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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 8-Jan-2022 9:30:57
#161 ]
Super Member
Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 1913
From: Trondheim, Norway

@agami

Quote:

You forgot:
Plugs into a TV.


Or a computer monitor. Or a video monitor.
Finding an old 15kHz capable CGA/EGA monitor back then wasn't so hard.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 8-Jan-2022 11:43:32
#162 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 409
From: Unknown

@agami

This crap THEA500 is just fancy plastic case for ordinary arm hardware,
fancy plastic case for ordinary mouse and pad.
It is nothing more than emulator plus some plastic.
It should cost no more than 25 EURO.
They may use older version rpi 0 to cut costs.

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Rob 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 8-Jan-2022 11:47:32
#163 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 6106
From: S.Wales

@ppcamiga1

Tell us about it when your €25 Amiga retro console hits the market.

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BigD 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 8-Jan-2022 15:48:52
#164 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6054
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Quote:
This crap THEA500 is just fancy plastic case for ordinary arm hardware,


... and yet it has the potential to outsell every AmigaOne PPC machine ever built up to now but in a single year! Because it will work out of the box and remind people that Amiga games were fun unlike configuring and hacking classic hardware and Workbench to work stably which was a challenge though fun for the fanatics! Maybe PPC NG Amigas really are irrelevant in comparison? It's not as if the A1222 Plus is available as an alternative and I wouldn't recommend any casual gamer to consider an A1222 Plus anyway! What's not to like?

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amigang 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 8-Jan-2022 15:57:57
#165 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jan-2005
Posts: 1734
From: Cheshire, England

its getting closer, this eye candy
https://twitter.com/THEC64_RGL/status/1479521606607069188

Last edited by amigang on 08-Jan-2022 at 03:58 PM.

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 9-Jan-2022 0:36:47
#166 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1297
From: Kansas

kolla Quote:

Huh, no joystick or joypad was included with my A1200 "Desktop Dynamite" despite coming with two games (Dennis and Oscar) that pretty much required it - I had to buy joystick seperatly. It did however come with a mouse, of course, and manuals for both OS and the software titles it cames with - WordWorth, PrintManager and DeluxePaint IV AGA.


My opinion was that the Amiga 500 and 1200 were crossover devices between a PC and console and had some of the traits of each but not all. It is funny that packs came with games requiring a joystick/pad yet didn't come with any. Once again, CBM upper management didn't understand their own products. They should have been pushing the support of more joystick/pad buttons as well to compete with consoles. It was likely Euro branches like Commodore UK which came up with the game packs in the first place to compete with consoles. Why they didn't include a gamepad I don't know but the game pack idea still worked brilliantly for Europe. For the U.S., I believe the CD32 idea of an expandable console that could be turned into a PC was a better marketing idea. Similar hardware can be used for both ideas so customers can start with a cheap PC and expand it into a console or start with a console and expand it into a cheap PC. It works even better today because the hardware is more compact and powerful without needing lots of expansion and the video digital output is more standard. Still, it's not being done.

kolla Quote:

And "minimal/thin OS"?
Sure, it lacked the Installer 3.0 floppy disk (because it came without hard drive), but other than that it wasn't at all "minimal".


CBM was too cheap and slow to invest properly in bigger ROM capacities, HD floppy support, CD-ROMs or hard drives. Any one of these standards would have made dealing with the AmigaOS easier. Moving to a 1MiB ROM would have meant most of the AmigaOS would have been in ROM which is what was finally done for the CD32 as the CD-ROM also provided plenty of storage space. As a comparison, look at the Acorn Archimedes which used a 2MiB ROM for RISC OS 3 and 4MiB for RISC OS 4 and 5. It was nice to be able to boot quickly completely from ROM and the ROM could save memory. Still, RISC OS has fewer features and is less powerful than the AmigaOS which used a 256kiB, 512kiB and briefly 1MiB ROM for the CD32. The 68k AmigaOS is very compact for what it is even though the 8 bit generation OSs were more compact but barely OSs. Carl Sassenrath accepted the Atari OS specs Jay Miner gave him and quickly tossed it in his drawer. The AmigaOS abstraction layers are thin and even the whole OS can be easily discarded. Even mobile phone OSs aren't as minimal as the AmigaOS today. There are some embedded OSs which are more minimal but do not have as much standard functionality as the AmigaOS.

