How are we going to make a lot of money?


xiongxioi

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I think we all have some kind of good ideas about P2's specs, or name or how it should use a 50 inch oled screen which has not been developed yet.

It's all very fun and sometimes infomative. (Special thanks to Exophase as he seems to be the wise man in this party)

However, it all comes down to one very basic, yet fundametally important question. How can P2 make a lot of money, how can it be profitable(with a reasonable return), what has been proven as beneficial for an expensive product's success.

Better spec doesn't mean jack when its software can't make use of it. Take a look at sumsang's galaxy note 10.1, that thing has a good digitizer pen. But it's still not favourable in comparison with let's say an Ipad3. We have to get things that we are sure that will be useful. Having a 3d screen or 2 screens are not within this catagory. For example, a good amplifier is useful, genuine opengl support is much appreciated, a sensitive resistive touch screen is good, a digitizer pen may be even better, but we have to stay cold-minded as not many linux programs have built-in digitizer support.

Making it cheaper does not guarentee a better overal result. Take a look at those Chinese android tablets. They are cheap as dirt, and some of them are of good quality. They just aren't selling. What if let's say tomorrow, every single Chinese tablet manufacturer decides to put linux into their electronic tea trays? Will they harm Pandora's sell? The answer is may be if P2's target market somehow wants those instead of a Pandora. Can we somehow make pandora competitive in a-best-value-for-your-buck war? We can't. There is not point in lowering our price to $400, as we can't deliver good products with that little profit margin.

Reduce unpredictable loss. If we are going to have the nubs by this weekend, we have to make sure that they arrive on Friday. If we are to entrust a company making cases for p2, we have to make damn sure that every case they ship are nice and solid. If we are to distribute P2 through some body, then he better be able to keep his promises and won't drag we down.

Changing our market strategy. Gaming is a hobby; composing music on the go, reading blue prints and coding are works. Most middle class men don't have many hobbies besides going to gyms and watching TV while eating pizzas, or cleaning their house and such. how about we port many of those engineering programs (freewares of cause) before launch and selling pandoras in bulk to enterprises? P2 can show off powerpoint presentations and record voice notes. It will fit in nicely in an office environment. But then we need to provide more fool-friendly services. Like pre-install softwares for them, auto update, and even to make enterprise editions of pandoras that cut down most of the OS features for a better and easier work experience. May be we can add an second user-interface that only shows apps, documents, emails, calendar, shoping list, finiance software and so on.

Expending from this secondary user-interface idea, I would suggest that it should have seperate tabs for each app. Such as making the first tab to display email, you can directly see what you've just sent, how many inboxes are there. The second tab would be office, and you will have previews of a few documents you just opened. The third would be  a QCAD tab that shows all of your recent blueprints. And so on. It should also have some kind of easy to use Qemu thingy, that lets you run simple programs that were written in VB.

Just think about how great that would be. To continue my work, I would not need to turn on the computer, searching for that single software, looking for that document I was just working on, while resist the temptations to fiddle with other programs. All it takes to go what I want to go is a single click. The less clicks the better. This would not only make life easier but would also reduce a lot of the distractions. It's just wonderful to think about.

I would pay good money for this pandora. (If it can run many windows programs with not much trouble, Even $1000 would not be out of the question.)
 

Mr_Loon

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...

However, it all comes down to one very basic, yet fundametally important question. How can P2 make a lot of money, how can it be profitable(with a reasonable return), what has been proven as beneficial for an expensive product's success.

...
Interesting and thought provoking, hard to answer though without understanding your opinions of the following relating to P2 :

1 ) How much money is 'a lot of money'?

2 ) What do you mean by reasonable return (return on invesment? mark up at retail? RMA rate?)

3 ) In terms of figures what would be a reasonable return?
 

xiongxioi

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Interesting and thought provoking, hard to answer though without understanding your opinions of the following relating to P2 :

1 ) How much money is 'a lot of money'?

2 ) What do you mean by reasonable return (return on invesment? mark up at retail? RMA rate?)

