Project Christine: Implications
If the concept behind Project Christine — modular PCs — takes off, it has the potential to reshape the PC industry.
Even though PC manufacturers would see no relief from the Project Christine model (and would likely see PC sales slide even further), the PC itself would likely see a stabilization effect. Businesses may rethink the purchase of a Chromebook, for example, knowing that its initial cost advantage over a desktop PC might be eliminated over a four- or five-year period. The Project Christine PC could be kept current at minimal cost while the Chromebook might need replacement several times.
Plus, PCs that could easily — and inexpensively — be upgraded would benefit Microsoft. Around 500 million PCs are still running Windows XP — and it’s a safe bet that a lot are doing so because they don’t meet the hardware requirements for Windows 8.
A company like Hewlett-Packard that buys components and manufactures PCs, on the other hand, would find its market eroding. It could sell its own version of Project Christine but, after the initial sale, it may never see a customer again. Component makers — Intel, Samsung (SSNLF), Nvidia (NVDA) and others — would obviously be the winners here when new component purchases are no longer tied to a new PC purchase.
Of course, for something as revolutionary as Project Christine to take off, a lot of players would need to agree on standards. That is a huge hurdle to overcome, Naturally, Razer would want to be at the center of everything and that wouldn’t sit well with current PC giants. And even something as revolutionary as this rethinking of the PC is not going to prevent the continued adoption of tablets.
But, if Razer goes ahead and makes Project Christine a reality and proves the concept works in the gaming PC world, desktop PCs could someday be freed from trap of the replacement cycle. That would help the PC’s future look a lot brighter and less like a slow slide into a niche product.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.