On Tue, 3 Jul 2012, Mark Tapley wrote:
Imbedded systems, "educational" systems, etc. could maybe develop a
market size that would make it possible to produce, but the cost of providing
good service info (much more to produce good "educational" material to
accompany the system if that's the route you are going) ... ouch.
It looks to me like the market has fragmented into
a) N8VEM class systems -
*truly* niche market, open architecture but tiny numbers sold
b) Rpi class systems -
incomplete docs and SMI/unserviceable construction, moderate numbers
c) Commodity boxes, iPad/ThinkBook/etc -
serviceable only with specialized tools or not at all, the vast
majority of the market.
d) Server boxes
more serviceable, but at the fast, board-swap-to-get-it-running
level. Expensive. Small fraction of market.
Anyone have ideas on how to break out of those categories? I think
whatever it is will need a powerful enough CPU to run a *big* fraction of
modern hardware (recent Linux -> web browser + self-hosted development
environment?), be easy enough to assemble to require minimal tool
acquisition, and use commodity peripherals (flash card storage, HDMI output,
bluetooth or USB KB/mouse, microphone?). Complexity is already an issue at
that point; trying to "educate" a new user across that whole array of
components is pretty daunting.
There are also embedded/industrial computers. My experience with some of
the vendors in this market while non-typical, is that they will share
board-level prints and docs when I've needed them (such as while modifying
and adapting existing designs to specific applications) but such
documentation still isn't normally available.