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.
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.
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.
"In my opinion such restrictions are good for developing economies. They promote innovation, use of local talent and local resources."
They sound more like bad economic policies that promote inefficiency and lower quality/quantity of goods. Reinventing the wheel (or making it yourself) when you could produce or buy it for less elsewhere does not sound like innovation or an optimal use of local resources.
I do not think that these are bad economic policies. In the long term they spell economic freedom. Countries like India have shown that there is no dearth of local talent and with government support in terms of policies and the financial assistance each country can become self independent in technology.
Rcenetly India's prime minister has announce policy to promote local manufacturing of defence equipmement for which currently thousands of millions of dollars are spent on importing such equipment from the developing countries.
Most developed countries have tried to cash in on the already developed technologies to rake in huge profits from the developing countries
"I do not think that these are bad economic policies. In the long term they spell economic freedom."
By this same logic every country (and city and state etc.) should ban imports in order to force local economies to develop and produce their own products and technologies in the name of "self independence" and the promise of some unspecified future "economic freedom." The equivalent policies taken down to the individual level would be a recipe for returning to the Stone Age.
"That is exptrapolating things to the far extreme."
But the same basic principles apply.
"The developed countries do not want the developing nations to come to their level and that is why such attempts by developing nations are not liked by them ... the developing nations would exercise their right to get free from the economic shackles."
Such attitudes certainly feed into the "trade war" mentality that leads to countries shooting themselves in the feet in the name of protecting local industries. Unfortunately the effects on a country's overall economy (and specifically its consumers, who bear the brunt of such policies) are rarely considered - or are ignored - as they are not so immediately visible.
Just look at evidence of India and China over last 30 years. India engaged in a mercantilist, protectionist policies, whereas China was much more open although of course nowhere near free market. Both countries had the advantage of a cheap but able and motivated workforce---and yet China did much better.
A lot of posters are knocking Brazil for its stance here. But what about the west? Why could they not licence local production of the R-Pi? Look at the VW Beetle, and other vehicles - millions were produced in Brazil very successfully. Wikipedia tells me "The Volkswagen assembly plant in Brazil was established after the Brazilian government prohibited the import of fully built-up vehicles in 1953". Some 20 million vehicles have been produced, many adapted to Brazilian conditions.
Whether the R-Pi could be considered an input or a finished product is a question, but if it could be licenced for production in Brazil, with enough royalties to let R-Pi do some quality control and make a bit of money on it, what's wrong with that? R-Pi would still do OK, and Brazil would develop expertise and jobs and boost their economy. Win-Win.
So many "Free Trade Agreements" end up being very one-sided and only benefiting one of the "partners". The other one just ends up exporting jobs and part of their economy. Australia is doing some very silly things that way at the moment. "We'll let your stuff in free, and you'll reduce your tariffs on our stuff from 90% to 25%? OK....." That's just stupid.
@david: ...but if it could be licenced for production in Brazil, with enough royalites to let R-Pi do some quality control and make a bit of money on it, what's wrong with that?
I don't think there's anything wrong with that -- but I was there for MadDog's presentation and he also said that he had been talking with folks like Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone along these lines with no success...
@Max...QED. If Brazil can develop its own home grown solution, good luck to them. If R-Pi and Beagle refuse to think outside the box, they mustn't whinge about protectionism. VW did ok there, so there is no excuse.
There are obviously some caveats - a lot of companies that exported technology to China just had their technology hijacked. But Brazil is a different kettle of fish. It's not as big and would be much more hurt if they did not stick to an agreement about royalties etc.
Max wrote: [MadDog] also said that he had been talking with folks like Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone along these lines with no success...
I'm not surprised about Raspberry Pi, but BeagleBone is open-source hardware and anyone should be able to clone it. I believe that to use the BeagleBone name there are some additional requirements. Here's an example of a BeagleBone Black clone:
Addendum: Also, the BeagleBone Tech Refs are licensed under Create Commons BY-SA, so anyone is free to translate them into another language provided they keep the BY-SA license so others will be able to do the same.
