This suggestion equally holds good for all the countries where import duties or international shipping charges are high. Each country can come up with their own Pi board. This will really help and boost local developments. The boards can be designed in a way it can adopt any operating system available for embedded systems.
Happy to hear about this initiative. When I was writing about the major 4G infrastructure efforts ahead of the World Cup, I kept thinking about how Brazilians wouldn't be able to take advantage because of the great expense of importing 4G capable phones. Hopefully this works out.
I believe the intent of the tariffs is to encourage exactly the kind of behavior that Mr. Hall suggests. With only expensive alternatives available, the market is encouraged to support local companies, which in turn results in more engineering done in Brazil.
In practice though, I believe that it often has the opposite effect. I grew up in Brazil, and that's where I first learned to code. In 1985 a _used_ Apple ][e cost $4,000 in mid-eighties dollars. That's a lot of money anywhere, but a it's fortune in Brazil.
I remember just two computer stores in zona sul where I lived in Rio, and the community of 'geeks' was limited to a small number of relatively wealthy people.
Just over a year later, I moved to Taiwan, where I bought a VTech Apple clone (legal) for under $500. The community of developers was huge, and there were computer stores everywhere.
It's hard to learn to become a developer, when you can't get your hands on the equipment.
Of course, computers are wide-spread in Brazil today. But it seems that current policy, however well intentioned, stands the in the way of developing local engineering talent.
Both countries are trying hard to develop their own high tech industries. Brazil and China have also developed, for example, their own digital TV standard (Brazil's is an offshoot of the Japanese system). So this can go beyond just high import tariffs. They can make imported equipment unusable. China has also developed their own 3G standard, although they allow others as well.
In some ways, this behavior can be considered a nuisance, in the sense that it encourages non-interoperability, and therefore a promise of higher prices for less capability. But the motivation is clear enough.
On the other hand, they could conceivably take this a step further, duplicating the non-interoberability of their digital TV or cellular standards in some home-grown non-interoperable Internet Protocols. These things can clearly be taken too far.
The problem is not related to Brazil and China only but all BRICS nations. Maybe except for China, all other fast developing markets mostly import electronics from other countries which has lead to hugh trade deficit. The only way to check it is to change critical policies and nurture local electronic manufacturing units.
it looks like everyone is trying to bring hardware manufactring home..Yes no one can deny that economy is directly affected if manufactring is done locally. Its also something to do with nation's pride. Even India is also trying hard to go big time in manufactring.
Somebody should whack Brazil's finance minister over the head with a copy of James Mill's "The Elements of Political Economy", (which was published in 1821). "Comparative advantage" suggests it's a Bad Idea.
It's no wonder that economies get mismanaged; mercantilism still lumbers around like a zombie. Electrical engineering would be pretty futile if most of its practictioners were operating with ideas that were state-of-the-art in the late 18th century.
If the question is raised, "What about the balance of payments?", teach the Chinese to drink coffee, or vacation in Rio.
The main reason of someone not capitalizing the idea is the nature of the project, this kind of projects can only be accepted if they are open source, and established companies will be never ready to enter in to open source initiative, as they will be losing the monopoly of their products. So either government or societies will be able to give kick start to this kind of initiatives.