expensive?

comradekingu

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I've heard this argument over and over and i don't buy it one bit. Sure, it's true that sourcing and manufacturing is expensive when it's your first crack at it, but the Pyra is the next generation. The Pandora has been around for years now.
The stuff that gets cheaper is not making known mistakes, which figures into support and maintenance. ED has largely been doing that sort of thing at cost of parts, not of labour.

When you consider that the cost of a 64bit quadcore ARM motherboard like the Pi3 is less than 50$ USD on the market, and even spinnor board like the Banana pi or odroid run similar prices, it's safe to assume that the Pandora's motherboard could easilly be manufactured at a most of less than 50USD per, more likely 20 if they had them made in korea.
Korea, as you may well know, is probably the most corrupt place to make hardware, so, seeing as it isnt made there, and ED isnt a huge corporation like those mentioned, and isnt korean, no.
Making the same thing, you are looking at much more than 50 dollars just in parts for the board alone.

Shells can be 3D printed or mas produced in china for next to nothing, even in small batches, displays can be mas ordered for cheap. Batteries are the only real cost due to taxes and weight.
Cases did get made in China for the pandora, nobody wants that, because it is a nightmare to make complex parts over phone every other week, in a language and culture far removed from Germany.
When you want to sell something, having a solid case adds value, having the likes of the pandora case, removes it, even if it is cheaply made.
The displays _are_ mass order, but they still cost 5-fold more than the batteries. And once you have either, they don't fit in your case by magic, and they have to be made to work, over time.

Either the makers are playing you all with crazy markup, or they seriously need to look at their production methods.
Or, and this is the case, Europeans are at work, in un-slavelike conditions, something you entirely forgot or didn't know about. The markup for the actual Pyra product is extremely generous compared to other flagship devices. Even so, because you are partly right about markup of sourced components, that is still the world. You don't get to paper-design anything if you want to call it a real product.
Things are expencive to buy, and they are expencive to put together. When you sell it you can either be greedy or not. From the standpoint of what actually goes on, rather than a made-up scenario, i would call this the most honest and open community product available, and I am involved in a lot of them.

I can tell you that for 800 USD I can get a i5 laptop, this is just.... sad.
What if I tell you that laptop is spying on you at every level of abstraction from the hardware up? This is detrimentally opposite, because it is not even EDs wish to spy.
So whos side are you on really? It is very hard to excuse spying and non-free software, having to exercise great effort to even have some level of freedom, when it can be an out-of-the-box deal.
If you go traveling farther than a stationary desk, you will find why laptops are inconvenient. They aren't hand-held, so you need a desk or similar, that gets old.
Also the laptop in question does not have any cellular capabilities, not even data. Or if it does, games are out.

A product with a community around it, that you are encouraged to hack, made to last, with modular parts, sturdy and ethical, with non-spying free software, is where the comparison really will tell you something is different.

You know when something sucks, like case-in-point laptop, where you go "why couldn't they have just" when you see a documentary about child-labour, or are annoyed at the garbage Win10 OS, hear the loud fan, don't have good input methods, etc etc etc

That is what you get, you get to have none of that, but you are still doing it, you want all of everything, and that is why we can't have nice things. You got the knowledge now, because I tried to be helpful, so maybe in the future we can spread that, and reap the benefits of expanding ethically.
 

EvilDragon

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When you consider that the cost of a 64bit quadcore ARM motherboard like the Pi3 is less than 50$ USD on the market, and even spinnor board like the Banana pi or odroid run similar prices, it's safe to assume that the Pandora's motherboard could easilly be manufactured at a most of less than 50USD per, more likely 20 if they had them made in korea.
Umm... no. The SoC used in the Pyra does cost 50 EUR.
Other SoCs are not available in these low quantities or do not offer Linux support, so that won't help.

So that part alone is higher. Additionally, the Pyra uses 3 boards, not one.
And as it all needs to be cramped onto a small PCB, the bare PCB is more expensive as well.

The CPU board is smaller than any of the board you mention, and for that reason, it needs to be 12-layer which does cost 20 EUR per PCB (quantity 3000 pcs).