Max wrote: also said that he had been talking with folks like Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone along these lines with no success...
betajet wrote: I'm not surprised about Raspberry Pi, but BeagleBone is open-source hardware and anyone should be able to clone it. I believe that to use the BeagleBone name there are some additional requirements. Here's an example of a BeagleBone Black clone:
This is my understanding as well.
Licensing for the Boadcom processor in the Raspberry Pi is strict and the Raspberry Pi design is closed so duplication would be difficult and if the duplicate is not a clone, then it is just another non-Raspberry Pi.
On the other hand, the BeagleBone Black design is fully published and open and the processors are available from Texas Instruments without restrictions.
@Prabakhar....I prefer to look at it from changing from a lose-lose situation (R-Pi hardly sell any units to Brazil; Brazil loses out somewhat as a result) to a Win-Win situation (R-Pi get royalties rather than sales, and Brazil deveops their industry and gets jobs and expertise development).
Sure, Mr R-Pi must make sure that his product is of good quality when made in Brazil, and Barzil must be scrupulous about sticking to the terms of the agreement. But, as above, VW have done it and they, and Brazil, have done very nicely thank-you.
@Rich a bit more detail and discussion please. Such policies DO work as evidenced by Brazil's thriving and (I gather) respected car industry.
Where I would agree with you is that a R-Pi is not the same as a completely assembled car - more like a car part -and it is short sighted to put such a heavy tarrif on it. But if someone in Brazil wanted to set up an R-Pi assembly line, I think, as I said above, it could turn into a win-win situation.
"Such policies DO work as evidenced by Brazil's thriving and (I gather) respected car industry."
Brazil's economy - and auto sector - is in fact currently doing poorly. Import taxes on foreign automobiles were raised a couple of years ago to a ridiculous 55%, reducing consumers' spending power and ability to buy quality imported cars. At the same time Brazil is/has been a fast growing developing economy and it is much more likely that the country's progress to this point has been *in spite of* such policies and not because of them.
"But if someone in Brazil wanted to set up an R-Pi assembly line, I think, as I said above, it could turn into a win-win situation."
Maybe. Still, trade in general is a win-win situation overall. On the other hand, import restrictions on products in whole or in part simply favor a few domestic companies or industries at the expense of the overall domestic economy (as well as any trading partners whose goods are being restricted). And setting up a domestic industry to produce products that could be imported at less cost does not make sense economically and is likely to impede overall economic progress, not promote it.
[sorry for late entry---I posted this to the wrong board, so copying over now]
I am afraid most discussions here miss the point. Fortunately, many of the new 'IoT' embedded designs are open sourced: for instance, BeagleBone, which is an improved version of RasPi, publishes its design and manufacturing data, and invites imitations. THe problem is scale: Beaglebone costs $50 because of the price breaks on PCB and component cost that result from its volume (multiples of 1e5 units). Some people tried to source small variations of BeagleBone Black, and were quoted cost several times higher.
This is the problem Brazil faces: given their market size, what is the realistic production run size? BBB folks could take a risk and spin up a 100,000 unit production run. A Brazilian version would stand a risk of either assuming conservative production run (5000 units, which still is an investment of nearly half million dollars) and pricing itself out of the market, or going for broke and spinning up a 50,000 run---an investment of several million dollars that could go bad if the market wasn't there.
I agree with all the issues mentioned in this post, and was working with a large chip maker on ways to get industrial-grade computers into the market in Brazil. Its a challenge, but there are CMs there who can build locally.
I've scanned the comments and cannot fathom the fascination with the Raspberry Pi. Its based on a vintage processor that's not even available in industrial temperature grades, and the "B" board didn't even have soldered-down storage for reliability. The old ARM core doesn't support current SW. And the form-factor is the most application-adverse layout for connector positions imaginable. Its one saving grace is HDMI video, but it lacks a normal RGB parallel bus used by low-cost LCDs.
Yes, its a good board for educational purposes, sitting on a desk in a warm dry room. Absolutely.
But if you were going to create something new, you'd have to have a hole in your head to consider using the same processor. Freescale and T.I. have much better processors with current SW support, as do many other manufacturers.
Or is this a "fashion" decision and should be posted on "EF Times" (Electronics Fashion Times) ???