Thoughts about a car like customization in computers


#1

Just out of curiosity, maybe someone can enlighten me about the costs: In the car industry it is pretty common (at least with higher priced cars) that the buyer can customize a car to a very high degree and then it gets manufactured exactly like that. Parts get transported, but everything is pretty much automatically done by at the assembly/production lin robots.

I’m pretty sure that cars could be cheaper if there were only three models. But at the same time I think that a manufacturers who would go without customization would also sell less cars. Taste and needs are very different.

What I wanna say/ask: wouldn’t a similar approch be possible for computers. It would be just a certain certain logic that would decide which parts are needed at a which specific time at certain position of the assembly line to produce a certain model with certain parts: CPU, amount of ram soldered to the board, SSD size, combined with accessoires like keyboard (layout) and so on.

I for my part haven’t bought a tablet in the last 4 years exactly because of the fact: There has never been a model with 16GB of ram, a bright display an onboard graphic s to get a silent and long lastinf device. Although all necessary parts could be found in on of the offered models.

@Team
Could something like this be done at some point in the future? It would also be good for the environment since devices would last longer and wouldn’t buy a buy one every two years. Reasonv Buyers woulnd spend their money on tge features they realky need insted of buying nothon (needed fratures in modrl is to expensive) or buiying a model they can afford but thas has i.e. not enough memory. I think you could get a lot of attention and potential buyers from this. What do you other guys/girls think?

Some things that would need to be considered:

Returns
In case a buyer custumizes a device an decides not no to keep it, I can think of several possibilities:

  • Either he needs to pay a certain percentage (part of the contract, but could still prevent some people from buying in the fist place).
  • Or returned devices are sold as “Warehouse Deals” as Amazon does this which would mean that the profit needed to be high enough so that there is still of profit margin left after checking the device for errors and selling with a slightly discounted price.

#2

Add the repairability feature with everything screwed instead of glued and everything makes sense… This is where the whole industry should go…


#3

And that’s what Dell used to do in the past - ie mass customisation esp in the 1990s and early 2000s These days much more restricted - though a reasonable range of standard models in terms of terms of RAM, HD and processor plus version of screen resolution + or - touch.

In effect they are customising more widely than letting the buyer do that so much


#4

Some things that would need to be considered:

Returns
In case a buyer customuizes a device an decides not no to keep it, I can think of several possibilities:

  • Either he needs to pay a certain percentage (part of the contract, but could still prevent some people from buying in the fist place).
  • Or returned devices are sold as “Wraehouse Deals” as Amazon does this which would mean that the profit needed to be high enough so that there is still of profit margin left after checking the device for errors and selling with a slightly discouted price.

edit: added to first post


#5

Exaclty. Dell was very good at this. But that was a time when everything was not soldered on board and glued together to get slimmer devices. Back then computers were mor like LEGO :grinning:


#6

Totally agree on this one.

I wonder how Dell and others deal with on site repair given the glue rather than screw case. Replacement motherboard with soldered components easy enough swap once the case opened… probably need to carry spare screens in case of cracks!


#7

That’s why community development is so cool. As with community we can make changes in the industry.

Right now it is not really possible as laptops and ultra portable are designed It is . So in a way Intel dictates development in the market. Every time new CPU is introduced full motherboard and system redesign is needed.

I guess that’s the case because big PC companies don’t want users to be able to just buy new components. They prefer users to upgrade the full system.

I totally agree in terms of repairability. We need to aim towards having device easily repairable.

It’s true that all the repairability and component interchangeability leads to bulkier and heavier design which is against major marketing industry trends.

I am sure that together with community we will able to create something really different over time!

Remember dudes this is just a beginning. Together we can really change the way things made. That’s where the fact we don’t have investors come in handy:)

Our team and community decide what we want to do!


#8

In my opinion the strogest point is that people would actuylly buy what they need and there was a higher chance that they could actually afford this, sice computers got really expensive recently. Surface, Macbook Pro and so on are overpriced too a really ridicuolous degree.


#9

Most of the customization in cars are from aesthetics point of view. You can mix and match exterior color, interior color, wheels, spoiler design, wood grain, etc.

Thats not exactly possible in computers, as we often have only one or two parts to be painted. In addition to that, it is generally easier for the customer to simply replace those parts to the color that they want (example: Nokia Lumia shells).

I think Sony even went as far as letting the customer write an engraving on a CTO unit, under the condition that the device cannot get returned.

For customization about performance and features, CTO computers have had it since a very long time. You could mix and match CPU, RAM, HDD, display, WiFi chip, etc. Take a look at Alienware products, they usually let you customize nearly everything on the internals.


#10

Yeah. Right. But that are big and bulky computers and no real portable tablets/laptops.

That’s right. But I didn’t primarily speak about upgradability. I’m fine if a device can’t be upgraded (because if that was possible that device would need to be much bulkier as you said).

What I mean that this should only only be done at production time: A buyer decides which parts are soldered together, without the possiblilty to change this later on (maybe SSD should be be exchangabe). But CPU and ram would be soldered onto the borad and used produced/ordered exactly in the desired combination.

Returns of customized products should posisble be and would be sold as slightly discouted warehouse deals, but still with a small profit.


#12

Dell Outlet etc the route I’ve previously used