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Re: Pricing and licensing issues.

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  • Atomic_Caterpillar
    Right on dude!!!! I feel the same way. -AC
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 31, 2002
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      Right on dude!!!!

      I feel the same way.
      -AC

      > If we(Indians) hesitate, someone in China will make it much cheaper
      > soon. We must make something that benifits the world. We must not
      > distinguish between Developed/Developing countries.
      >
      > After all Linux was made in Europe/US, but all the world has
      > benifitted from it.
    • Edward Cherlin
      ... It has proven very difficult to get the following concept over to people new to the Simputer: The Simputer is designed from the ground up to be shared.
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 2, 2002
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        On Thursday 31 October 2002 07:35 am, Ajay Sharma wrote:
        > Hi,
        >
        > I think the pricing of simputer is very high.

        It has proven very difficult to get the following concept over to people new
        to the Simputer:

        The Simputer is designed from the ground up to be shared. Sharing reduces the
        cost per person by a large factor, from a level completely out of reach of
        the poor to a level that almost anyone can afford. It also brings the cost
        within reach of a multitude of government and non-profit programs, which can
        then provide subsidized access for the very poorest people.

        If 100 people use one Simputer for up to an hour a week each (supposing 16
        hours of availablity each day), then the cost per person is

        The Simputer itself for $1.75-$3.00 per person, depending on configuration
        plus the cost of a smart card, less than $2.00
        plus connectivity and Internet access, perhaps $0.50-$1.00 per month each
        plus batteries.

        I think it will take 3 sets of AA batteries a day, if not using rechargeables.
        Somebody posted the retail price of batteries in India last month, but I
        don't have it handy. In any case it would make more sense to buy in bulk or
        to use rechargeables. External solar recharging units will be available at
        moderate cost (per person).

        In total, therefore, we are looking at a cost of less than $5.00 per user for
        hardware, and less than $2.00 per person per month for service and power.

        Would you consider this affordable for a farmer?

        How about a family with a relative working in the city or in another country
        and sending remittances? Would it make sense for the family to pay this much
        for e-mail or for Voice Over IP, saving international telephone charges?

        >The market is maybe India, but the US and Europe will lap it up.

        I think it will take a combination of Indian design, Chinese manufacturing,
        and Japanese marketing to penetrate the U.S. market fully. I am not up enough
        on the European market to make predictions there. However, I suspect that the
        Simputer can be marketed successfully as a Green product. Part of the pitch
        has to be that buying a Simputer in a developed country helps fund
        distribution and manufacturing in developing countries, and thereby helps
        inclease use of Simputers in speeding development, education, health, the
        environment, and everything else. It would be even better to include a
        contribution to appropriate NGOs (starting with the Simputer Trust) in the
        purchase price.

        > If you cannot make it cheaper, then make the hardware specs/design
        > license free and open. Let other countries/individuals chip in to make
        > cheap addidtions to it.

        The hardware license is open and extremely inexpensive. It is based on the
        GPL. The text of the license is posted at simputer.org.

        You couldn't possibly prevent other
        countries/companies/individuals/governments from creating and funding cheap
        additions. For example, the Simputer has a USB port and an infrared port, so
        a multitude of add-ons is available now off the shelf. In a few years we will
        see Simputers with USB-2, gigabit Ethernet, and wireless connectivity such as
        Bluetooth.

        > The Developer/Sys-Admin audience will be another market.

        Handhelds are not suitable for development, which requires multiple code
        windows in a large display, and a keyboard. Sysadmins also need keyboards.

        Areas where the Simputer and other handhelds have proven themselves include
        internet access, e-mail, data collection, and education. Delivery of health
        information and support of other essential social services are in testing,
        and many proposed applications are quite promising.

        > A "Sharp Zaurus" costs $250, strip the goodies and it will sell for $
        > 150. The simputer should be priced around $100.