BigD Quote:

... and yet it has the potential to outsell every AmigaOne PPC machine ever built up to now but in a single year! Because it will work out of the box and remind people that Amiga games were fun unlike configuring and hacking classic hardware and Workbench to work stably which was a challenge though fun for the fanatics! Maybe PPC NG Amigas really are irrelevant in comparison? It's not as if the A1222 Plus is available as an alternative and I wouldn't recommend any casual gamer to consider an A1222 Plus anyway! What's not to like?


I expect sales will surpass total AmigaOne PPC sales in less than 3 months and I wouldn't be surprised if pre-orders surpass total AmigaOne PPC sales. It won't be anymore surprising than 68k AmigaOS sales blowing away PPC AmigaOS sales. The big question is what does it take to bring back the 68k and Amiga custom chips? How much more humbling of PPC fans is required?

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agami 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 9-Jan-2022 1:27:49
#167 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 733
From: Melbourne, Australia

@matthey

Quote:
What do you consider low volumes?

With today’s manufacturing technologies and pipelines, 100,000 or less. This can also extend upwards of 500,000 in instances where upfront volume demand is unknown or uncertain, and the market demand is planned to be met with batches of sub-100k production.

This is what I expect will be the case with TheA500 MINI. If they were certain that there would be demand for 300k+ units, the production would use different tooling and would be able to bring the per-unit cost down, and potentially reduce the launch retail price.

Quote:
What do you think the profit margin is for Raspberry Pi Foundation products?

My perspective: THEA500 Mini is a one and done low risk test product with high profit margins. The Raspberry Pi Foundation products are very competitive products with low profit margins designed to take market share and build a platform. They obviously don't follow marketing rules of thumb like x3 hardware cost pricing but may employ loss leaders or just plain subsidization. It would be interesting to see their books. Regardless, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is changing the computer world while the THEA500 Mini will likely be gone in a year or two with no real benefit to anyone but the investors. My respect is with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It is like the difference between the investors Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn. Buffett is a builder and Icahn is an opportunist.

There are of course different go-to-market strategies that can be applied. The Raspberry Pi, whilst grown in market prominence and applications over the years, was very much launched as a barebones hobby board. The goal would’ve likely been to sell high volumes at low production and marketing costs, with minimal profit margin on the first and perhaps even the second gen products.

In the early hobby board for prototyping/IoT market segment, a smart company would understand that it is a land-grab game. What is important in that phase is to solidify one’s position in the market through strong penetration and support of a 3rd party ecosystem. In such a market, the R Pi Foundation could reliably plan to sell millions of Pi 3 boards/kits and make a profit at 2x hardware costs.

I agree that TheA500 MINI is a single SKU product aimed at capitalizing on the retro mini console/gaming computer trend, though it could be more than that.
I expect they will sell well enough that the producers and investors will make decent profits, but I don’t expect that they will reinvest further in the Amiga stream.

When it comes down to it, there’s not much difference between builders and opportunists. The difference is a long game vs. a short game.
Short games are often deployed for building wealth. Long games are generally deployed by the wealthy.

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 9-Jan-2022 18:12:35
#168 ]
Super Member
Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 1913
From: Trondheim, Norway

@ppcamiga1

Licenses for the games are most likely a large percentage of the price. And in a couple of years you can get it for a reduced price anyhow.

