Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hardware Is Dead — At Least Most Expensive Hardware Is

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-just-the-so-called-pc dept.

Businesses 342

First time accepted submitter ze_jua writes "In this article, Jay Goldberg, a financial analyst who travels to Shenzhen several times a year, analyses the potential consequences of the very low cost of hardware he found there on the consumer electronic industry worldwide. He wrote this piece of text after he found a very nice $45 Android 4 tablet. Are we so close to given-away tablets?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

No. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367859)

This is retarded. Just like 99.99% of all the "news" on this site.

Re:No. (4, Informative)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368299)

Yeah, maybe if they just ditch the first 3 words of the headline. Or even changed the whole headline. TFA is actually kind of interesting. How about "hardware getting ever cheaper" or "Bargain tablets in Chinese market". Hardware is becoming really cheap, therefore it is dead... yeah, right.

Re:No. (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368329)

It's not retarded... well, not entirely.

Hardware will always represent a non-zero cost. However, much of that cost can (eventually?) be absorbed or at least amortized by other budgets. Marketing stands out as a ferinstance (at least on a limited scale), since we already see VARs doing that with higher-priced items to IT managers and other decision-makers ("attend a sales pitch for 500Mbit fiber from Acme Telecom Business Services, and get a free iPad!" - Seriously, once we scored a free IBM ThinkPad for the department that way.)

I bought the same $45 Android tablet for the missus' birthday off of AliExpress; it came with Android 4.0, and shipping cost $20 more. It has (almost) everything the original Kindle Fire had, but with better battery life, and minus the DRM or spamvertising.

I wouldn't expect to get a free tablet for showing up at the local power company's booth at the county fair, but given the increasingly cheap prices? It's not too much of a stretch to see, in a couple of year, a fully functional (and decent!) tablet sitting in the toy section of the local stores, priced about the same as a Barbie Doll, model airplane, or suchlike.

Re:No. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368453)

They give away phones here in Canada when you sign up for plans.

The plans are hilariously expensive, but you get the hardware for free.

Absolutely. (5, Insightful)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367877)

Expensive hardware has been dead for a while. That's why Apple had such disappointing preorders of the new iPhone and has been lagging behind Samsung in tablet sell-through.

Or, maybe not.

Nope (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367889)

There will always be lemmings willing to pay for shiny bragging rights.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368093)

If munchkins are hand polishing it with unicorn blood, I'm in!

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368255)

You are now aware I may be buying them just to distinguish myself from the people who complain about them.

Re:Nope (1, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368393)

Yes, and the lemmings are the more vocal but rare among the crowd of iPhone users. I was actually lucky enough to pre-order a new iPhone 5. I knew they were going to be a hot item which is why I waited till 3am to plug my order. This BTW would be my first iPhone in a long string of Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Droid phones. I just want a smart phone that fucking works. It would seem that Apple got it right based on playing around with other iPhones out in the field.

This week, my Droid 2 is going away. I really hate that phone! Wish I kept my Black Berry Curve instead while I had the chance.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368407)

Bragging rights? It was worth it so I didn't have to wait for my Android to populate it's home screen every time I brought it out of sleep mode. Motorola's support? Zero. Google's support? Zero.

Re:Nope (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368459)

Apparently tens of millions of them
Just like the ones who buy Honda and Toyota instead of cheaper Kia and other cheapo brands

Re:Nope (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368487)

it looks like lemmings <> china

Re:Nope (2, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368609)

One caveat: Bleeding-edge isn't always about bragging rights.

While Apple makes some monster profit percentages, things like Retina Displays, specialized metal (as in, not-plastic) cases that hold up to abuse a little better... these things do tend to cost more, both in the newness of technology (because not everyone has such things tooled-up and ready to rock on relatively large scales), and in having enough R&D put in to make sure you don't end up with a bleeding-edge-but-crap product (which Apple, while better than most, occasionally borks over too - as evidenced by the antenna thingy a couple of years back).

It's like buying the latest server model with all the top-spec goodies in it, as opposed to buying last year's model with somewhat lower specs. Of course they're going to charge you more for it. Question is this: is that extra 'oomph worth it to you or not? Sometimes it is, sometimes it ain't.

