Last week, Google permanently cut the price of the base-model Chromecast from $35 to $30. Actually, $29.99 — marking a departure from Google's traditional whole-dollar pricing scheme. Then, earlier this week, the Stadia Premiere Edition bundle was cut from an even $129 to $99.99. The changes potentially point to a broader change in Google's hardware pricing model.
Historically, Google has foregone adding any cents to the prices of its products, presumably because a dollar figure with no decimal is nicer to look at. The Pixel 4 is priced at $799, for example, and Nest Wifi starts at $149 — no cents to be found. This type of pricing is consistent throughout Google's hardware portfolio.
Adding 99 cents to the price of each of its products is a trivial change on the customer's end — it's unlikely a single dollar one way or the other is going to dissuade anyone from buying a piece of tech (particularly one that costs hundreds of dollars to begin with). But at scale, Google netting an additional buck on each of thousands of sales adds up. For products like the Chromecast in particular, margins can be very thin.
While it's true the first two prices with 99 cents appended are discounts, it seems likely this type of pricing will be a trend for Google going forward — we expect future Google products will be sold with 99 cents added to the price tag, too.