream tablet, as that’s an interesting inclusion for a fairly entry-level product, as it could help sweeten the deal to move to a Windows 8 budget machine.

Availability for the touch-less HP Streams is November, though, ahead of next year’s school year in Australia, with prices coming in at $299 for the 11.6 inch model and $379 for the 13.3 inch Stream.