(Disclosure? No problem - I bought a brand-new dual G4 PowerMac back in 2004 - cost me bout $2k. I finally put it in the closet for good last year, with no failed parts, and the only system lock-ups coming from serious goofs while writing code. Meanwhile on the PC desktop side, I plowed through six motherboards (two of them because they blew up), four CPUs, four HDDs, two cases, way too much RAM, two copies of Windows (XP and 7 - skipped Vista), and two power supplies. Call it two $1200 upper-end Dell or HP boxen plus parts - just to keep up performance-wise (from look and feel, not necessarily from benchmarks). The only reason I put the Mac away was because the thing was finally too far out of tech (as a PPC box), and new programs/games tended to favor the x86 architecture a bit too much. Overall, I actually saved money on the Mac side. Then again, I don't buy main desktop boxen for the 'ooo - shiny' factor, but for the long haul.)

I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes it ain't for the bragging rights (though I admit I enjoyed whipping that beast out at LAN parties back in the day, only to have one monitor playing a movie while the games --Unreal Tournament and UT2k3&4 mostly-- ran flawlessly on the other).

Re:Nope (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368661)

And these cheap Android tablets are always - *always* - shit. Even the Nexus 7 is cheap shit, with reports of faulty units all over the internet. If you want to make something good, there'll be a market for it. Finally there are good Android tablets around, but you're not going to get one for $45.

Re:Absolutely. (0)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367939)

Or, maybe Apple being expensive is a giant troll that won't die and they're really not that expensive.

Re:Absolutely. (3, Interesting)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368033)

Or, maybe they are really expensive, but people still buy things that are expensive.

Re:Absolutely. (3, Insightful)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367993)

Apple is definitely not the cheapest option, but neither are the high-end and competing Android devices. The point is not that the top of the line items don't sell, it is that the budget options have become insanely cheap in the Big Mac index.

Re:Absolutely. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368265)

Case in point. I was just asked what type of digital picture frame to should get. I said get an Android tablet and throw a picture frame app on it. For the price of the decent digital picture frames ($99 - $130) you can find quite a few good tablets.

Re:Absolutely. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368355)

But if you buy a picture frame, it doesn't tell Google which pictures you're looking at.

Re:Absolutely. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368555)

But there is Virtual Machines created on VMWare that can simulate Apple MacOS in regular PCs. Apple is just forcing us to buy they hardware and i personally have found that some Apples model uses the same hardware that a regular PC does. Then why are Apple computer so expensive?

Re:Absolutely. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368707)

"But there is Virtual Machines created on VMWare that can simulate Apple MacOS in regular PCs."

Well, if you fool the EFI/bootloader, write your own drivers (or have someone else write/upload them) for your specific hardware, and don't mind the occasional hiccup or missing feature? Sure... it's (err, almost) the same thing.

Trust me - I'd love to have OSX running as the primary OS on my Samsung RC512, but that's never gonna happen. Why? Because I don't have the time to write drivers to wedge things in, and I want all this crap on my laptop (including the BD-ROM) to work. Besides, in a year or two the plastic top cover is likely going to crack anyway due to all the flexing I see it do every time I open the lid.

Re:Absolutely. (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368035)

Expensive hardware has been dead for a while. That's why Apple had such disappointing preorders of the new iPhone and has been lagging behind Samsung in tablet sell-through.

Or, maybe not.

Apples market share in Tablets has been dropping rapidly for some time, and even the iPhones market share has been dropping. This is not even about Samsung, which have positioned themselves against the iPhone in the high price end part of the market, this is about tablets ten times cheaper than an iPAd.

Personally having played with a Huawei g300, a phone eight times cheaper than the iPhone, and been amazed. I would not hesitate getting a large tablet from Huawei, or a Galaxy Note equivalent.

Apple will do well, bet there is better value elsewhere and the market is responding to it. Its why the iPhone is a niche product.

Re:Absolutely. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368273)

Um, what? iPad marketshare actually went up during the past year [businessinsider.com] .

Re:Absolutely. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368237)

Except that the hardware on the iPhone isn't all that expensive. 150 bucks or something. Maybe 200 on the top end, and that cost will go down fairly quickly. The expensive part is the software.

Re:Absolutely. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368253)

Well and the apple logo of course, but I mean even compared to non apple phones, hardware wise this stuff isn't nearly as expensive to make as we pay for it.

Re:Absolutely. (5, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368317)

iPhones hit that "stupid spot" in the American consumer - no money down, affordable monthly payments, visible bling to flash around with your friends, and it has grown into a hip-cool brand too.

Doesn't matter what it does or doesn't do, with those components you've got a winner.

Re:Absolutely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368385)

Apple is cheap hardware for which they overcharge. It's not any different from what other companies are offering, but they wrap it up with an Apple logo and people willingly overpay for it.

And that there is the problem, it's easy to find expensive devices, but the hardware in them isn't necessarily any better than the cheaper devices. HDDs came out to have no correlation between cost and durability when Google was looking at the issue a few years ago.