3 ) In terms of figures what would be a reasonable return?
RMA rate of cause. There is no point in doing a business if the investment is roughly the same as the outcome.

Let's say ED needs X amount for ongoing costs (like hiring 3 people at times to provide supports), this would be the bare minimium profit.

I don't know much, but it's certainly reassuring to have a bit extra laying around.
 
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xiongxioi

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I would like to hear about your opinions, as mines are terriblely biased.
 
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levi

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Reduce unpredictable loss. If we are going to have the nubs by this weekend, we have to make sure that they arrive on Friday. If we are to entrust a company making cases for p2, we have to make damn sure that every case they ship are nice and solid. If we are to distribute P2 through some body, then he better be able to keep his promises and won't drag we down.
I'd suggest focussing first on getting nubs by the right month first, or even the right year.

As to changing the market focus, a lot of what you suggest requires software, and that's the one place the Pandora has really depended on the unpaid members of this community - in creating the OS, and making it as polished as it is. Also, the hackers and geeks and gamers on here are the current core audience - I would suggest avoiding alienating them while you chase after some other pipedream.


I'm not against finding new niches for this device - in fact that's probably a good idea as while the Pandora has attracted users the GP-devices never did, as you identify there are many other ways to do some of the things the Pandora does best than there were in 2008.
 

thatgui

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I think the inherent flaw in this is the premise of "making a lot of money"- I doubt it is possible to do that with the Pandora 2.
Its a niche device with a nice audience - while its a good idea to enter some new niches, it just won't happen in a scale you are targeting.
Especially the business idea won't fire off: Why should a company be interested in buying a Pandora? Software wise, every smartphone will probably have a more suitable software package to offer than the P2 ever will. Because of some freeware engineering software ? I highly doubt that.

And as already said, most of your ideas rely on dedicated software developement, that really delivers, with stable release cycles, quality assurance, support, etc. Where should this come from ?
 
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_wb_

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Don't underestimate how much effort it takes to make something "fool-proof". Also take into account that "fool-proof" mostly means "reduced functionality" - e.g. if you want to prevent someone from shooting himself in the foot, the best strategy is often to take away the gun or at least the bullet.

So I don't think it's a good idea to aim for that. And if you aim for that, there's no reason to restrict it to the P2: you could make your own distro (say, a Ubuntu fork) that would work on all kinds of hardware - I don't see why software (fool-proof or not) has to be dedicated to specific hardware.

The target market for the P2 will be mostly identical to that for the P1: maybe a bit less focus on retro-gaming and more on "serious" stuff and more recent games, but it will still be a small niche market of relatively tech-savvy people. Its main advantage will still be its openness, which is something increasingly non-mainstream: consoles never were open, but other types of computers are now also becoming increasingly closed (smartphones, tablets etc), with more and more "walled gardens", restrictive licenses, and "fool-proofing by reducing functionality" (e.g. iOS is a good example of this).

The P2 will most likely be able to run any operating system or distro that supports whatever hardware the P2 will be based on: the NAND size will no longer be a problem. It's still probably a good idea to pick a distro and tweak it specifically for the P2 and make it the "official" P2 distro, but ideally you would also be able to just install whatever you want on it, and if it's a reasonably standard GNU/Linux distro to start from, you can just add a "P2 package" on top of that which installs missing libraries (in particular, libpnd and some libraries currently in SZ that are expected to be available) and some set of standard programs like PNDManager, minimenu, hardware settings, a P1 emulator in case the P2 is not backwards compatible, and so on.
 

Klumpen

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Best way to make a lot of money without too much trouble:

Selling additional stuff like overprized cables, adapters, case designs, screen protectors, SD cases/albums, tripods, magnifier, bags, etc...
 

xiongxioi

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Best way to make a lot of money without too much trouble:

Selling additional stuff like overprized cables, adapters, case designs, screen protectors, SD cases/albums, tripods, magnifier, bags, etc...
That's not strictly true, my good sir.

Buying these in small quantity is expensive, and it's not just like you can invest the money and wait for the end products.

