HP Announces New $180 Windows Micro PC
January 5, 2015 by Dave Haynes
HP has announced a new teeny desktop PC that will raise the eyebrows of the crowd that’s endlessly looking to cut both cost and size out of digital signage projects.
Timed to the CES show, the computing giant has announced its new $180 HP Stream Mini, which looks VERY similar in form and equal in price to Google’s Chromeboxes. HP is among those a handful of companies making and marketing Chromeboxes.
These Stream Mini units are just over 2 inches tall, and pack in a 1.4GHz Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of solid state storage, and Wi-Fi (as well as an ethernet port) . They have a pair of DisplayPort and HDMI sockets, 4 USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0 and a USB keyboard and mouse. You also get a $25 Windows Store gift card, and a 2-year, 200GB subscription to OneDrive cloud storage. They ship with Windows 8.1.
There’s a second, similar box, called a Pavilion Mini desktop, that starts at $320 and offers a faster CPU, more RAM,a 500 GB hard drive and the ability to expand.
Both go on sale next week off the HP website.
So what’s the difference here with other teeny boxes on the market?
1 – It’s Windows, not Chrome OS or Android, so for many software companies that have stuck with Windows, this is relatively easy to support.
2 – It’s in the same relative form factor as the Intel NUC that has caught on with some digital signage solutions providers.
3 – It’s a major manufacturer, with all the support and resources and distribution that can bring.
Are these potential digital signage players? Sure. These will generate interest based on price, not performance, and the limited on-board storage means it’s better suited to simple jobs with smaller programming loops. However, these are little plastic clamshells that may or may not be happy running 16-24 hours a day, when they’re really intended more as alternatives to set-top boxes that are going to run a few hours a night in a living room.