What's more, there is no mid range anymore like there used to be, by and large your choices are cheap or high end. And a lot of folks can't afford and or don't need high end.

Re:Absolutely. (4, Informative)

afgam28 (48611) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368387)

You didn't read the article, did you? The author's argument was that businesses that sell pure hardware will struggle. He specifically singled out Apple as an example of a company that also sells integrated software, and therefore does not have this problem.

Re:Absolutely. (1)

ski9826 (2541112) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368681)

2 million pre-orders in the first 2 days is disappointing?

Nope (2, Insightful)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367883)

There will always be a market for premium hardware. This is just abjectly idiotic.

Re:Nope (5, Interesting)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367963)

Yup. Recently spent nearly $50k for a new machine (512GB ram, 64 CPU, etc.). Seems many people are using low end hardware at the client end and expecting the cloud (which for some applications is not easily distributed) to do the real work.

Re:Nope (5, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368111)

Yup. Recently spent nearly $50k for a new machine (512GB ram, 64 CPU, etc.).

...

Can I be your friend?

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368361)

Yup. Recently spent nearly $50k for a new machine (512GB ram, 64 CPU, etc.). Seems many people are using low end hardware at the client end and expecting the cloud (which for some applications is not easily distributed) to do the real work.

Minecraft server?

Oh, aren't you so clever... (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368607)

Obviously the author is a Consumer Electronics analyst, and he's referring to Consumer Electronic Computing Devices, not your mid-range server. In the Grand Tradition of Slashdot Car Analogies, your statement is like the following:

Early 20th Century Auto Industry Analyst: Steam Power is Dead.
Early 20th Century Smug Slashdotter!: But my gigantic power generation plant runs on steam!

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368637)

Insert Beowulf cluster comment => Here

Re:Nope (1)

irwiss (1122399) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368095)

Hey, it brings in viewers, however idiotic it is

Yep (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368181)

A great area to look at it home audio. Time was, everything was pretty expensive. There wasn't really a cheap option. When cleaning out my grandfather's house my father found an old Allied Electronics catalogue from 1970. He and I had fun looking through it, and he found several items he used to have. They were around the lower end of what you could get from it, around $150 for a stereo receiver. That works out to about $900 today.

Well when you do some research you find that you can get $150, or even cheaper, receivers these days. However you can also get $900+ ones. I'm not even talking ultra expensive audiophile crap, I'm talking stuff you can get from Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, and so on.

People buy these because in addition to more features you get better build quality and so on. A simple example is that cheaper Denons are built in China, the more expensive ones are built in Japan, because they can get tighter quality control.

While cheap devices are no doubt popular both because they allow people who could otherwise not afford them to have one and because many people look only at short term cost, that doesn't mean expensive devices go away. Some people want more than the cheap devices, or simply want something that will last longer.

Personally I'm quite a fan of buying better quality things to have them last longer. Not only do I like things being nice, but I find it actually costs me less in the long run since I end up replacing them less frequently.

Re:Yep (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368375)

I bought a series of $20 DVD players, they were just so irresistible in the store - at $20 you'll spend more in gas driving to a couple of stores to shop the deal - no brainer, if it works for a year it's a winner.

They used to work for 2 or 3 years, then I got a couple that only lasted 6 or so months - finally got a $200 Denon about 5 years ago and it's still running like a champ.

Of course, it didn't have HDMI, etc. etc., so now it's technologically outmoded, but still does what it always did well, and those half dozen $20 players are leaching toxic materials into the landfills. See, it's actually a Chinese conspiracy to export all their poisonous trace elements overseas....

Re:Yep (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368457)

A great area to look at it home audio. Time was, everything was pretty expensive. There wasn't really a cheap option. When cleaning out my grandfather's house my father found an old Allied Electronics catalogue from 1970. He and I had fun looking through it, and he found several items he used to have. They were around the lower end of what you could get from it, around $150 for a stereo receiver.

You really should take a look at this Radio Shack catalog from 1970: http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalogs/1970/ [radioshackcatalogs.com] . Stereo receivers for $99. "All-in-one" (receiver, turntable, speakers) systems for under a $100.
 
There's almost always been a "cheap" option.

Re:Nope (3)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368331)

There will always be a market for status. What form that status takes is another thing entirely.

