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Hardware Software and Human Design (Part 2)

Hardware Ecosystem outline

Before I start, I need to tell everybody I'm not working directly in the hardware industry, the following information is summary from what I learn by working with them. If any expert out there see any mistake or I'm wrong about anything. Feel free to comment or drop me a line.

This is my summary of the current hardware ecosystem. As you can see Chipset Vendors are in the head of the chain and the Vertical Business and Consumers are the end of the chain. And we can pretty much feeling the consumers space is getting ahead of the vertical in the mobile solution as we speak.

So let's look at the retail and consumer market gap, this is very typical PC and laptop model. Traditionally, you only get a few x86 chip to pick from. Intel, AMD and maybe VIA. What has been happen so far is the product cycle is already optimized so well, they can product hundreds of products in a year and the customers are very much confused with what they are really selling nowaday. Product marketing are pretty much using type of use to price their hardware and features. But since WinTel model has been dominating the market for so long, they never really get to understand how to use software and usability to keep user from leaving their product and creating the branding effect they have been longing for. And more and more PC switching to Apple is another indication. Of course we may claim that lots of end user install Windows into Mac, but how many really? I don't see any clear number on that, but the overall windows usage is less then 90% now since 2008 so I don't see that getting higher with win8 so far.

What about the mobile market? Even the graph is the same but the player in this graph is completely different. Chipset vendors change from x86 to ARM basically completely. And baseband provider is only ARM. So even you have seen something call a x86 phone right now, that is just half a story, since there isn't any x86 baseband which mean every phone still need an ARM chip no matter the AP is x86 or ARM. With this setup the mobile ecosystem, you get Qualcomm, MTK, Nvidia, Boardcom etc. Compare to PC you get a lot more options and choice you can pick the chipset solution from. However, many people in the field predicted it will change to something like the PC market very soon. I personally don't like to see that happen, however, if the business model didn't change, I see the same result. There are lots of other chipset vendors in China is targeting the mobile market as well.

What is turnkey solution?

In order to understand turnkey, we should look at one very interesting market call the "non-branded" or Chinese termShanzhai (山寨). People could be confused with "non-branded" and "knockoff". Knockoff is something that clone the original design and look almost or exactly like the original product like iPhone vs gooApple, an Android base iPhone.

Of course they are basically using the same hardware if you compare the "non-branded" and "Knockoff", the only different is "non-branded" is really something you have never seen before but creating something really niche and very different for a very small market in a very short time. For example you may never seen this projector phone Smartdevice U7 before. 

The number of different products you can find is incredible and how can those companies come up with that many different solution. Turnkey is one of the corner stone terms by MTK solution in China. Compare the old time turnkey not only put every features into a chipset dice, but putting all the software as a package. So design house can simply pick and choice the hardware, software and component they want to support into their end product. The only think they really need to think about is just the shell. Of course, many small design house are also very creative that provide a iOS shell for MTK solution. That's why you can see so many knockoff in the china market that look exactly like iPhone but the OS is actually running Android. 

If this model is so great, why does it need to change? Let's talk about that next week. :)

Posted by AvengerGear Alex

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