You remember Craigix right? ICP 2 is a small and simple project. But it is still screwed up, and people are getting upset with it. (Why won't they?)

If ED's going to make some add-ons, he'd better send someone to China wearing a suit and watch them in the factory as they put things together.
 

xiongxioi

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Don't underestimate how much effort it takes to make something "fool-proof". Also take into account that "fool-proof" mostly means "reduced functionality" - e.g. if you want to prevent someone from shooting himself in the foot, the best strategy is often to take away the gun or at least the bullet.

So I don't think it's a good idea to aim for that. And if you aim for that, there's no reason to restrict it to the P2: you could make your own distro (say, a Ubuntu fork) that would work on all kinds of hardware - I don't see why software (fool-proof or not) has to be dedicated to specific hardware.
Well, you have some good points there, but you should know that pandora is not as attractive of an option as it was back in 2008. Android is the future for emulation purposes.

This niche will stay here forever, like those dreamcast lovers, but it will shrink and become smaller as time goes on.

Sure, pandora can stay where it is, and there isn't much risk at all if we stay this way. But, by making it more accessible will make it much more accessive.

Dedicating software to hardware will improve the usability of the system. Right now, pandora is basically not more than a small laptop with good battery time. This is not enough.

By give pandora a secondary os, which is simple, stupid, intuitive, and most importantly make everything easier to access, will make pandora that better of a choice.

Yes, I know Fool-proof means watered down freedom, but it also make the machine more accessible. It's not like any of us would need it, but most your average middle-class men in a suit would.

You don't need to know how to run linux to use an Iphone, similarly you don't need to know how to set up a p2p connection to use skype.

There is nothing wrong with having a secondary user interface for normal people.

I know most people would disagree with my opinion, that's fine, we all know how to agree with disagree.

My point is, pandora has great potentials, but they go unused because of it's softwares.

It's a massive pain to check my emails with pandora, it's not any more convinient to type on it than with a ipad, many of the great apps it has are under appreciated because just how difficult it is to get them running.

Pandora at its current stage is about as good as an ipad when it comes to dealing with documents and processing information.

If OPT has this in mind when designing P2, it won't cost much extra but will surely make pandora attracting even for people outside.

The frameworks are all there, we just need to wake up and realise Pandora has already become much more than a gp2x with keyboard.
 

levi

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Ahem

Edit: I agree with some of your criticisms though.  The repo and the community is a little too in-the-now sometimes.  Ekianjo's blog does a great job of sifting through everything and posting periodic lists of the greatest and the best, but it's mostly one man against the void*.  And I guess some PNDs are a little involved to get running.  Personally I've never tried to run anything that I've found to hard to set up, but then I am a professional techie and am quite used to poking around in machine generated filesystems and the likes, so I can see how some of the setup would be quite complicated for some newbies.  And I suppose the PND system does make checking emails more involved than on alternative platforms - though a simple system mod to allow the running on specified PNDs on startup might go a lot of the way.

I don't agree that iPad's are as easy to type on, but then again I don't think I've ever typed on one, only on an iPhone (which I hated). The iPad's got a lot more real-estate than either the iPhone or the Pandora, so perhaps it does a better job.

*I know we all agreed a blog would be great, and we'd all contribute to it regularly, but, well we all have our reasons I guess (personally, I discovered that writing a technical blog post was a lot more time consuming than firing off a barely-researched forum missive on some minutiae)
 
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Mr_Loon

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...

However, it all comes down to one very basic, yet fundametally important question. How can P2 make a lot of money, how can it be profitable(with a reasonable return), what has been proven as beneficial for an expensive product's success.

...
Interesting and thought provoking, hard to answer though without understanding your opinions of the following relating to P2 :

1 ) How much money is 'a lot of money'?

2 ) What do you mean by reasonable return (return on invesment? mark up at retail? RMA rate?)

3 ) In terms of figures what would be a reasonable return?
I believe that you've very nearly hit the nail on the head with your fundamental question, but only for one aspect of the project, the financial aspect.

i.e. One of the first things a manufacturer of a Pandora successor should consider is of course the financial viability of the project.