Next step: 40-50$ mobile phones (4, Interesting)

faragon (789704) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367893)

Those pads have AllWinner A10/A13 SoC (ARM Cortex A8 @1.2GHz and GPU ARM Mali 400), 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash. I see no reason for not having mobile phones with similar technology (the AllWinner A10/A13 is a tiny SoC) for similar price (e.g. Broadcom or Qualcomm could add 3G easily and sell their own cost-killer SoC for smartphones). IMO, is going to change everything, as everyone will be able to have an smartphone.

Re:Next step: 40-50$ mobile phones (1)

Graymalkin (13732) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368179)

I've got a cheapo A10 powered tablet running ICS and it sucks. It's sluggish, 3D performance sucks, web video and audio rarely work right in either Chrome or Dolphin, and Flash is an absolute joke. A lot of apps that run without any problems on my Nexus 7 crash mysteriously on it.

I would hate to imagine my main cell phone being A10 powered and having the same shit reliability as my cheapo tablet. Even a low end cell phone needs to be serviceable as an actual phone (meaning decent battery life and reliability). People aren't going to spend even small amounts of money on something that doesn't work very well.

Re:Next step: 40-50$ mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368309)

www.freaktab.com... go find your tablet, read the forums, and change your OS rom to a custom rom.

Re:Next step: 40-50$ mobile phones (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368211)

Well, everyone can have a broken smartphone at least.

Re:Next step: 40-50$ mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368559)

Problem with a smartphone isn't the cost of the phone, it's the cost of a dataplan. That's why I don't have a smartphone.

Hyperbole! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367919)

You know, I just can't stand hyperbole! I will have to kill myself over this.

Why, every single hardware article is about how the PC is DEAD! How hardware is dying! And on and on a million times a day!

Can't the media stop it?! No they can't. This will go on FOREVER and EVER!

Re:Hyperbole! (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368071)

Don't kill yourself, AC! Fight fire with fire and start your own hyperbole!

"The media is DEAD! Printed media, radio and television medias are all dead! People get their news from rumors websites, Facebook and Twitter, we don't need controlled media to tell us about anything! So long and thanks for all the fish!"

Re:Hyperbole! (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368461)

You know, I just can't stand hyperbole! I will have to kill myself over this. Why, every single hardware article is about how the PC is DEAD! How hardware is dying! And on and on a million times a day! Can't the media stop it?! No they can't. This will go on FOREVER and EVER!

Because the massive growth in mobile dedicated computing [smartphones, Tablets] , is undeniable. Putting your head in the sand, and pretending its will not change the fact.

If premium doesn't sell, we'll have to pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367925)

The rich and enthusiasts will always be there for us, paying for the overpriced goods because it's the first time it's on the market and the companies that make them need to recoup the cost of R&D and find ways to make it more affordable to produce. If it weren't for them, that $400 TV might cost $3500.

HN (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367927)

This is over on HN right now, there's some pretty decent discussion related to the history of Pc's, and how we've seen the 'end' of hardware twice at least so far.

I agree with that - there will always be a market for high-end electronics. Always. Someone will want it. Will it be as large as we've seen? Probably not. But, this article is about turning hardware (cheap tablets actually) into a commodity instead of a luxury.

What will happen, instead of death, is that we'll see a bottom-floor cheap ass price structure for cheaply made items, and a high-end, expensive price structure for people with expensive tastes, or expensive requirements. Look at the PC - I can get one for $300. Does it do what I want? Nope. So, I spend $2000, and build one that will.

I can get a tablet for $45, great - I will, and I'll use it for super simple projects - like household automation. But I will also look for the $500 top of the line model that does every-freaking-thing I want it to, to use as my go-to device.

Re:HN (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368417)

PCs flirt with breaking the $400 price floor, then they seem to retreat back upwards. Atom and low end AMDs were good enough, until 7 replaced XP, now they're kind of dogging down. And, I'd swear that my XP running eeeBox PCs are getting slower with every new XP update.

Not cheaper really, (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367935)

because somewhere, some poor bastard always pays the difference in terms of lowered wages, slavelike labour, oh and of course there are dollars to save by screwing up the environment by improper mining and waste disposal.

Re:Not cheaper really, (1, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368263)

because somewhere, some poor bastard always pays the difference in terms of lowered wages, slavelike labour, oh and of course there are dollars to save by screwing up the environment by improper mining and waste disposal.

As we have seen even Apple use Foxconn

Re:Not cheaper really, (3, Interesting)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368405)

In principle I agree with you 100%. This is what China's manufacturing sector depends on - low wages and low environmental accountability, two area where he west cannot (and should not) compete. This is also one of the reasons I buy locally manufactured goods where possible.

However in the case of tablets and smartphones the big name brands are manufactured in very similar, if not identical, conditions to the cheap ones,. In that light the appeal of expensive ones evaporates.

