Monday, November 26, 2007

The scarcity mindset

The scarcity mindset dominates humanity.

Small example: the new Amazon Kindle e-book reading device has 250MB of memory built in. This carries the operating system, and beyond that, about 200 books.
200 books is surely enough for most purposes. And you can expand it with SD flash cards.

But consider this: if they had included a GigaByte of memory, this would have cost them maybe three dollars more per device (which sells for $400). Perhaps just one dollar, considering bulk rebates. And they'd have been able to say "holds a thousand books" in the marketing campaign. And their buyers would have felt so much richer, holding "a thousand books" in their hand even before loading any content. And he would have been more eager to buy Amazon's e-books because all this empty space was longing to be filled.

So I think it's silly to save those three dollars. Giving customers more than they expect is a great business strategy.


Alex said...

4X memory may require two extra address lines. This may have pushed them up to a different processor family, so the cost is the $3 for memory and the $1 for the larger CPU and then incremental costs for the support components.

There again, with a serial flash interface, it's just two more bits on the address in software, which may have been in the protocol.

Who can tell.

Cliff Prince said...

I thought we were going to talk about enjoying our work, and picking up women. That's where scarcity usually comes to mind for me.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, when designing these things they start with the price, in this case probably choosing between $299, $399 and $499. Then they go, what can we do for $399?

The electrophoretic display must be the most expensive component. Perhaps they were hard pressed to do it under $400 at all?

Alex said...

I like the sounds of those electrophoretic displays. They are reflective rather than transmissive, so be daylight viewable.

Doesn't say if the particle hold their position without a charge present - I saw some static LCD displays at the Embedded Conference a couple of years back, they were pretty cool.

Anyone recognise phoretic displays from their childhood? Magna Doodle is an magnetophoretic display. This time it's the iron filing which darken the pixels and the fluid which lightens them. The filings are in (colloidal?) suspension, so the retention is considerable.

I never worked out the technology behind Etch-A-Sketch. But I do know the analog version works better than those early digital ones (Pixter)

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't say if the particle hold their position without a charge present ..."

I read somewhere that it does. The last page you viewed will remain visible even after switching the thing off.

Etch-A-Sketch was brilliant.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, the page stays without power.

Alex said...

PC controlled Etch-a-Sketch

Some people have too much time!