I have a Tektronix MSO and they have protocol decoding add-ons that are ~$1500 and have no calibration repercussions. Personally I find it stupid because I'm sure less than 1% of people buy an expensive "Upgrade" for protocols where as if they charged an extra $100-$200 and included it all they would sell a hell of a lot of scopes. Even if they made the add-ons $50-$100 they would make more money, because as it is I purchase a $150 separate protocol analyser from a different company and they don't make a cent.
Why won't they realise their mistake? Because a marketroid would have to admit they're blithering idiots.
JeffL, I think you may have hit on the real reson for the SW lock on BW, from a calibration perpective whether you cal out to 50MHz or 100MHz may be enough effort to justify a modest price difference as indicated. I have a Tektronix MSO and they have protocol decoding add-ons that are ~$1500 and have no calibration repercussions. Personally I find it stupid because I'm sure less than 1% of people buy an expensive "Upgrade" for protocols where as if they charged an extra $100-$200 and included it all they would sell a hell of a lot of scopes. Even if they made the add-ons $50-$100 they would make more money, because as it is I purchase a $150 separate protocol analyser from a different company and they don't make a cent.
I guess this is not as valuable as it was, but once-upon-a-time, I found that ALL "4-banger" calculators have the "1/X" (reciprocal) function built-in, in one of two versions: Once a number is displayed, pressing "divide" "equals" presents the reciprocal on most machines, and pressing "divide" "divide" "equals" does on all. But not on "Scientific" models. Apparently the code/algorithm was developed only once or twice! Back then, this was the most useful missing function.
Some calculators even had an extra pair of contacct-fingers on the board that would invoke square-root if an extra button were kluged-in.
.. you never know if the manufacturers did something that can cause damage if you unlock hidden features. As an example, a small hack could could cause some pll to run at higher frequency, overclocking the system to a level where it requires different physically cooling. Also the cheaper model could be equipped with chips with worse timespecs (like slower memory) wich mostly works, but not guaranteed.
This will of course be at your own responsibility, but as a group, a bunch of "hackers" can make it work by trying and failing (or even analyzing).
Morally, this will maybe at worst end up at some grey zone. But, imho, if manufacturers dont want it to happen, they better put some effort into preventing it.
I've developed systems with this function myself, but to unlock you had to unprotect a flash sector using hard wiring and then program the correct key for its serial number. The reason was simply to sell more and maybe get some upgrade orders. But the effect of what we did remains unknown.
Depending on what kind of equipment you make you certainly have a point. Regular consumers respond like this. Buy hey, you have to agree that we are talking about my example so silly that it makes you laugh: Pay an extra for CANbus triggering, pay extra even for I2C triggering, pay extra for some speed that is already in there, pay extra for FSK modulation in your RF generator. It is already in there and every engineer wants it, so it has been developed, hours has been spend, again I say GIVE IT AWAY ;-)
The company I currently work for does not do this, but we have thought about it. Here's the reasoning:
There is a lot of manufacturing cost involved in making the 2 models, while the actual material cost isn't as significant. Therefore, it makes sense to just make one hardware version. Suppose we sell this "all-in-one super model" instead of some software-locked version.
Customer: "Well, I don't want all those extra features, I just need the basic stuff" Me: You're getting everything at the same price, you're not paying extra, trust us. Customer: How can it be that less features doesn't cost less? I don't believe you!
So at this point we'd be stuck, you can drop the price, but then the next guy will the say the same thing until you're no longer making money. The only way you can "win" is if your model over-specs and under-prices the competition significantly. That would be a dumb assumption unless for some reason you are the only holder of the "secret sauce" and the other guys have dumb engineers or something like that.
Here's another issue: product complexity. In the example I'm thinking of, the full-blown product that does everything is like a Swiss Army knife with hundreds of thingummies, which easily confuses customers as well as sales and support staff. So in this case, Model A is not only cheaper, but easier to understand since it has fewer thingummies.
Different companies serve different markets and have different needs, so YMMV.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
Brought to you by