        Wait only one or two years. Decreases in component cost and efficiencies in
        production with volume will drive the retail price for the barebones unit
        down from $175 to $100 well within that time. Since the late 1940s the cost
        of computer hardware has fallen 35-40% annually relative to performance.

        Or you and your friends could get together and buy a batch wholesale. At a
        typical 40% discount, the $175 model would go for $105. Does that satisfy
        your concerns?

        > If we (Indians) hesitate, someone in China will make it much cheaper
        > soon.

        It is currently made in Singapore. Neither Taiwan nor the PRC is likely to get
        ahead of Encore's manufacturing costs, which will decrease rapidly.

        > We must make something that benifits the world. We must not
        > distinguish between Developed/Developing countries.

        Thank you.

        > After all Linux was made in Europe/US, but all the world has
        > benifitted from it.
        >
        > Regards
        > ajay sharma

        GNU India is also contributing significantly to Linux. One of its current
        projects is Unicode conversion of a set of fonts received from an Indian
        software company as a gift for Gandhi-ji's birthday. These fonts cover all of
        the writing systems of India. The Pango and Graphite groups are working with
        the Indian developers so that Linux will soon have input and display
        processing capabilities for all 18 official languages of India, and a number
        of others.
        --
        Edward Cherlin
        Linux Unicode HOWTO maintainer
      • Warren Brunson
        ... From: Edward Cherlin To: Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:06 PM Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 3, 2002
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          ---- Original Message -----
          From: "Edward Cherlin" <cherlin@...>
          To: <simputer@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:06 PM
          Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and licensing issues.


          > It has proven very difficult to get the following concept over to people
          new
          > to the Simputer:
          >
          > The Simputer is designed from the ground up to be shared. Sharing reduces
          the
          > cost per person by a large factor, from a level completely out of reach of
          > the poor to a level that almost anyone can afford. It also brings the cost
          > within reach of a multitude of government and non-profit programs, which
          can
          > then provide subsidized access for the very poorest people.
          >
          > If 100 people use one Simputer for up to an hour a week each (supposing 16
          > hours of availablity each day), then the cost per person is

          Perhaps one of the reasons this concept has been difficult to get across is
          that experience
          teaches us that shared use is not as easy as it sounds.

          It is true that 100 people could use the Simputer for an hour each during a
          week - in theory.
          In practice, it may turn out quite differently, especially if the intended
          audience is a
          farming community. The difficulty will not be in 100 people being able to
          use the Simputer
          for an hour; it will be the need for half of these people to use the
          Simputer during the very same
          hour - as farmers check crop prices, for example, with a real need to be
          first to the most
          profitable markets.

          100 people could use two Simputers much more efficiently and conveniently
          than one - probably
          more than twice as efficiently - and the convenience curve continues to rise
          dramatically with the
          addition of each new Simputer up to an optimum of probably 10 per group of
          100 people.
          However, the ownership cost per person also rises dramatically. I suspect
          that this will be
          the marketing and distribution challenge - to find the optimum Simputer/user
          groupings, while
          keeping the per-person cost of ownership within reason.

          Warren Brunson
        • soumya@telco.co.in
          ... ... It is basically a queuing situation. Normally, you will find somewhere between 60-70% utilization the problem tapers off. So may be one
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 4, 2002
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            -----Original Message-----
            > From: Warren Brunson [mailto:wrbrunson@...]
            > Sent: 03 November 2002 13:53
            > To: simputer@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and licensing issues.
            >
            >
            > ---- Original Message -----
            > From: "Edward Cherlin" <cherlin@...>
            > To: <simputer@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:06 PM
            > Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and licensing issues.
            >
            > It is true that 100 people could use the Simputer for an hour
            > each during a
            > week - in theory.
            > In practice, it may turn out quite differently, especially if
            > the intended
            <--snip-->
            >
            > 100 people could use two Simputers much more efficiently and
            > conveniently
            > than one - probably
            > more than twice as efficiently - and the convenience curve
            > continues to rise
            > dramatically with the
            > addition of each new Simputer up to an optimum of probably

            It is basically a queuing situation. Normally, you will find somewhere
            between 60-70% utilization the problem tapers off. So may be one should aim
            at 60 hour use and not 100 hours to evaluate cost effectiveness.