Gourmet food dead (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367937)

Gourmet food must also be dead because you can feed yourself off of cheap multivitamins and cheap microwaveable burritos and tap water.

Re:Gourmet food dead (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368435)

Gourmet food serves roughly the same size market it has for the last 100 years - but, sadly, not expressed per capita but in raw numbers. Population grows, but those who choose to afford good food do not.

Don't care about his opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367943)

The article lacks important information. This guys opinion doesn't interest me, I only want to know where I can buy the $45 Android 4 tablet!

Re:Don't care about his opinion (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368115)

Article says. Shenzhen.

Re:Don't care about his opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368513)

The article lacks important information. This guys opinion doesn't interest me, I only want to know where I can buy the $45 Android 4 tablet!

From TFA:
"I thought discovering the A-Pad was pretty exciting. So I was dismayed to find that the week after I got back from China, a device that looks a lot like my A-Pad was on sale at Fry’s Electronics for $79. No brand listed. The process has already begun."

Not so much about parts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367949)

The part quality hasn't played significant role in tablet manufacturing. The part count itself is relatively low and what consumers really care is build quality. You really cannot expect $45 device to survive if you knock it to the floor from sofa but the build quality on more expensive devices give the device a fighting chance.

Re:Not so much about parts (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368233)

The part quality hasn't played significant role in tablet manufacturing. The part count itself is relatively low and what consumers really care is build quality. You really cannot expect $45 device to survive if you knock it to the floor from sofa but the build quality on more expensive devices give the device a fighting chance.

You have to remember that the iPhone is worth in parts only a sixth of its price, a little over twice the price of the device in question, and that's for an allegedly cutting edge product [sic]. Have a look at those cheaper Android phones, You will be shocked at how impressive they are.

Hardware is dead... (1)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367953)

As a high profit business

Lots of businesses survive on thin margins

Behind the times much? (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367973)

This guy is a little behind with his prediction, since it's already happening. I remember seeing those predatory lenders outside college campuses with their "Sign up for our credit card, get a free mp3 player" booths *at least* ten years ago. Car dealers have been giving out iPhones and such as promo deals for years. Some banks have advertised free stuff like that to my snail mail. Sign up for a 2-year phone contract, you get a ~$450 subsidy towards a phone. Right now in September 2012, you can get an iPhone 4 or lower-end Android / WinMo free. It's a giveaway to entice you into purchasing a service.

Some how 'value' and 'computer' got screwed up. (1)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 2 years ago | (#41367975)

Things aren't expensive because (shocker) MORE PEOPLE USE THEM.

It has nothing to do with people making stuff expensive for expensive sake, it has everything to do with the fact that when a new iPhone came out two million people ordered one in 24 hours.

hell five years ago if a device that did computery stuff did anything close to that people would have freaked out. Now? iPhone 5 is SUCH a disappointment.

Re:Some how 'value' and 'computer' got screwed up. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368183)

it has everything to do with the fact that when a new iPhone came out two million people ordered one in 24 hours.

...and 1.3 million but an android phone every day! launch or not, Apples market share is simply slipping away.

Re:Some how 'value' and 'computer' got screwed up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368269)

it has everything to do with the fact that when a new iPhone came out two million people ordered one in 24 hours.

...and 1.3 million but an android phone every day! launch or not, Apples market share is simply slipping away.

If you mean increased by 80% as slipping away.
http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/01/apple-samsung-idc-market-share/

Re:Some how 'value' and 'computer' got screwed up. (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368687)

If you mean increased by 80% as slipping away.
http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/01/apple-samsung-idc-market-share/ [bgr.com]

No I mean the year on year drop worldwide from 18.8% to 16.9% and yes my link is to IDC figures. Perhaps you should be a less US centric...the internet has been around for sometime. FYI Androids Market share grew from 46.9 % to 68.1% in the same period.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/worldwide-market-share-for-smartphones-a-market-dominated-by-apple-and-android/2012/09/11/c3e683d2-fc38-11e1-98c6-ec0a0a93f8eb_story.html [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Some how 'value' and 'computer' got screwed up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368503)

There is no possible way that 1.3 million android phones are sold every day.

World wide units shipments;1st Quarter 2012.

Vendor: Unit Shipments
Samsung: 42,400,000
Apple: 35,100,000
Nokia: 11,900,000
HTC: 6,900,000
Others: 39,100,00

Now assuming that every smart phone sold by Samsung, HTC and other is an android phone, that makes 88,200,000 total Android phones sold in the quarter.
365/4=91.25 rounded up 92 days.

