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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Electronics development

Something very commonly observed with electronics manufacturing is that when it is done on a large scale, the price per product comes down drastically. In 2002 a mobile phone with a monophonic ringtone and black screen, that can only be used for sending sms and making calls would have costs someone Rs 5000 or more. Those phones are completely obsolete now, today even camera phones are available at below Rs 1000. 

The reason is that electronics equipments are all about some well fabricated silicon chips, metals, glass and plastics. The machines and the processes to build them are expensive. However when the manufacturing is done on a large scale the price per product comes down. That is why you find electronic equipments getting cheaper and cheaper. 

You can look at the examples of micro SD cards, in 2006 a 250 Mb micro SD card would have cost you Rs 500, but today a 16 Gigabyte micro SD card will cost you around Rs 325. 

Electronics gadgets are all about human intelligence applied to materials. Particularly semiconductors like silicon, germanium and in the future we will have electronics made out of carbon nanotubes . The major cost component of the electronic devices is the Research and Development involved in developing the product. That is why the microprocessors of computers are so expensive in spite of the fact the material in the microprocessors are nothing but plastics,silicon, germanium and metals.  

When it comes to electronics it is not about the materials but the function of the device, like incase of microprocessors what matters is  how many floating point operations(flops) it execute in one second. 

One more thing observable in case of electronic devices is that the initial products are invariably bigger in size than the later products. As time goes on the products become smaller and more affordable.
We have all seen that in case of computers, radio sets and music players.   

Once upon a time computers were so big that they would fill the entire room, require huge amounts of electricity but as technology developed, computers became exponentially faster, smaller, cheaper and today it consumes a fraction of the amount of energy as compared to the computers of the 50s or 60s.


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