Here is how I would see it in terms of fundamentals i.e. the things that should be done before any design work is undertaken :

1) Decide the financial goals, there is no right & wrong here, it could be :

a ) Make a lot of profit, buy a small island, large mansion & a luxury jet and retire to a life of playing Japanese RPG's.

b ) Make enough money to : cover all expenses, pay a reasonable wage for time spent, pay off investors, invest in future product development, provide significant rewards for voluntary software / firmware work, and perhaps have a little bit left over to buy a few obscure Japanese RPGs from eBay.

2) Decide if the P2 should be a mass market device or a niche device. Let's just assume for now that it's going to be a niche device.

3) Look at exactly what niche or niches it is going to aim for. Have a clear plan as to how you will be able to make P2 a worthy purchase when you could just buy a Linux equipped smart phone & an iCP2.

4) Decide if the device will also offer a 'full' Android experience (multi touch, Motion Sensor, Camera, GPS, etc.), let's just assume a full Linux experience is a given.

5) Look to the community for help with concepts & designs. You are of course going to get a lot of noise along with the signal but it always struck me that this community could be incredibly useful for things like choosing things like a keyboard / screen / onboard storage VS USB3 etc. For instance you might find a load of people here would be willing to pay an extra $75 for a real high quality laptop standard keyboard or that people are perfectly happy to have exactly the same type of keyboard as the current Pandora etc.

As to your question as to how to make a lot of money I'd say go modular, try and include some interesting and innovative features that would make the P2 stand out from the crowd, take advantage of current trends, take advantage of the current Software library and be lucky. :)
 
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thatgui

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I know most people would disagree with my opinion, that's fine, we all know how to agree with disagree.

My point is, pandora has great potentials, but they go unused because of it's softwares.

It's a massive pain to check my emails with pandora, it's not any more convinient to type on it than with a ipad, many of the great apps it has are under appreciated because just how difficult it is to get them running.

Pandora at its current stage is about as good as an ipad when it comes to dealing with documents and processing information.

If OPT has this in mind when designing P2, it won't cost much extra but will surely make pandora attracting even for people outside.

The frameworks are all there, we just need to wake up and realise Pandora has already become much more than a gp2x with keyboard.
How about some ideas to make this happen ?

What you are saying isn't wrong, but it isn't something that will suddenly materialize with the P2 . Till now this thread is totally useless => I state that having a Playstation 2 emulator ready for the launch of P2 will give the P2 a huge boost and probably Ed would make a lot of money with it => does anyone not think that this is a good idea ?
 

TrashyMG

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^Except I doubt any mobile processor on the market in the next 5 years will be able to play playstation 2 emulation at a decent speed.
 
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xiongxioi

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How about some ideas to make this happen ?

What you are saying isn't wrong, but it isn't something that will suddenly materialize with the P2 . Till now this thread is totally useless => I state that having a Playstation 2 emulator ready for the launch of P2 will give the P2 a huge boost and probably Ed would make a lot of money with it => does anyone not think that this is a good idea ?
There is a fundamental difference between my suggestion and your analogy. What I've stated is possible even for Pandora. It won't cost that much, it doesn't have any hardware requirement, and it improves the product drastically.

Having Ps2 emulation will boost P2's sale, but that is not possible, limited by both hardware and software. I doubt even giving a cortex a15 soc to Notaz and exophase and asking them to work on it full time can result in a playable PS2 emulator. I have better faith in ED making a portable PS2.

In contrast, making a new user interface, is  easy, and there are many round about ways of doing it.  If ED really want to make it, he will have a usable alpha version within a month. I don't think this is as implausible as you made it out to be. No offense, but we need to discuss more about these cheap easy to implement suggestions that will shape P2. OPT is a small team, I doubt he can out do sony or microsoft on hardwares. What's stopping people from just install linux on a x86 ultrabook or umpc? Are we going to stay competitive with them on emulation power? There will be dozens of them each year, and P2's hardware will stay pretty much the same (maybe having some improved versions) for may be 5 years. What we need is surpass them with superior usability and a open-minded ideology.
 