Add RAM for 12 EUR and some more parts and you already are over 100 EUR just for the CPU board production costs).

Shells can be 3D printed or mas produced in china for next to nothing, even in small batches, displays can be mas ordered for cheap. Batteries are the only real cost due to taxes and weight.
Printing is more expensive and the quality is not good enough, especially with the complexity the case has.

Just take a look of the thread here where a golden Pandora has been printed. The quality is not usable for mass production.

The case is not the issue though. It's about 5 - 6 EUR per set, so not more expensive than in China.

What's more expensive is the keymat: That's 10 EUR per mat (as it's very complex to produce), and that one is being made in China.

Batteries actually are one of the cheapest parts of the Pyra.

Either the makers are playing you all with crazy markup, or they seriously need to look at their production methods.

I can tell you that for 800 USD I can get a i5 laptop, this is just.... sad.
And that laptop is only being produced 1000 times so far?

Actually, designing a Laptop is easier. You can get finished schematics, don't have any size issues, etc.

It's the same with cheap chinese smartphones: They have finished design files and all they need to do the production.

Well, if you think we are doing a high markup, let's make a deal:

I'll send you all the needed design files, you do the production and I'll buy 4000 finished Pyras for 200 USD each from you, promised.

Okay?
 

Yoyobuae

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I remember back when I first ran into the Open Pandora project. I was simply looking for some handheld device which could play chiptune format music like Audacious could on my Linux PC. Music still one of the main uses I give Pandora.

Anyway, I searched and searched and there was simply nothing like it. There's still nothing quite like it even now. GPD Win gets close, but I'm not going back to Windows.

Speaking of GPD Win, that's exactly the kind of product Pyra would become into once corners start being cut. It's full off compromises made for the sake of cutting costs. From the keyboard, to the joy sticks, to the PCB design, to the single speaker + fan, to the "Mouse mode" and fan speed switches, to the non-replaceable battery, etc.

I think people don't really appreciate the value of products which are produced in low-volume for a niche market. I personally gladly pay for the cost, because I can understand the amount of work and effort that goes into the device.

This is not a faceless company which will lie to your face and take your money, it's a guy working his ass off to coordinate a few other individuals/companies to create a wonderful piece of engineering. And it's a huge risk + responsability he is taking, until Pyras are actually made he is tens of thousands of dollars in debt (to investors, preorderers, etc).

Rather than feeling "why is it so EXPENSIVE?!?" I feel more like "I'm throwing money at screen, why is it not working?". xD
 

ClockworkCoder

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I'll send you all the needed design files, you do the production and I'll buy 4000 finished Pyras for 200 USD each from you, promised.

Okay?
No Sir, that's not okay. I for one am happy to pay premium on it just to have such dedication and passion. You're to the Pyra that Steve Jobs was to Apple, and such determination is invaluable.

The value is not just in the hardware, but also the reputation of the party/parties in its production. Any project like Pyra would fail with most other people, or any average profit-hungry corporation at the helm; they'd simply have no clue how to get a community passionate about it behind them. This would require an understanding of why people want something that isn't all about stats.

Some people don't seem to understand that at all.
 

sm0kew0n

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Yeah yeah, it's expensive, but what you missed was it's VALUE. Bang for buck it's pretty bloody good and you get added value (on top of the VALUE) with the support, openness and ethics of this forum.
 

ClockworkCoder

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Yeah yeah, it's expensive, but what you missed was it's VALUE. Bang for buck it's pretty bloody good and you get added value (on top of the VALUE) with the support, openness and ethics of this forum.
"Expensive" if purely a subjective term, as you correctly point out, something is only "expensive" if one deems it poor value for money.
 

Klumpen

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"Expensive" if purely a subjective term, as you correctly point out, something is only "expensive" if one deems it poor value for money.
In German, there are about two terms each for a high/low price with and without a good value, I think it's not too different in English:
"billig" for something cheap and flimsy
"preiswert" for something low-priced but wth a proper value equivalent or higher than the money paid
"teuer" for something expensive (and not necessarily worth it)
"kostspielig" for something pricey but with a high value coming with it

I think it's always important to differentiate between those.
 