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • soumya@telco.co.in
            For an average farmer I agree. But it should not be very high at co-operative level. A village can buy a simputer for their use. And since it can be used in
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 4, 2002
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              For an average farmer I agree. But it should not be very high at
              co-operative level. A village can buy a simputer for their use. And since it
              can be used in different modality a whole range of service can make use of
              it.

              Say, morning the Head of the administration decides where to sell the
              village product. In late morning the village doctor may use it to check
              inventory of rural health clinic and update records. Afternoon, ppl may use
              it to send/recv voicemails to their distant relatives. Evening it may be
              useful for students to practice programming. For this a USB keyboard may
              come handy.

              Regarding power supply - In India, and many developing countries have used
              motorcycle/car batteries available in plenty. These can also be used as
              power source - maybe somebody will come out with a 6v/12v adopter for
              simputer.

              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Edward Cherlin [mailto:cherlin@...]
              > Sent: 03 November 2002 03:36
              > To: simputer@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and licensing issues.
              >
              >
              > On Thursday 31 October 2002 07:35 am, Ajay Sharma wrote:
              > > Hi,
              > >
              > > I think the pricing of simputer is very high.
              >
              > It has proven very difficult to get the following concept
              > over to people new
              > to the Simputer:
              >
              > The Simputer is designed from the ground up to be shared.
              > Sharing reduces the
              > cost per person by a large factor, from a level completely
              > out of reach of
              > the poor to a level that almost anyone can afford. It also
              > brings the cost
              > within reach of a multitude of government and non-profit
              > programs, which can
              > then provide subsidized access for the very poorest people.
              >
              > If 100 people use one Simputer for up to an hour a week each
              > (supposing 16
              > hours of availablity each day), then the cost per person is
              >
              > The Simputer itself for $1.75-$3.00 per person, depending on
              > configuration
              > plus the cost of a smart card, less than $2.00
              > plus connectivity and Internet access, perhaps $0.50-$1.00
              > per month each
              > plus batteries.
              >
              > I think it will take 3 sets of AA batteries a day, if not
              > using rechargeables.
              > Somebody posted the retail price of batteries in India last
              > month, but I
              > don't have it handy. In any case it would make more sense to
              > buy in bulk or
              > to use rechargeables. External solar recharging units will be
              > available at
              > moderate cost (per person).
              >
              > In total, therefore, we are looking at a cost of less than
              > $5.00 per user for
              > hardware, and less than $2.00 per person per month for
              > service and power.
              >
              > Would you consider this affordable for a farmer?
              >
              > How about a family with a relative working in the city or in
              > another country
              > and sending remittances? Would it make sense for the family
              > to pay this much
              > for e-mail or for Voice Over IP, saving international
              > telephone charges?
              >
              > >The market is maybe India, but the US and Europe will lap it up.
              >
              > I think it will take a combination of Indian design, Chinese
              > manufacturing,
              > and Japanese marketing to penetrate the U.S. market fully. I
              > am not up enough
              > on the European market to make predictions there. However, I
              > suspect that the
              > Simputer can be marketed successfully as a Green product.
              > Part of the pitch
              > has to be that buying a Simputer in a developed country helps fund
              > distribution and manufacturing in developing countries, and
              > thereby helps
              > inclease use of Simputers in speeding development, education,
              > health, the
              > environment, and everything else. It would be even better to
              > include a
              > contribution to appropriate NGOs (starting with the Simputer
              > Trust) in the
              > purchase price.
              >
              > > If you cannot make it cheaper, then make the hardware specs/design
              > > license free and open. Let other countries/individuals chip
              > in to make
              > > cheap addidtions to it.
              >
              > The hardware license is open and extremely inexpensive. It is
              > based on the