88,200,000/92 ~ 960,000 phones sold per day rounded up.

Source [bgr.com]

HW careers (EE) are dead ends, move to SW (CS) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41367991)

I was an IC design engineer until recently, having gone through a top-3 EECS university, and a top-10 EECS university for Ph.D. I chose the wrong part of EECS to study (the EE); it doesn't matter when you know how to design transistors, design a low-power unique/new memory, or ADC, or whatever. Hardware engineers get paid sh*t, compared to CS. Why are my colleagues and I (PhD EE) getting paid 100-110K, whereas CS majors with Masters get paid 100K easily? Yes yes, margins are higher in CS. This just goes to show that the proper path to success in EECS is CS, not EE.

I'd love to do a startup in EE, but the costs are prohibitively high. It costs 100's of K to even get CAD software licenses (HSPICE, Mentor Calibre, Cadence ICFB, Synopyis Design Compiler, etc); tapeout costs are 10's to 100's of K for prototype chips to be made at TSMC, UMC, etc fabs; whereas it costs me nothing to get the resources needed to design in Django (Python), Ruby on Rails (Ruby), Zend (PHP), etc etc. Why should we (the same smart ones in HW) spend all our hard effort in HW when our brains could easily compete in SW?

Yes yes, the barrier of entry in CS is low, so its quite competitive. Duh. However, take the best EE talent and provided they have CS passion, they can easily compete in the CS market.

Yes, I know, alot of HW people aren't suited for SW and vice versa. However, there are alot who are; most of my EE friends in EECS aced their CS classes, too, and were quite easily at the top of their CS classes.

Re:HW careers (EE) are dead ends, move to SW (CS) (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368163)

Stay in hardware but go with standard hardware ICs and custom firmware/software. Not everything requires on a full-sized computer. The Arduino and Raspberry Pi are perfect examples. You wouldn't waste a mini-ITX computer and a 17" LCD to display Twitter feeds but you wouldn't even blink about doing the same thing with an ATmega and a 20x2 characters display.

Re:HW careers (EE) are dead ends, move to SW (CS) (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368193)

I think you're confusing which EE. Move to alternative energy power systems, about 60 percent of your time will be coding for distributed power systems like wind solar hydro wave geothermal, with some really fun field trips.

The UW offers an evening certificate in that for people with a base EE, or you can do it on weekends.

That's the growth area in the US and Canada.

But since I started computing in the 1970s it has always been true that you have to relearn half of what you do every two years in software, whereas you have to relearn 90 percent of what you do every two years in hardware. Get thee to a college or university. Education doesn't stop nowadays.

Re:HW careers (EE) are dead ends, move to SW (CS) (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368439)

If you can't afford a tool or a solution for your startup because of lack of investment you have to turn to a cheaper, inferior but workable, tool or solution and deal with the pain involved. Doing a startup without major investment upfront is, as you've pointed out, an unsolvable equation, yet every now and then there are people who manage to smash through and start a new business from virtually zero.

I'm not convinced that you would actually love to do a startup in EE.

Re:HW careers (EE) are dead ends, move to SW (CS) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368699)

Ah, I see the problem. You chose engineering for the money.

incoherent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368005)

Could you editors please proof-read these submissions? That's the most incoherent slashdot synopsis I have ever read.

Re:incoherent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368187)

Sometimes the submissions are OK and the editor makes them incoherent. I've only submitted a couple of stories - only one made the front page. However my text was changed and the link I submitted for the story was replaced with a different one. The editors are apparently there to screw things up like this or change the links to inferior stories on partner sites or something.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368011)

These companies will continue to make cheaper hardware for the low-end markets and use the profits from those to partially fund the higher-end markets.
Those higher-end hardwares might get a tiny bit more expensive, but not by much. (might, being the keyword here)

They'll never die out though.
Casual computer users don't define the market, despite what you'd consider the most reliable market.
They are a useful profit-producer, but reliability from them is like relying on a junkie to watch your medicine cabinets in a hospital.
Nintendo experienced this pretty hard with the Wii after the number of games being sold slowed to a near halt all of a sudden for the most part. Casuals only need a few things to keep them happy, after that they tend not to want anything else unless it gets advertised to hell and back.
Businesses are still the main target for most hardware. Especially consumables like storage, server racks, the usual large-scale things.

