Google's $35 Toy Can Change the World

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

It was a deal too good to be true. Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) introduced Chromecast on Wednesday. The small $35 gadget plugs into a TV's HDMI port, allowing it to pull video and audio from smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Folks using the Chrome browser can even blow up their computing sessions on the bigger television screen. Any device sharing the same Wi-Fi network -- yes, Wi-Fi is required -- can zap content right into any TV with an available HDMI port.

The world's leading search engine inexplicably thought it needed to give early adopters a reason to fork over that fair ransom. It decided to purchase a bunch of three-month subscriptions from Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) and package them into the deal. 

When Chromecast sold like hotcakes -- or, perhaps, like dirt-cheap TV gadgetry that's made even cheaper when accounting for the $24 (plus tax) value of three months of Netflix for new or existing subscribers -- it put an end to the promotion. 

In a rare social blunder for Google, Chromecast's success found it retreating from the promo within a day of introducing the mother of all connected TV deals. It ran out of the three-month trials, reportedly, and there was no reason to keep that marketing carrot going.

Will sales slow down now that the effective $11 price of a Chromecast has ballooned to $35? Sure, some folks who were bent on buying before seeing Google pull the rug from under the Netflix deal may hold back on principle.

However, it won't take long before they realize how sweet a deal $35 can be. Sure, Chromecast is limited in functionality right now. Google's own YouTube and Netflix are the star attractions of the platform. Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) Apple TV has far richer features, but some of the best Apple TV goodies are reserved for the minority of connected users on iOS. Apple TV also costs nearly three times as much.

Roku, meanwhile, is a full-featured operating system-agnostic platform, but it's not as cheap as Chromecast. Roku also isn't Google given the marketing muscle that Big G has at its disposal.

Chromecast could be the cord-cutter tool we've been waiting for. It's cheap enough to set a TV buff back just about a week's worth of the average cable or satellite television bill from the larger providers. Outside of live sports -- which may be the only thing keeping pay TV afloat these days -- streaming has become a viable option. If you're watching just a couple of current shows, picking up the episodes on a piecemeal basis and filling the lulls with the growing digital catalog at Netflix and the seemingly endless realm of clips on YouTube won't be such a shabby experience. 

Google knows what it's doing. It's putting out a cheap device that helps propel the popularity of Chrome as a browser. It eats into Apple's initiatives and potentially undermines Apple's plans for charging an iArm and an iLeg for its inevitable full-blown smart television rollout.

Chromecast also keeps people online when they crave entertainment. Ideally, it will funnel more consumers into Google's ecosystem.

This is the start of something special, and like so many other disruptive salvos, it began with a deal that was too good to be true.

Chromecast is on the front line of this big war
The future of television begins now -- with an all-out $2.2 trillion media war that pits cable companies such as Cox, Comcast, and Time Warner against technology giants such as Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation reveals the secret Steve Jobs took to his grave and explains why the only real winners are these three lesser-known power players that film your favorite shows. Click here to watch today!

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2563097, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/29/2016 2:57:19 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,196.42 -142.82 -0.78%
S&P 500 2,157.40 -13.97 -0.64%
NASD 5,286.11 -32.44 -0.61%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/29/2016 2:41 PM
GOOGL $806.12 Down -3.94 -0.49%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
AAPL $112.24 Down -1.71 -1.50%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
NFLX $96.90 Down -0.58 -0.59%
Netflix CAPS Rating: ***