              > GPL. The text of the license is posted at simputer.org.
              >
              > You couldn't possibly prevent other
              > countries/companies/individuals/governments from creating and
              > funding cheap
              > additions. For example, the Simputer has a USB port and an
              > infrared port, so
              > a multitude of add-ons is available now off the shelf. In a
              > few years we will
              > see Simputers with USB-2, gigabit Ethernet, and wireless
              > connectivity such as
              > Bluetooth.
              >
              > > The Developer/Sys-Admin audience will be another market.
              >
              > Handhelds are not suitable for development, which requires
              > multiple code
              > windows in a large display, and a keyboard. Sysadmins also
              > need keyboards.
              >
              > Areas where the Simputer and other handhelds have proven
              > themselves include
              > internet access, e-mail, data collection, and education.
              > Delivery of health
              > information and support of other essential social services
              > are in testing,
              > and many proposed applications are quite promising.
              >
              > > A "Sharp Zaurus" costs $250, strip the goodies and it will
              > sell for $
              > > 150. The simputer should be priced around $100.
              >
              > Wait only one or two years. Decreases in component cost and
              > efficiencies in
              > production with volume will drive the retail price for the
              > barebones unit
              > down from $175 to $100 well within that time. Since the late
              > 1940s the cost
              > of computer hardware has fallen 35-40% annually relative to
              > performance.
              >
              > Or you and your friends could get together and buy a batch
              > wholesale. At a
              > typical 40% discount, the $175 model would go for $105. Does
              > that satisfy
              > your concerns?
              >
              > > If we (Indians) hesitate, someone in China will make it much cheaper
              > > soon.
              >
              > It is currently made in Singapore. Neither Taiwan nor the PRC
              > is likely to get
              > ahead of Encore's manufacturing costs, which will decrease rapidly.
              >
              > > We must make something that benifits the world. We must not
              > > distinguish between Developed/Developing countries.
              >
              > Thank you.
              >
              > > After all Linux was made in Europe/US, but all the world has
              > > benifitted from it.
              > >
              > > Regards
              > > ajay sharma
              >
              > GNU India is also contributing significantly to Linux. One of
              > its current
              > projects is Unicode conversion of a set of fonts received
              > from an Indian
              > software company as a gift for Gandhi-ji's birthday. These
              > fonts cover all of
              > the writing systems of India. The Pango and Graphite groups
              > are working with
              > the Indian developers so that Linux will soon have input and display
              > processing capabilities for all 18 official languages of
              > India, and a number
              > of others.
              > --
              > Edward Cherlin
              > Linux Unicode HOWTO maintainer
              >
              >
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Edward Cherlin
              ... I believe that you are looking at the wrong experience. The Simputer has been field-tested in India. ... I will not argue the issue. I simply point out
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 8, 2002
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                On Sunday 03 November 2002 12:22 am, Warren Brunson wrote:
                > ---- Original Message -----
                > From: "Edward Cherlin" <cherlin@...>
                > To: <simputer@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:06 PM
                > Subject: Re: [simputer] Pricing and licensing issues.
                >
                > > It has proven very difficult to get the following concept over to people
                > new to the Simputer:
                > > The Simputer is designed from the ground up to be shared. Sharing reduces
                > the
                > > cost per person by a large factor, from a level completely out of reach
                > > of the poor to a level that almost anyone can afford. It also brings the
                > > cost within reach of a multitude of government and non-profit programs,
                > > which can
                > > then provide subsidized access for the very poorest people.
                > >
                > > If 100 people use one Simputer for up to an hour a week each (supposing
                > > 16 hours of availablity each day), then the cost per person is
                >
                > Perhaps one of the reasons this concept has been difficult to get across is
                > that experience
                > teaches us that shared use is not as easy as it sounds.

                I believe that you are looking at the wrong experience. The Simputer has been
                field-tested in India.