The day they die out is the day the singularity happened and we have reached a time of greatness. That ain't happening for a while, we simply don't have the resources to allow it. We are hitting points where we are trying to find some rather troublesome alternatives that simply don't work well without a massive undertaking by us.
And if things get any worse than they are now, we could be very close to an all-out resource-war. Nobody wants that to happen again, not with the stuff we have now. Not with all the progress we have made.
Hopefully we will begin to reach the resource-rich age in this half of the century with ventures like Planetary Resources. If we don't... I fear for our children, they might live to see the end of civilization.

Re:No. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368157)

Casual computer users don't define the market...Nintendo experienced this pretty hard with the Wii

I'm absolutely certain that Casual computer users are defining the market, which is why we have moved from general purpose computers, which are powerful, flexible, useful to to closed garden, electronics, Apple are already there, Windows will be there next release, Linux is well...trying to be all things. As for Nintendo have still outsold PS3 and Xbox 360 and look to be the first to refresh their product line, and sold an amazing expensive peripherals, make a profit on every unit sold, and their first party software has legs.

I'm not really sure of your point, but I'm certain its wrong.

Since the 1980's (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368059)

Actually, pretty much since the start of personal computing, in my experience, anyway, the computer you want is always about $3000US

Not sure how that applies to tablets or phones or portable gamers.

Re:Since the 1980's (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368465)

The desktop PC at my first job cost 2 months' salary, had a 15" color monitor, and took 5-10 minutes to compile the product.

The desktop PC at my current job cost 2 days' salary, has 2 24" 1080p panels, and takes 5-10 minutes to compile the product, while I surf the web - including HD video, and stream Pandora.

Re:Since the 1980's (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368677)

And I still want a $3000US computer

Yes low cost junk replaces well made & support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368099)

Yes like the 100 USD Android tablet my sister bought. Poorly made. Low res screen, grainy camera. search the internet support.
Never really got it working. It was replaced with an iPod Touch. Smaller more money, but worked. the fight on price alone is killing the PC industry.
The assumption that a pretty good 45 dollar item is as good as a 300 dollar one is the hole in the argument.

Re:Yes low cost junk replaces well made & supp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368295)

Seems like your sister had no clue about how to select one. I got a 10" one with Allwinner A10 SoC, 1080 x 1920 screen and excellent 4 megapixel camera for $75 (with free two day Amazon prime shipping). This came with Ice Cream Sandwich (and no play store, which I had to install by copying an apk, apart from which it was as good as any tablets you get).
 
And I look forward to the rumored quad core Allwinner SoC based tablets.

Re:Yes low cost junk replaces well made & supp (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368351)

"Allwinner"? That sounds like a real quality hardware company, there. Good luck with that.

Re:Yes low cost junk replaces well made & supp (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368591)

"Allwinner"? That sounds like a real quality hardware company, there. Good luck with that.

Then your buying a brand, but lets be fair ZTE and Huawei Offer excellent low to mid range products, and they are very well known. I suspect your Carrier builds everything on these companies hardware.

Re:Yes low cost junk replaces well made & supp (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368717)

I'll stick with Westinghouse, thanks.

Yes, get them as prizes all the time (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368133)

Virtually any tech event for a CIO or manager nowadays they throw in a free tablet as a door prize for most events.

May not have filtered down to the code monkeys yet, but it's already happening upstream.

Fwiw, both of my last two home computers were made from Cyber Tuesday parts orders for about $500, or $650 with OEM OS and sales tax. I'm just too lazy to build my own tablets. But if they sold kit parts, you could easily build them yourself. The markup on tablets for non-Apple ones is very very slim, it's only the Apple iPads that really make much money.

$45? i guess it deppends where (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368145)

Because i can't find one in either europe or i guess the usa as well. $45 in Shenzhen only i guess, $450+ for the rest of the world.

Where's the cheapness he's talking about?

Re:$45? i guess it deppends where (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368291)

Because i can't find one in either europe or i guess the usa as well. $45 in Shenzhen only i guess, $450+ for the rest of the world.

Where's the cheapness he's talking about?

Not sure about your locale, but I know the Big Lots' wholesale/closeout stores in this area keep a rotating stock of cheap, no-name Android tablets for around $45-65.

FYI, you get what you pay for.

Derp, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368243)

Without today's new hardware, there won't be cheap hardware tomorrow.

This is partly true, but is it news? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368321)

In the tablet market at least, there's little compelling reason to go for anything over $200. With the likes of the Boxchip A13 there's hardly any point going above $150 unless you need some premium feature like quad-core.

Seriously, how many people on /. haven't bought sub-$90 Android tablets from Chinese resellers in the past year or so?

I try to buy locally-made products where I can, but given the big name tablets and phones are made in the same province as the cheap stuff, there's no advantage there.

