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From: Joseph Legris
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.77 [en]C-SYMPA (Win95; U)
Subject: Re: Examples Of Common MCU's In Consumer Electronics?
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 14:05:06 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 13:59:21 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Geraldo Sazias wrote:
> Can someone cite some examples of 'common' (frequently used by hobbyists)
> MCU's (AVR,PIC and MSP430) being used in consumer and or mass produced
> electronics? Whenever I open up some consumer electronics device it has
> either an unknown MCU or one I can't identify at all (ussually bump
> packaged directly onto the PCB). Is it even economically viable to use on of
> these MCU's in a million plus class consumer electronics device?
Sure it is, if the price is right. Consider my $20 alkaline battery
charger that I bought at Wal-Mart (I think). It has a PIC16C54 inside.
The retailer paid $10. The distributor paid $7. The agent got $1 so the
manufacturer got maybe $6. His cost of parts - maybe $1.50. Therefore
the MCU was possibly around 50 cents. That gives a very rough ratio of
40:1 for retail price:MCU cost. Of course this might vary widely
depending on the product and the market, but it's a start.
In my case, when one of my products first appeared (strictly low-volume)
it sold for $150 retail and the MCU cost was $4 which gives a 50:1
ratio. Now it is mature, a little outdated, and there is more
competition so the retail price has dropped to around $100 (and I get
correspondingly less). The MCU now costs $3, so the ratio is now 33:1
If I could make (and sell) 1 million of these things the MCU cost might
go down to $1 and the retail price might possibly be $40, but probably
The moral of the story is that market conditions and competition can be
stronger determinants of the selling price and resulting profit than the
cost of parts. Find a niche and exploit it.
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