                > It is true that 100 people could use the Simputer for an hour each during a
                > week - in theory.
                > In practice, it may turn out quite differently, especially if the intended
                > audience is a
                > farming community. The difficulty will not be in 100 people being able to
                > use the Simputer
                > for an hour; it will be the need for half of these people to use the
                > Simputer during the very same
                > hour - as farmers check crop prices, for example, with a real need to be
                > first to the most profitable markets.

                I will not argue the issue. I simply point out that sharing does work. People
                share public coin phones with only occasional fuss, and the Grameen Bank has
                shown that sharing works well for cell phones in Bangla Desh. People in
                developed countries share computers in public libraries. In some cities in
                the Netherlands, the populace shares public bicycles, while in other cities
                people share taxicabs, subways, or buses. We share doctors, lawyers,
                schoolteachers, and plumbers.

                When several people often want a shared resource at the same time, there is a
                well-known method for dealing with the situation. You get them to make
                appointments.

                Of course sharing will not work in every case. The cases where it will work
                are more than sufficient to begin with. If availability of Simputers helps to
                raise incomes as intended, the rest of the problem will solve itself.

                Optimist--The glass is half full.
                Pessimist--The glass is half empty.
                Poor person--You have a GLASS?

                > 100 people could use two Simputers much more efficiently and conveniently
                > than one - probably more than twice as efficiently -
                > and the convenience curve continues to rise dramatically with the
                > addition of each new Simputer up to an optimum of probably 10 per group of
                > 100 people.

                The optimum is more like 120 per hundred people, allowing for those who have
                both business and personal uses. Anyway, not every potential user is poor, so
                those who can pay more and have more uses for Simputers will buy more.

                > However, the ownership cost per person also rises dramatically. I suspect
                > that this will be
                > the marketing and distribution challenge - to find the optimum
                > Simputer/user groupings, while
                > keeping the per-person cost of ownership within reason.

                The manufacturers and marketers don't have to solve that problem. The users
                will figure it out for their own situations.

                > Warren Brunson

                One last thought on the matter. One Simputer for every hundred Indians is 10
                million units, with an if-sold value of US$2-3 billion. It will take at least
                three years to make that many, and by then all of the original units will
                need to be replaced. Sharing is not the hard part. Waiting for one to share
                is far more painful.

                If you think one Simputer for ten people is the ideal, you must try to
                convince your government to chip in a share of the $20 billion or so needed.
                --
                Edward Cherlin
                Generalist
                "A knot!" cried Alice. "Oh, do let me help to undo it."
                Alice in Wonderland
              • Edward Cherlin
                ... [Simputer used by 100 people for one hour a week each, out of 7x16=102 waking hours in the week.] ... Assuming random arrival, yes. I was assuming that
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 30, 2002
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                  On Monday 04 November 2002 06:46 pm, soumya@... wrote:
                  > > From: Warren Brunson [mailto:wrbrunson@...]
                  > > Sent: 03 November 2002 13:53
                  > > From: "Edward Cherlin" <cherlin@...>
                  > > To: <simputer@yahoogroups.com>
                  > > Sent: Saturday, November 02, 2002 3:06 PM
                  [Simputer used by 100 people for one hour a week each, out of 7x16=102 waking
                  hours in the week.]
                  > > 100 people could use two Simputers much more efficiently and
                  > > conveniently than one - probably
                  > > more than twice as efficiently - and the convenience curve
                  > > continues to rise dramatically with the
                  > > addition of each new Simputer up to an optimum of probably
                  >
                  > It is basically a queuing situation. Normally, you will find somewhere
                  > between 60-70% utilization the problem tapers off. So may be one should aim
                  > at 60 hour use and not 100 hours to evaluate cost effectiveness.

                  Assuming random arrival, yes. I was assuming that users would make
                  appointments, as is done for other services provided in villages in various
                  countries.
                  --
                  Edward Cherlin
                  Generalist
                  "A knot!" cried Alice. "Oh, do let me help to undo it."
                  Alice in Wonderland
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