hp stream 11We’ve written about Google Chromebooks, a laptop for surfing the web and answering email. They cost around $200 and now they throw in a terabyte of free storage for two years.

A terabyte is one thousand gigabytes. To put that in perspective, the Encyclopedia Britannica, including all illustrations, takes only about 4.5 gigabytes. The big appeal of the Chromebook itself is that nearly everything it does takes place online. Because of this, any problems with the computer itself are automatically fixed every time you start it up and connect to the service. You don’t need an anti-virus program.

In a way, Chromebooks are a return to the past, when most computer users worked with terminals – stand-alone monitors and keyboards — which were connected to a large computer somewhere else. Now that large mother computer is operated by Google and we connect through the Internet. Sales have been steadily increasing and now schools are buying more Chromebooks than iPads: 715,000 to 702,000 in the third quarter of last year.

If you’re a diehard Windows user however, and we admit that we are, HP is now selling the $200 “Stream 11,” a full Windows laptop. It comes with one terabyte of storage free for one year. We haven’t tried it yet but some early users have complained that it’s real slow. That’s partly because it comes with a lot of free stuff sometimes called junk-ware, and partly because of its low-grade processor. That always slows things down.



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