project customers

Werner Almesberger werner at
Mon Apr 12 17:04:05 CEST 2010

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
> In business strategy planning it is quite common to separate e.g.  
> "consumer", "project", "service", "solution" business types and  
> markets because they have quite different requirements and attitudes  

Yes, I was familiar with the concept but I didn't know the term
"project customer". I used terms like "integrator" and similar,
which cover only part of the activities. "Project customer" is
much more precise. I'm happy I finally found the word for them :)

> At least one visitor during our presence at the SYSTEMS 2008 fair  
> expressed he is interested in 60000 units [...]

Hmm, if we assume a contribution towards R&D and QA of about USD
50 per device, that would be 3 millions. A while ago, Maddog and I
did a rough estimate of how much it would cost to make a new phone,
similar in style to gta02-core, but with updated components, etc.

We came up with a cost of about 2.5 millions before production (but
including transfer, certification, etc.). This visitor may be one of
those who would have enough resources to have their own design made
(*), but may not realize it.

(*) With the proviso that modules are used for most or all the RF
    parts. A design with RF components at the chip level would add
    difficulties and increase development cost.

> So for successful "project business", one must either provide a  
> product that is available for 5-7 years or at least a consistent  
> roadmap/upgrade plan.

I think either is very difficult to provide for an entire device
using mobile phone technology. But I think that much of the push
towards technological change can be buffered by having an Open
design - one may not be able to avoid changing the bare metal, but
interfaces and the software layers above the hardware can live as
long as anyone cares to keep them alive.

- Werner

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