Re:This is partly true, but is it news? (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368569)

i'm afraid my chinese import tablet will be made with lead-coated buttons covered in cyanide powder, or i'd buy one. natch.

Servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41368437)

Show me a server that will run your "fog-driven" er sorry cloud-driven tablet that has cheap hardware.

On sale at Fry's (4, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368441)

56 dollars [frys.com]

For the price I paid for my iPad,I could load up my backpack with 10 of these. Imagine a beowulf of tablets!

Sounds like alternate reality...let's make one! (5, Funny)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368451)

Ever since Apple went bankrupt after it tried to sell that disastrous mp3 "pod" player thing in the early 2000s (not as much space as my Nomad but more expensive? no thanks!), we've known that the market for high-end, "premium" products had finally closed up. And it's a good thing too, since the last thing we need are more sheeple with a superiority complex getting suckered into bad deals. The Dells my family use have been running rock solid (well, aside from the swollen/leaking capacitor issue, but everyone gets those, even Compaq), and my netbook is a great experience compared to those high-end UMPC [wikipedia.org] devices that ended up sinking the tablet market once and for all. [Ed. note: not everything is a loss in this alternate universe ;)]

I mean, in some other industries, such as cars, high-end products tend to have features that find their way into the more commodity lines after a few years, but we never saw that happening with computers or those weird "smartphone" things that Handspring and Palm used to make before they went belly-up (why would you want to pay hundreds of dollars to have your e-mail with you?). And now that we've been away from premium computers and electronics for awhile, I can't imagine what we're possibly missing out on, to be honest. I mean, my top-of-the-line RAZR V15 can display thousands of colors with the best of them and is easy to use for texting, came free with a two-year contract, and they even added "multiphonic" ringtones with the latest model.

Personally, I feel that we're better off for being rid of the high-end electronics market. It added nothing of value, no one was buying into it, and it's allowed us to refocus on the products that are actually selling, which are all going for free or close to it. Speaking of which, has anyone seen that the V16 will only have 128MB of space for songs? What the hell? That's so 2010, but at least it beats the crap out of the stuff the Sony Ericsson fanboys are still using.

Re:Sounds like alternate reality...let's make one! (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368527)

Ever since Apple went bankrupt after it tried to sell that disastrous mp3 "pod" player thing in the early 2000s (not as much space as my Nomad but more expensive? no thanks!),

I remember my history being different, Apple had an MP3 player at EVERY price point...and still do. The iPod was more expensive than the competition, but unlike the iPhone/iPad not by a lot, but they had branding and were universal, a monopoly in every sense.

Re:Sounds like alternate reality...let's make one! (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368711)

The initial iPod (now called "Classic") was not at every price point, and was very much a high-end mp3 player. It wasn't until the mini came out over two years later and the shuffle the year after that that they really started to go lower, but by then, Apple had gone bankrupt in my alternate history.

flipside: disposable society (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368483)

There are many aspects to low cost hardware, from boutique graphics cards and expensive cooling rigs, to other parts of the system. One aspect is low cost peripherals, like mice and keyboards. I worry that in the race to a $1 mouse, mice became cheap and disposable. I see a lot of un-recycled computer and electronic hardware at the transfer station (aka, a dump) I go to once a month. If cheap hardware was more reliable and a little more expensive, there wouldn't be tons of it going into the landfills.

So this aspect is a double edged sword: yay cheap mice! boo, mice that break easy and are thrown into pits in the ground too frequently.

Yeah, give Android tablets away... (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368533)

... and make back the money on all that expensive FOSS software. Oh... wait....

Correct observation, wrong understanding (4, Interesting)

jgotts (2785) | more than 2 years ago | (#41368583)

Yes, hardware is super cheap. That's because we make it all in China. China has a huge labor base that has no say whatsoever in the political system. Labor and environmental laws, lax as they are, are not enforced.

However, the Chinese economy is beginning to falter and labor unrest is on the rise. I used to think that Chinese pay would normalize with the West and that manufacturing would move to cheaper markets. Now I'm beginning to think differently. There will be major political unrest in China, supply chains will be severely disrupted, and hardware will move back to expensive labor markets, not cheap ones. Cheaper markets just don't have the infrastructure to match China and the West. Observe what happened in Thailand last year because they couldn't deal with a simple flood.

So this period of super-cheap hardware fueled by the greed of CEO's will come to an end, factories will move back to the West, and things won't just be a bit more expensive, they will be considerably more expensive because of technical expertise lost to a Chinese state in chaos or decline.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?