In the $199 (or more) “kit” I think so. Maybe even SD card(s). Many years ago I worked for Radio Shack. The thing that frustrated consumers the most was when they had to buy, or make sure they already had, something else to make the thing they are buying work. I experienced several customers coming in to return something because the sales person that sold it to them didn’t explain that they needed more parts to actually make it work when they got home.
Believe it or not, batteries were the most frustrating thing for people! Imagine that? Hundreds of times, and I’m not exaggerating because it happened more often then not, when I would ask a customer if they need the batteries for the new electronic device they are buying they would ask me with an annoyed tone “you mean it doesn’t come with batteries?”. The minority of people would say either “yes, which ones?” or “I already have them”. Another example is when someone would buy a new cell phone and I’d ask if they need a car charger with it. Yes, maybe cell phones should just come with the damn car charger!
I learned in my time there that people expect the box with the thing they are buying to contain everything they need to make the thing work. This is why there are so many pre-made Raspberri Pi kits all over the place which come with case, SD card, power supply and other parts needed to make it “work right out of the box” and they often get a premium price on them.
I think people will clearly understand when they buy the bare board for $149 that it doesn’t have all the parts needed to make it work since the target customer is someone like me and the others on here which, yes, already have a bunch of good MicroUSB power supplies around. I even have a PoE-based one!
It is a great goal, but as you said even 10000 units is not real volume. I’m not an expert, or even experienced in the field of running a company like OuterNet at all so what follows is purely just opinion / speculation
I imagine that the people in small remote villages that could actually benefit from OuterNet don’t have the actual money to even spend $99 on a receiver plus the cost of whatever “terminal” to access the information like a tablet or laptop. Since this is unlikely ever going to be your direct customer, why not price for sustainability of the company instead of “just make it cheap”?
Sure I’m all for ultra-cheap compute hardware that does cool things. The CHIP is great and I backed them on Kickstarter because of it. But I don’t live in the back woods of some country where there isn’t Internet, cell phones or plumbing. That is really your target audience but not your target customer. I’m sure you already know this already, but this leads me in to the next part.
I think an OuterNet sponsorship program is the way to go with long-term viability of this to actually reach the people that really need it, not just the hobbyists that are most of the folks on this forum. I think a lot of people will respond like @kenbarbi did and be excited to throw money in to get people on this platform in remote areas. I know I would. I think you could create packages that fit how remote the installation is. For example, the $199 kit with everything needed to setup a receiver where there is good power infrastructure already would be the entry level sponsor. The next up would be the solar powered package with batteries et al, maybe $499? And you could have the “Platinum Level” or something that includes several tablets or laptops and enough solar power to charge them for (completely made up number) $1799. Of course businesses that wish to have their lovely tax write-offs could buy “corporate packages” that ship maybe 50 of the “Platinum Level” packages and have their employees volunteer to travel and install the stuff as a cultural thing.
I may just be saying all the stuff ya already thought about. I am just excited to see you guys are moving to building your own boards and other such things. Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of these crap “Hotspots” blasting all over the WiFi bands and few people use them that there would be OuterNet receivers all over the world so no matter where you are you can check in with the latest stuff from the Internet at no cost. For those that have no Internet to begin with, it would be everywhere!
I know the long term vision is to have the receiver small enough to fit inside a phone or tablet. That would be cool but I still would rather support deploying the larger receivers at least for the near future until OuterNet receivers at least outnumber airports around the world. Yes I just came up with that scale metric, so don’t flame me right away I just figure if that much area is covered then there will be so much sponsorship money rolling in the R&D costs of making it smaller and boosting the signal level will be paid for easily.
Wow that was long. Sorry!