Attack of the killer Windows laptops: Say goodbye to Chromebooks

New $200 Windows laptops may fend off the Chrome onslaught.

A slew of new $200 Windows laptops, including a new Asus EeeBook, are taking direct aim at Chromebooks in the upcoming buying season. Will this kill off Chromebooks for good, or can they survive the onslaught?

The just-announced Asus’ EeeBook X205 laptop is very clearly targeted at Chromebooks. Available in November, it will have a $199 pricetag, an 11.6-inch screen, have 2 GB of RAM, and be powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor. It will also come with 100 GB of free OneDrive storage.

An even better deal may be the HP Stream 14, which is expected to be available in time for the holidays. The $199 laptop will be powered by a quad-core AMD A4 Micro-6400T chip running at 1.6 GB. It will have 2GB of RAM and a AMD Radeon R3 graphics chip. The screen will be a 14-incher with 1366 by 768 resolution. It has an SDXC slot for additional storage with a variety of cards. It's got got an HDMI port, one USB 3.0 port, and two USB 2.0 ports. It also comes with two years of free 100 GB OneDrive storage.

And yes, there's even more on the way, including the Acer Aspire Switch 10 and 11. They're affordable 2-in-1 notebooks, with the Aspire Switch 10 starting at $329.99, and the 11 at $399.99. Expect plenty of other low-cost Windows laptops as well.

Inexpensive Windows-based laptops are already a serious problem for Chromebooks. It used to be that the Amazon laptop best-seller list had at least four or five Chromebooks on it. As inexpensive Windows laptops become more commonly sold, that's no longer the case. As I write this, nine of the top 10 best-selling laptops on Amazon are Windows-based. Only one of them is a Chromebook.

Chromebooks started as bargain-basement devices, and many still are. But increasingly, they're costing more money. With inexpensive Windows laptops undercutting them, I wouldn't be surprised to see Chromebooks lose market share. Given a choice between two similar machines, one running Windows and one running Chrome, most people will likely opt for a Windows machine. That's what the Amazon best-seller list shows, and I expect that to continue.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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