As we've already seen with Hewlett Packard's (HP) Mullins-based Pavilion 10z, which has a starting price of $249.99, unnamed sources are reporting to DigiTimes that during the second half of 2014, Microsoft and its notebook partners will be pushing entry-level models priced in the $199 to $249 window. That's certainly good news for consumers who are gearing up for the back-to-school season and need something that's very affordable and without a lot of fluff.
The report states that for the $199-$249 price window, Microsoft and Intel require that the laptop have screens from 10.1-inches to 15.6-inches. They must also have a clamshell form factor, no touchscreens, and use Intel's "Bay Trail-M" Atom processors. Later on, they want to move to the Braswell-based chips that are expected to arrive by Q2 2015.
The laptop requirements also include 1 GB to 4 GB of DDR3 memory, a 500 GB hard drive and an SSD between 16 GB and 32 GB, a battery promising up to 5 hours on a single charge, and Windows 8.1 with Bing. The thickness of these low-priced notebooks must be no greater than 25 mm, or 0.98 inches (HP's Pavilion 10z measures just 0.89 inches thin).
The DigiTimes sources claim that Intel also has reference designs for laptops priced between $249 and $399, and reference designs for models priced between $399 and $599. Screen sizes range from 11.6-inches to 17.3-inches and do not require Windows 8.1 with Bing. However, the discounted OS will be required on devices with screens 13.3-inches to 14-inches, and 10.1- to 12.5-inches 2-in-1 devices.
On a whole, these laptops will be marketed to customers who only need a notebook for light activities like checking email, surfing the Internet, watching kittens on YouTube and doing research. These notebooks are also expected to catch the eye of businesses in the enterprise market due to their price and size. Thanks to Ultrabooks, "thin and light" is an ongoing theme in the notebook sector.