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Reply-To: "Geraldo S."
From: "Geraldo S."
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Open Source Consumer Products
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 19:30:31 +0100
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NNTP-Posting-Date: 21 Nov 2002 18:31:36 GMT
"Lewin A.R.W. Edwards" wrote in message
> > > All consumer products are built with custom parts.
> > That's simply not true. At best *some* high volume consumer products
> I'm sorry, which universe was this in again?
> If you're proposing that someone creates a market for customizable
> consumer electronics products built around off-the-shelf components,
> something like the kit car market, and that they should open-source
> these projects, then I can see that idea flying (in a small niche,
> If you're proposing (as I read in your previous messages) that the
> world in general should and will move to totally generic open-source
> products in the consumer field, I'm sorry but you're insane - or
> living on a different planet. More people shop at Target than at the
> Blaupunkt boutique; if I had to get my product into just one of those
> I would pick Target.
No! I didn't say that! Not all appliances are suited to be open sourced
(microwave ovens for one). And you should see Open Sourcing the product as
an *extra* feature of the product, not a product in itself. People won't
just buy a product because it's open-sourced. They'll buy it because they
like the price and the features. The Open design may make them decide to
purchase the product instead of another one which isn't open sourced.
> > controllers and digital filters and even mechanisms. Even Sony and
> > sell their own IC's on the world market so they're hardly custom parts.
> I'm aware of the general availability of parts like this, but:
> a) these parts are often virtually unobtainable in small quantities,
Well, if you're going to sell CE you should purchase at least a 1000 as you
can certainly expect to sell that many, so that shouldn't be a problem.
> b) there is a strong trend towards parts that can't be worked by hand
> (TCP, MBGA),
True but being able to alter and change the firmware will do in most cases.
You'll still need the full design schematics to truly be able to program the
thing, though (unless the code is very well documented).
> c) the raw cost of the part strongly drives the overall cost of the
> d) these devices are in no way generic reprogrammable parts, they are
> hardwired ASICs.
> e) these devices often fall into the "PC motherboard part" category -
> i.e. short lifespan, no direct substitute, redesign required when the
> part falls off the supply chain.
> > > It will be cheaper, for the foreseeable future, to use ASICs and
> > > ASSPs, than general-purpose devices. If it wasn't so, people would be
> > > using GP devices universally already because of the huge savings in
> > > training engineers to work with generation n+1 of parts.
> > And yet they are taking that road, as more and more functionality is
> > contained in the software of the appliance.
> Certainly it is happening that more functionality is going into
> software, but LARGELY these devices use hardware/software codesign.
> They balance the cost-effectiveness of making the core 25MHz faster
> vs. adding an extra macrocell to do something or other in hardware,
> and when they've hit a good price/performance point they solidify the
> hardware/firmware line and presto! an ASIC or ASSP is born.
> A large proportion of the 32-bit devices you see on the market right
> now and call "generic" started life as ASICs for somebody. The
> exclusivity agreement, if any, wore out, and the manufacturer started
> offering the part to the general market.
> > > Upgradability is a positive NON-SELLING point to manufacturers. An
> > > ASIC-based product for $30 or a high-end-DSP-based product for $90?
> > > What GUARANTEE do you have that it will even be possible to upgrade
> > > the $90 product to a future standard? What if today's flash media are
> > For every example you can give, I can cite a dozen examples where
> > upgradeabillity has helped the product stave off obsolesence.
> And I guarantee you those products were more expensive than their
> non-upgradable kin in the same market, and had significant
> restrictions on their upgradability.
> I also think you've never worked for a company that needs to be able
> to price its way into a consumer outlet like Wal-Mart. It will give
> you a real different view on whether "a dime" is worth saving at the
> expense of upgradability.
> > And there's another reason: software upgradeabillity will allow
> > manufacturers to fix mistakes in their products once they're on the
> Flash upgradability is a completely unrelated technical support issue,
> it has nothing to do with the genericness or otherwise of the parts
> involved, and nothing to do with open source.
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