Binky

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This is at least the third draft of this post. Either I'm not thinking straight, or its a difficult concept to describe. I suspect the former.

---

The Pandora/Pyra project has unusual aims, namely:
  1. To fill a very small gap in the market
  2. To contribute to the free and open-source movement
  3. To strengthen a specific community

These are very odd, when compared to the aims of other consumer computing companies:
  1. Make money for the senior management
  2. Sell as many products as possible (see 1)
  3. Displace competitors from the market (see 2)

I think that often, the aims of this project are understated and omitted from publicity material. This frequently leads to confusion, even to the point of outrage. On the assumption that ED is aiming for market penetration and profit, the Pyra is a baffling failure.
The Pyra does not meet people's desires and it won't make any money. It's almost like the designers were deliberately ignoring market trends at every turn. How could they be so stupid? How on earth can they expect me to buy one!?

If you have a clear understanding of what the project aims to achieve, the decisions taken suddenly make much more sense. Under the eclectic requirements of the target customer base, and within the limits of a commercial environment generally hidden from public view, the design team have done an incredibly good job.

In almost all cases, if you think you can see a way the Pyra/Pandora could have been done better, the answer is either:
  • Someone thought of that, but they disagree that it would be an improvement.
  • Someone thought of that, but it's technically, financially or industrially impossible.
For example, most people in this community would be horrified by the use of a capacitive touchscreen, pre-installed Windows, and a touchpad in place of the keyboard. We'd all love a more powerful processor, a lower price and a solid aluminium case too - but it can't be done*.

Nobody here is stupid. Nobody is unaware of mainstream consumerism. We have unusual priorities. There's a difference.

* Without unacceptable compromises.
 

Swordfish II

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I've heard this argument over and over and i don't buy it one bit. Sure, it's true that sourcing and manufacturing is expensive when it's your first crack at it, but the Pyra is the next generation. The Pandora has been around for years now.

When you consider that the cost of a 64bit quadcore ARM motherboard like the Pi3 is less than 50$ USD on the market, and even spinnor board like the Banana pi or odroid run similar prices, it's safe to assume that the Pandora's motherboard could easilly be manufactured at a most of less than 50USD per, more likely 20 if they had them made in korea. Shells can be 3D printed or mas produced in china for next to nothing, even in small batches, displays can be mas ordered for cheap. Batteries are the only real cost due to taxes and weight.

Either the makers are playing you all with crazy markup, or they seriously need to look at their production methods.

I can tell you that for 800 USD I can get a i5 laptop, this is just.... sad.
So many things wrong with what you just said... But I'll simply say: Don't buy one
 

EvilDragon

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No Sir, that's not okay. I for one am happy to pay premium on it just to have such dedication and passion. You're to the Pyra that Steve Jobs was to Apple, and such determination is invaluable.
Well, I would still be passionate and have dedication for it if he can produce the device we designed for 200 USD instead of 420 EUR :)

I'd be more than happy, as money is really really tight.
 

comradekingu

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It is as easy to dismiss it as it is to get something, want something more, then ask for mutually exclusive things.

Then again, that is quite the ordinary reaction. Most products are not the Pyra, in ways people are not aware of.
Instead of doing that, and also shunning the approach, i think we should ask ourselves why the likes of the community should
want us in it.

It is after all people who have understood things and posses that knowledge, in a world where a lot of other options exist.

Take this for example, a 2008 X200 or X201 thinkpad.

As old as the pandora, it needed:

Hacking to get rid of the bios lock, which is not just a matter of removing the battery as on other laptops.
Custom libreboot hackery to get rid of that bios, and it isnt any better with UEFI, it is worse.
Download and install devuan or other OS.
Replace the fan because it fails over time.

That is the second best option, and it isnt even a handheld, it doesnt even win over the Pandora, which has

Everything ready to go out of the box
OS updates into late 2016
Replacement parts available from supplier
A vendor that isn't in the business of tarnishing everything good about the product.

