I’ve always had a lot of respect for the people who design consumer electronics.
I bought a new Samsung mobile phone for £10, which is truly a staggeringly low price. And like any designer/engineer I took it apart as soon as possible.
The design is truly amazing in it’s simplicity. A common goal for designers is to minimise the number of parts in an assembly.
This phone makes liberal use of snap fits - so much so that the entire assembly requires just two small screws. The assembly time for this product must be sub two minutes.
Even though all these measures have been taken to reduce cost, it doesn’t feel like a cheap product. We’re fortunate to live in times like these where such advanced products are available so cheaply.
Not for startups
I personally think it’s possible for startups to create new hardware products. But they should never venture anywhere near a product segment like mobile phones - you simply wouldn’t be able to manufacture it economically.
That doesn’t mean startups should stay away from hardware all together - it’s just that value has to be added with in other ways such as through better software and better design.