Author Topic: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!  (Read 16209 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline sacherjj

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 993
  • Country: us
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2014, 04:15:09 pm »
For tablets the picture is similar to the above, but numerous Chinese makers also use Rockchip and Allwinner devices by the shed load.
The distributors for both of these chips offer reference designs and provide design support and the end purchaser gets tied to that distributor.  So most are making tablets that are essentially exactly the same.  However, you cannot get the chips outside of China.  The distributors just don't exist.

Well, why would you want to get those chips outside of China? If you're making cheap tablets / phones, you want to get as much of your "raw material" from the same place, and you'd be likely to be producing in China (maybe Malaysia). If you're producing a high-margin product where you can afford to manufacture in the west, you're probably using a more expensive chip, right?

We are building a very low cost, but robust device.  In trips to China, we have found that unless we have representatives there, we CANNOT hold assemblers to the standards and legitimate parts and assembly quality we want.  During tours of assemblers, we often ran into situations where ESD grounding didn't test on the foot straps used and they went "oh, well" lets get on with the tour.

Assembly staff was minimal and equipment poor, compensated by very large rework and testing departments.  Doing it right would have cost less, if labor wasn't so cheap.  As long as it works when leaving their factory, they couldn't care less if it fails due to ESD stress in a year after release.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 12:38:18 am by sacherjj »
 

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 16512
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2014, 05:41:35 pm »
Semiconductors have become a commodity. There is no more money to be made in em. Systems are very complex, take a lot of effort to develop and have short lifespans. Competition is fierce and we are doing an uphill battle against small chinese fabless startups that get their IP virtually free through government grants and university partnership. Semiconductor companies all over the world are hurting and down the slippery slope into oblivion. It's almost freefall...

The only survivors will be the mass production fabs like UMC and TSMC and chartering service fabs.

Traditional silicon design is dying. Small lean startups not tied to a massive cost overhead of a fab can spit out designs much cheaper and faster.

The traditional markets are gone. Take cellphones smartphones tablets :  Really big players now make their own silicon. Apple makes their own cpu, so does samsung. So the smartphone/tablet market is dead for silicon designers. You can pursue players like htc or rim and get 5% of the market. Not even enough revenue to cover your design costs.
All you can do is dick around making 5 cent power regulators and other 'dust' . The big buck parts are made by the solution providers themselves.

It's over. The model has shifted and is unsustainable. Time to jump ship ...

You sound surprised, like this is something that happened just this year?

It's been predominantly that way for decades, and with good reasons.

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline janekm

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Country: gb
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2014, 09:05:29 pm »
There are a number of sellers of these modules on taobao/tmall, normal price is about 20CNY by the look of it, which is about 3.25USD

The IC itself doesn't seem to be being sold by many on TB, pretty much just these built up modules.

Sorted by sales...
http://s.taobao.com/search?spm=a230r.1.8.3.uGLXIZ&sort=sale-desc&tab=all&q=ESP8266

This place has sold 1500 of them or so...
http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.4.iyOKc2&id=40328222213&ns=1#detail

Reading the feedback/comments of these listings may give you some useful information - use Chrome and select to translate the page, sometimes it's best to switch to the feedbacks  before you translate.

This link contains various pdf docs and a zip file containing code...
http://pan.baidu.com/s/1nt0rVIT

I didn't look at the code really but did notice that most of the comments are in good english

BTW the zip file of code from that link is pretty interesting. Going through the makefiles I figured out that the chip uses a "Tensilica Xtensa" core (now owned by Cadence, as mentioned). The toolkit is clearly based on gcc and since all the make/link files are provided it's pretty likely that one could build for it simply using what's provided here (but setting up gcc for cross-compilation can be a bit of a pain...)
 

Offline free_electron

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7581
  • Country: us
    • SiliconValleyGarage
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #28 on: August 31, 2014, 09:23:30 pm »

You sound surprised, like this is something that happened just this year?

It's been predominantly that way for decades, and with good reasons.

Tim
Not surprised. It just accelerated the last few years
Professional Electron Wrangler.
Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline mamalala

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Country: de
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2014, 05:05:06 pm »
Just found this page:

http://wiki.linux-xtensa.org/index.php/Toolchain_and_Embedded_Distributions

Looks like a good starting point to build a suitable toolchain for the SoC of this module. Once i get the modules, i will dig deeper into that.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline janekm

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Country: gb
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2014, 06:00:20 pm »
Just found this page:

http://wiki.linux-xtensa.org/index.php/Toolchain_and_Embedded_Distributions

Looks like a good starting point to build a suitable toolchain for the SoC of this module. Once i get the modules, i will dig deeper into that.

Greetings,

Chris

I was doing a bit more googling myself just now, found a nice forum linked off of hackaday: http://esp8266.com/
They managed to find a VM image with the toolchain installed, and the 'overlay' file needed for setting up gcc (with the information about which features are enabled in the CPU core). Looks like a lot of progress!
 