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 9-Jan-2022 21:04:21
#169 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1297
From: Kansas

agami Quote:

With today’s manufacturing technologies and pipelines, 100,000 or less. This can also extend upwards of 500,000 in instances where upfront volume demand is unknown or uncertain, and the market demand is planned to be met with batches of sub-100k production.

This is what I expect will be the case with TheA500 MINI. If they were certain that there would be demand for 300k+ units, the production would use different tooling and would be able to bring the per-unit cost down, and potentially reduce the launch retail price.


CBM may have had to deal with "low volumes" for most Amiga models then. Some Amiga users have this perspective that CBM was this huge business that could leverage economies of scale and use mass production beyond what is possible for anything but a corporate giant today. I expect they targeted something like 200k sales of a model with good margin within a year. Only the Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200 likely reached their targets. The Amiga 2000 was a consistent seller over several years and the Amiga 600 was discounted ruining the margin (CBM also had to deal with uncertainty). The higher end Amiga computers likely had higher margins and were profitable with 100k sales as CBM cost reduced some of them instead of discontinuing the model like with the Amiga 4000CR. CBM was the top PC producer in the C64 days but THEA500 Mini may be produced on a similar scale by volume, albeit at a much different price level, as some original Amiga models. The original Amiga had more expensive chips and cases but could often reuse chips between models to reduce costs.

agami Quote:

There are of course different go-to-market strategies that can be applied. The Raspberry Pi, whilst grown in market prominence and applications over the years, was very much launched as a barebones hobby board. The goal would’ve likely been to sell high volumes at low production and marketing costs, with minimal profit margin on the first and perhaps even the second gen products.


High production on a new product sounds risky but they started with a very low cost product which keeps the total mass production cost down. I didn't expect a "hobby board" even with an educational angle to be so successful but it was an ingenious plan which stealthily targeted the embedded market. More recent products stealthily target the PC market. The Amiga has never had upper management half as savvy.

agami Quote:

In the early hobby board for prototyping/IoT market segment, a smart company would understand that it is a land-grab game. What is important in that phase is to solidify one’s position in the market through strong penetration and support of a 3rd party ecosystem. In such a market, the R Pi Foundation could reliably plan to sell millions of Pi 3 boards/kits and make a profit at 2x hardware costs.


It's just unusual to see a new volume competitor come in and grab so much "land". Usually, markets have few volume competitors and many niche competitors. They really hit the target for embedded use and that is a huge market even though the needs vary enough that it is difficult for one product to target as a whole. The market success shows the importance of low cost in the embedded market.

agami Quote:

I agree that TheA500 MINI is a single SKU product aimed at capitalizing on the retro mini console/gaming computer trend, though it could be more than that.
I expect they will sell well enough that the producers and investors will make decent profits, but I don’t expect that they will reinvest further in the Amiga stream.


Well, there is a good chance there would be THEA500 Maxi if sales are good enough, likely using the same underwhelming hardware in a more expensive case with functional keyboard. This low risk strategy worked well for the low performance C64 but the Amiga hardware and users are often more demanding. There are plenty of cheap FPGA and emulation Amiga devices but they are far from the ultimate Amiga hardware that Amiga users are paying crazy prices for. The right Amiga product would be a retro meets modern Amiga for a price low enough that customers want to support the company. The chips and board are the cheap parts to produce today as demonstrated by the Raspberry Pi.

agami Quote:

When it comes down to it, there’s not much difference between builders and opportunists. The difference is a long game vs. a short game.
Short games are often deployed for building wealth. Long games are generally deployed by the wealthy.