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Mr_Loon

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If it's so easy could you please make a new UI for the Pandora?


I like the current one a lot but love playing around with different UI's.
 

thatgui

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How about some ideas to make this happen ?

What you are saying isn't wrong, but it isn't something that will suddenly materialize with the P2 . Till now this thread is totally useless => I state that having a Playstation 2 emulator ready for the launch of P2 will give the P2 a huge boost and probably Ed would make a lot of money with it => does anyone not think that this is a good idea ?
There is a fundamental difference between my suggestion and your analogy. What I've stated is possible even for Pandora. It won't cost that much, it doesn't have any hardware requirement, and it improves the product drastically.Having Ps2 emulation will boost P2's sale, but that is not possible, limited by both hardware and software. I doubt even giving a cortex a15 soc to Notaz and exophase and asking them to work on it full time can result in a playable PS2 emulator. I have better faith in ED making a portable PS2.

In contrast, making a new user interface, is  easy, and there are many round about ways of doing it.  If ED really want to make it, he will have a usable alpha version within a month. I don't think this is as implausible as you made it out to be. No offense, but we need to discuss more about these cheap easy to implement suggestions that will shape P2.
As it looks like the only thing wrong with my post is that I could not deliver the point I am trying to make:
My analogy is totally viable as I don't go into details on how PS2 emulation could be accomplished, exactly as you did. But if you need a more abstract example, I postulate "If Ed makes everything better in the P2, he will sell more" Is this wrong ? No it is not, but it is useless as long as I do not go into detail about how this can/should be accomplished. While you are taking the "next step" by saying "we need to work heavily on the UI" this is still useless as no conclusion can be drawn, on how to accomplished this.

But to be more concrete:

Why do you think making a new user interface is "easy" ? You can prove me wrong by going into detail about it, and it must be very easy to do that as (according to you) the outcome is very easy to achive.

But before answering please take into consideration that you are talking about completly rewriting everything from scratch is needed: A fancy launcher won't help anyone (it is still nice to have, but does not help much in your scale), as long as the rest of the system stays the same. So every system tool that the user can interact with needs a new gui that is consistent with the rest. What use is a UI if the applications you start with it, don't use the same mechanics ? So every application you want to port to it also needs a new gui - otherwise the not so tech saavy will have problems using your system which in turn will lead to a lot of support cases and if sales are big enough, only having volunteers to do your support could get "thight".

But that is not the end of it. As you want to go the business route, you will need a real support system as big companies sure won't like to see their employees spending a lot paid working time skiming through threads on some support board. Which in turn leads to more testing and quality control on both sides - hardware and software - to minimze support requests, which can get really costly.

Edit: forgot about the last part:

OPT is a small team, I doubt he can out do sony or microsoft on hardwares. What's stopping people from just install linux on a x86 ultrabook or umpc? Are we going to stay competitive with them on emulation power? There will be dozens of them each year, and P2's hardware will stay pretty much the same (maybe having some improved versions) for may be 5 years. What we need is surpass them with superior usability and a open-minded ideology.
What are you even talking about ? While OPT is so small that they can not out do Sony or Microsoft, they are suddenly big enough to surpass the market in something MS, Apple, Google spent millions of dollars and developer hours on to achive ?Nothing stopps people from installing Linux on portable System, and that will not change with a better UI. And we simply can't stay competitive beeing it in emulation or any other field - the OpenPandora never really was competitive enough to occupy a big segment of the market.

The strenght of the Pandora is its community and its openness, nothing more, nothing less. But this comes at a price, the price that you will never get an uniform look and feel or any consistancy in it. People are drawn to it, because they can basically do what they want, so if they want to contribute they are probably deterred, if you tell them that their contribution needs to do this and that (or they just ignore you).

The price that the community can't exceed a certain size otherwise it will become too unpersonal, and less people will be attracted by its "spirit".

The price that a lot of contributors will not polish their software to the end, as motivation is their only impetus, not company planned development and money

etc.
 
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