Offline tinhead

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1925
  • Country: 00
    • If you like my hacks, send me a donation
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2014, 08:50:42 pm »
did you tested that VM ?
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline janekm

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 517
  • Country: gb
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2014, 09:19:26 pm »
did you tested that VM ?

It's downloading from China... still 3h to go ;)
 

Offline mamalala

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 777
  • Country: de
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2014, 10:39:06 pm »
Thanks for the link!

Already downloaded the VM image, but won't have time looking into it for the next few days, i guess.

Greetings,

Chris
 

Offline NANDBlog

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5161
  • Country: nl
  • Current job: ATEX certified product design
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2014, 10:06:06 pm »
I'll put this in quotes. It is one of their listings. I was constantly smiling while reading this:

Quote
This module advantages:
 
A low price, only to earn a small profit base, hope that this will bring more rapid development of animal networking
 
Two powerful internal ran LWIP agreement
 
3 supports three modes: AP, STA, AP + STA coexistence mode
 
4 perfect simple and efficient AT commands, allowing you to develop more simple.
 
       Things history of this concept has been five or six years, but has never really into life! The reason is as follows: Things have to be regarded networking things, but to get networked household appliances, before costly price overshadowed main circuit board! Therefore lingering large area applications. But only a matter of time! We waited for 3-5 years, various radio manufacturers, network equipment design giants have all eyes on this market, as we all know: If the price down, the demand is huge, the initial conservative estimate of global demand at 1.5 billion stars of the annual demand. So TI's CC series Qualcomm QCA400X series MTK's MT76XX series and East China Normal University and Taiwan have several research and development capabilities, have started in April 2014, are small quantities to test the water! And at the beginning of June 2014 to July have to market prices from over 50 over 40 over 30 over 20 dollars, this is just the price strategy between suppliers, but their marketing strategies must comply with market rules and people's spending power, in order to get large quantities of promotion, WIFI chip prices must be the product of the proportion of things in the whole BOM costs must be lower than 30% in order to get a large area, but before June 2014 a, WIFI cost module in the customer material costs accounted for almost 60% of the cost! Clearly this is unreasonable, and hindered the pace of development of this industry.
 
        According to market rules: analysis of the current market can have several competitive WIFI chip manufacturers, although each one has launched its own WIFI chip, and input costs millions of tens of millions. But the real survive, and only one or two. Because their production process, and design, as well as application experience, and price positioning of customers. And China's market, can truly unified market presumably only one! Is simply cruel reality. Things in the upcoming initial flourish, can choose a truly competitive chips. That is for the future development of crucial! We do not want the wrong team. . .
 
      In the absence of more cattle X chip out now is the most cattle X.
 
After the recent trends in the situation more than a month, almost shocking, because the whole market is that several have made tremendous feeling!
 
Let us appreciate: no final finisher, simply because most cattle X, it has not yet appeared. . . . Everything is just the beginning! !
 
But things really make the entire industry toward the climax is: the emergence of Shanghai Yue Xin Technology ESP8266 chip. They incredible
 
Hardware and software update rate, and very shocking price advantage to market quickly! So that the entire industry is not a trace of preparedness.
 
Yue Xin advantages:
 
        A very professional, Espressif is Shanghai Yue Xin, only WIFI. Several other competitors do more pan.
 
        2 staffing more powerful, 30-40 WIFI chip engineers only for this service! None can do it?
 
        High professional quality three officers, who CEO for the United States Chief Technology Officer, a well-known listed companies, there are several men Dr. returnees.
 
        4 More to the point: a pragmatic! Office area, although not super big, but all are professionals, there is no redundancy in the department, really appreciate it, do not speak face-saving projects, working sense, this is a lot of companies can not do.
 
        5 ground gas, Xin Yue contacted each employee, are very enthusiastic and gas. They can efficiently happy to help you solve technical issues and business problems you encounter. In contrast, several other companies: their superior technical personnel operational staff, dragon head, not the tail, are more difficult to want to learn, to reflect on.
 
    Very honored that we smooth the fastest chip batch applications, and consignment. We are confident: we launched ESP8266 Series modules are available in the market the most cost-competitive products.
 
      We hope that several Espressif the ESP8266 module, allowing your products with a strong competitive advantage. And consignment chip!
 
The industry's smallest, industrial grade stability! The most cost-effective.
 

Offline amyk

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7129
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #35 on: September 07, 2014, 12:59:53 pm »
"cattle X" is a rather interesting Chinese slang term that's been translated literally. The mentions of cattle you see on a lot of Chinese sites are not talking about anything actually bovine.
 

Offline NANDBlog

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5161
  • Country: nl
  • Current job: ATEX certified product design
Re: Wifi Serial module for under $4 - You cant be Serious!
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2015, 09:19:23 pm »
OK, I just fired up the wifi module.
If anyone is interested, it is not fast enough to play star wars telnet with the desired frames per second.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf