These shortages are not only affecting when a product comes out, it
also affects its price. In a recent
VisorCentral interview with Bob Fullerton, president of InnoGear,
commented on Springboard module prices:
"Everything is skewed right now because
of the flash memory pricing. All of these Springboards have some
type of flash memory in them, whether [they use] a tiny amount of memory
or 2MB or 8MB -- all of that flash is being consumed, so you have to find
it from distributors and other markets; these people take these prices
and triple or quadruple them, so it's tough right now. "
So what does the future hold? It seems that the flash shortage is
with us for at least another year, as it will take time for companies like
Intel and AMD to add new plants additional flash production. Springboard
module makers are going to need to work hard on their procurement processes
while they try to forcast their parts inventory. The effort involved
in preventing delays is pretty daunting when there are so many companies
trying to get a piece of the pie.
don't just mean that module makers sit around and wait for the parts to
come in. GeoDiscovery has
also faced parts problems during the design of the Geode GPS module, and
instead of waiting for the parts to become available, GeoDiscovery is now modifying the
Geode so it doesn't need those components. Although this has put
the module several weeks behind, the Geode has been improved by using a
better quality compass.
Consumers are going to need to have a little patience with Springboard
module makers, as ship dates may slip from time to time. Looking
at other industries, video games routinely slip past their original due
dates. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released three
years after it was supposed to come out. I was frustrated by the
delays, but when it finally came out, I wasn't disappointed. I think
that is what will happen with some of the modules that we have all been
pining for, such as the MiniJam -- it'll be worth the wait.
I liken Springboard modules to DVDs, which trickled out when they first
appeared in 1997. Now there are several new DVD titles being released
every week. Fortunately, I don't think we'll have to wait as long
for us to have a slew of Springboard modules coming out each month.
And when that day is here, we'll have as hard a time remembering these
component shortages as people have remembering those early Visor shortages.