Surprise, Google (GOOGL) is yet again redefining an established tech industry: this time it’s the PC market. Glassdoor's recently rated "top company" has announced its newest product: the Google Chromebit, which transforms all modern televisions and monitors into Chromebook computers. And the best part about Chromebit is... it's affordable! Google released details indicating the device will cost under $100.
The Chromebit is a USB-sized dongle that plugs into the HMDI port of any monitor and converts said screen into a Chrome OS computer. Its specs include 16 GB of storage, 2 GB of RAM, a quad-core processor, and a USB 2.0 port. It can also connect to the Internet via WiFi and Bluetooth. Chromebit is also ultra portable, as it is the size of a USB drive. Its small profile makes the device incredibly attractive to active travelers, businessmen, and corporations (will the Chromebit establish a new B2B market?). Again, how can you go wrong for $100?
Although more prominent, Google's Chromebit isn’t the first small, portable, and cheap consumer computer to be released. Nonetheless, it will inevitably be hyped as such due to Google's universal notoriety. Regardless, Intel (INTC) released its portable and powerful "Compute Stick" in 2014. Although it costs more than the Chromebit ($150), and is only somewhat popular, its design is problematic. Whereas Google's Chromebit attaches to monitors in an upright position, Intel's Compute Stick attaches at a protruding angle.
With PC dongles likely to change the PC sector, other tech powerhouses like HP (HPQ), Dell, SanDisk (SNDK), Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, and Asus are likely to develop competing models. Microsoft (MSFT) will also enter the market as soon as Windows 10 is perfected. Microsoft already produces a cheap line of portable computers and tablets, but none resemble Chromebit or the Compute Stick. For Microsoft, its most attractive reasons for creating a Windows device is the potential for backwards compatibility and its already proven operating system. Microsoft already has a strong user following, the question is whether it can outperform Google.
With multiple tech players scheduled to enter the "dongle" PC market, one can only assume that Tim Cook's Apple (APPL) will join the race if these devices become prevalent. Apple already manufactures the Mac Mini (starting at $499), but it's a relatively larger device. If PC dongles grow in popularity, the Mac Mini may become yet another product of the past. If Apple did join this emerging market, imagine the features it could integrate into its device. Maybe Apple incorporates a projected keyboard, Siri compatibility, and expansive cloud infrastructure? Maybe Apple's iPhone 7 contains the ability to act as both a mobile phone and mini computer? The opportunities are endless.
The PC market has remained stagnant over the past decade, experiencing many short-term contractions. With Apple continuously increasing its hardware market share, Microsoft will likely continue to lose ground in software markets, whereas Apple and Google will become even stronger, which begs the question, "will Facebook (FB) enter this upcoming tech race?"