Next from HP, the Stream Mini: the “Chromebox killer?”

Announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are a pair of computers meant to compete with the Chromebox, the small-sized desktop computers that run Chrome OS. Similar to Chromebooks (or the Mac Mini in the OS X world), Chromeboxes are meant to offer an inexpensive, cloud-based computing solution, if one uses their own monitor and keyboard.

On sale January 14, HP will release two desktop boxes: the Stream Mini (at $180) at the lower end, and the Pavilion Mini (at $320) at the higher end. The Stream Mini seems meant to compete with the Chromebox, and has similar specs; it’ll come with 2GB of RAM, a Celeron processor, and 32GB solid state drive.The Stream will also come with some incentives, such as 200GB of OneDrive space for free for two years, as well as a $25 gift card for the Windows Store. The Pavilion Mini, meanwhile, seems meant to be a Mac Mini rival, and will come with 4GB RAM, a Pentium processor, and a conventional 500GB hard disk. Both computers will also come with a keyboard and mouse. The Stream will come in blue, while the Pavilion will come in grey. More details are available in HP’s press release.

One advantage of both computers over the Mac Mini will be that they’re self-serviceable by the user. One can open both PCs and add extra RAM; both support up to 16GB. Compare that to the newest Mac Mini dropping user self-upgrades in favor of soldering in its RAM.

The attempt by Microsoft to make a “Chromebook killer” via the HP Stream laptop so far hasn’t gone as well as hoped, as far as Amazon sales are concerned. However, this isn’t stopping HP from trying to offer a similar low-end Windows solution in the Chromebox form factor. Since Chromeboxes don’t seem to have as much of a public profile as their laptop siblings, plus there’s existing low-end Windows desktops that’re already quite inexpensive, it’s hard to say how well the Stream Mini and Pavilion Mini will do. Of course, HP also makes a range of Chromebooks, along with their traditional Windows laptops and desktops.

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