A New Context

Favorable Component Prices

Much has happened in the electronics space in the past few years (and even in the couple of years since these graphs were produced). There have been truly staggering price breakthroughs for various components, including:

Memory

The price of storage memory (NAND flash, shown in black), compared to computational memory (DRAM, shown in red) has dropped sharply, driven by consumer applications, particularly mobile phones. From $100/GB in 2005, prices had dropped to less than $0.50/GB by 2014. Graph of falling memory prices
(Source: Tom Coughlin, 9/30/2018)

Solar Cells

Solar cell prices have followed a similar trajectory:
Graph of falling solar cell prices

Batteries

Leading-edge lithium-ion batteries have seen dramatic price declines, even as their capacity has increased:
Graph of falling battery prices
(Source: Duke University, 2009)

Other Factors

Component cost reductions have been compounded by cost savings from off-shore production and increasing circuit board density -- resulting in lower circuit board fabrication costs.

Low-cost 3D printers have made prototyping and early production faster and lest costly. Design improvements can be implemented and tested in a matter of hours.


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So what might a low-cost player solution look like?





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