|Re: Mask ROM's|
Message #7 Posted by DaveJ on 3 June 2008, 5:15 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Christoph Giesselink
I agree with Dave in some parts. But IMHO the production costs of a 35S are much below $10.
Let us make another calculation, the FLASH version maybe 40 cent more expensive than the mask version and let us think that programming the FLASH in production costs another 10 cent, this makes totally a difference of 50 cent for one unit. Further let us think that they want to sell 1,000,000 pices. In my calculation 1,000,000 * $0.50 = $500,000! And this is for me a lot of money. Some if you may say, the price difference of 50 cent between the two versions is too much, then let the price difference be 10 cent. But 10 cent price difference still mean $100,000!
Next thinking, who should upgrade the firmware? I think no end user would spend about $50 for programmer and I haven't calculated the necessary connectors for the update in the calculator so far. So a repairman at HP should do the update? Sorry for the price of the working time, unpacking the calculator, opening it, flash it, reassemble it, test it and send it back to the user it's much cheaper sending a replace unit.
For sure, it's a lot of money.
I've designed lots of high volume electronics where I have to shave off 0.1cents on this component or that component etc, and it really does add up.
But the choice of FLASH or mask ROM is often a strategic decision rather than pure financial. Especially in complex software projects such as a high end programmable calculator, as you gain so much advantage with FLASH. It can be insurance against having to dump a whole bunch of stock of mask ROM chips should you find a problem at the last minute, enabling of warranty firmware fixes etc.
You can safely buy 1,000,000 FLASH parts and get your volume discount at any time, but committing to 1,000,000 mask ROM chips is a big and risky decision. Goof it once and you may have lost all your price difference.
Perhaps the 35S actually uses a factory programmed FLASH die instead of mask ROM, has anyone tried to verify?