Compare these to their alternatives:
Apertus camera, Dragonbox pyra, NEO900, EOMA-68, Novena laptop, Ultimate Hacking Keyboard.

Real devices cost money to make, that is not a hidden cost. Losing privacy-data at every corner on the other hand, is.

We are the nice guys. The greedy ones are the ones who make things less fun.
 

neko

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Well, I would still be passionate and have dedication for it if he can produce the device we designed for 200 USD instead of 420 EUR :)
You know how the Chinese do that. Missing safety fuses, missing RF shielding, cheap capacitors that leak, cheap plastic that breaks, power supplies that overheat, and all sorts of knockoff parts that don't meet spec.

Does anybody want to buy that, even if it is only 200 USD?
 

Trinket

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You know how the Chinese do that. Missing safety fuses, missing RF shielding, cheap capacitors that leak, cheap plastic that breaks, power supplies that overheat, and all sorts of knockoff parts that don't meet spec.

Does anybody want to buy that, even if it is only 200 USD?
What?! But they have all those safety certifications! CE, RoHS, UL & cUL, SAA, ERP, FCC, TUV ErP, DLC... You name it, they print it, no additional charge xD
 

ClockworkCoder

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Well, I would still be passionate and have dedication for it if he can produce the device we designed for 200 USD instead of 420 EUR :)

I'd be more than happy, as money is really really tight.
Yes, I do fully understand, and a cheaper, more profitable product is in everyone's interest, unless, at this point, if it's at the cost of ethics or quality.

That said, I do hope it (eventually) makes a decent profit; having created something to be truly proud of, but no money left to show for it, would be unhappy bed partners.
 

SneHebNor

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In my company we produced something very similar to the Pyra: A Debian Linux based computer with its own designed casing, with a few hundred to max. one thousand devices produced per year, with a completely custom design made by us. However, it is a measurement device not a gaming console (and the molding of our IP65 casing is done in Hungary not Greece). So we, a small team of engineers, not VC funded, went probably through all the same problems as ED and colleagues went with my team some years ago. We made progress, we made errors, we had to postpone "mass" production many times, finally we had the product, but it still had problems, customers complained, we improved, customers are happy now. The only thing I can say: The price of the Pyra given the circumstances is moderate, if not low!
 

Christoph.Krn

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Oh, right, @EvilDragon didn't you once say that you should perhaps write a book about your experiences that lead to the Pandora and now Pyra, with all the lessons learned? I still think you really should do that, maybe start it when all the investors are paid back. With all the public records of the development that are already on the internet, there is an entire community that could read your book's drafts and make very educated suggestions. I'm sure that the end result would be a highly valuable resource to other hardware projects...
 

elwing

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I wonder why people complain about the price of such equipment when they happily pay 1k for an iPhone whose hardware cost is at maximum 250$ ...
 

vcoleiro1

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Well, I think the problem is as follows. And by the way, even the WIN had a lot of people say it was expensive at $300 . And the reason is this

With these devices, there are a number of markets that it attracts .1) The UMPC market, 2) The Handheld game console market 3) Some who want to use it for both.

For the UMPC market, the price is ok . Because traditionally , the price is in line with what UMPCs have been in the past. It's what people expect

Unfortunately though, for those that want it primarily for a Handheld game console, which is by far the bigger market, it's super expensive. This market will always draw the comparison to other handhelds which are cheaper. It's fair to say there is a range of prices people expect to pay for a Handheld game console and both the WIN and definately the Pyra are outside that range. People have gotten use to paying 3DS and Vita prices for handheld consoles , that's generally the price range for Chinese Android handhelds as well. As soon as you go outside that range, people always start complaining about the price. I see it happen time and time again. Recently with the JXD S192 which was priced at $339 I think.

Now of course for what they are, they are worth the money and you can see why they warrant the prices. But the market is use to expecting handheld game consoles to be priced below generally $250 but really want < $199

This is why you will always get people saying they are expensive. It's unfortunate, but you can only do what people have been doing and explain why it is priced the way it is . And also point out the fact it's also a UMPC and what those traditionally cost etc.
 
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