Interesting perspective. The short game would be like investing in riskier cyclical growth stocks while the long game would be like investing in more defensive dividend paying stocks? The problem with that is that the dividend investment strategy outperforms the growth stock strategy in the long term. It is difficult to time the buys and sells to correspond with the lows and highs of growth stocks. The key to dividend investing is to find stocks with enough growth to increase the dividends which is not only safer but often outperforms the rate of return of fixed asset investments while growing. The dividends can be reinvested for a compounding effect which is especially effective when the markets are poor as the dividend goes up as the stock price goes down. It's worked well for me as I already have enough cash flow from dividends to live off of and the volatile markets have not hurt me much. I also don't have to do much buying and selling. I am long commodities and probably should take some off the table but they are somewhat defensive positions too. My largest holdings are Chevron (CVX) and Apple (AAPL). The other investors in my investment group have also weathered the markets well. One guy recently went in big on a small cap fertilizer stock called UAN to become his largest position (I own a position too). My brother who is also in the group has done well with his growth stocks but that is more because he bought 4 of the 5 big tech giants: Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook. His portfolio was diversified until the tech giants took off and he even has some commodities for this commodity super cycle. His income is high and he has invested a lot with more into growth stocks as he doesn't need a short term return while I had less to invest and went with a dividend strategy with extra income for safety which is the opposite of the rich vs poor investing that you suggest.

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agami 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 10-Jan-2022 1:37:38
#170 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 733
From: Melbourne, Australia

@matthey

Quote:
CBM may have had to deal with "low volumes" for most Amiga models then.

Whilst their production volume of any given Amiga SKU would use low-volume production methods and tooling today, back then computer makers didn't have such luxuries.
Whether one shipped 1M units or 50k units, many of the upfront costs of design, prototyping, testing & certification, enclosure molds, packaging templates, etc, would've been the same.

Back then we saw a lot more of the "Detroit" tactics of using common parts between multiple SKUs. CBM would still have had to secure volume parts and components supply for production and repairs, and it wasn't uncommon for upstream manufacturers to charge almost the same total price whether one ordered 50k units or 250k units, so there were very few savings to be had for ordering low volumes.

Quote:
High production on a new product sounds risky

Yes it is risky. A unique opportunity presented itself, and I'm glad they were bullish. The risk paid off, and then some.

Quote:
Well, there is a good chance there would be THEA500 Maxi if sales are good enough

I'd like there to be, though I think it should be more than just the MINI in an actual keyboard wedge case. There'd be an opportunity to go beyond the nostalgia market and reach a greater audience, if done right.
Time will tell.

Quote:
... I had less to invest and went with a dividend strategy with extra income for safety which is the opposite of the rich vs poor investing that you suggest.

Yes, there are always exceptions to the norm.

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paolone 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Jan-2022 12:50:44
#171 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Sep-2007
Posts: 1105
From: Unknown

@BigD

Quote:

BigD wrote:
@ppcamiga1

Quote:
This crap THEA500 is just fancy plastic case for ordinary arm hardware,


... and yet it has the potential to outsell every AmigaOne PPC machine ever built up to now but in a single year! Because it will work out of the box and remind people that Amiga games were fun unlike configuring and hacking classic hardware and Workbench to work stably which was a challenge though fun for the fanatics! Maybe PPC NG Amigas really are irrelevant in comparison? It's not as if the A1222 Plus is available as an alternative and I wouldn't recommend any casual gamer to consider an A1222 Plus anyway! What's not to like?


It has the potential to outsell and it *will*. There's very little doubt about that.

Problem I see here is that most surviving Amiga lovers still use their real Amiga machines and feithfully hope for a 'new more powerful system' to replace them in a NG way. This is not gonna happen, and it's light years far from what TheA500 aims to be: a retro-console for old Amiga owners that would like to play again their beloved Amiga games without messing with emulators, video conversion cables et similia. It is not aimed to current Amiga users: it's aimed to common Joes and Janes out here.

I would also add, since I am owner and user of both TheC64 mini and maxi, that once I had them, I never touched the original hardware again to play. They practically include - in the 'central unit' alone - all disk drive, cartridges and REU functionalities, so I can use my TheC64 as a super-expanded Commodore 64 and connect it straight to my high resolution TV/monitor. I even bought a HDMI>CVBS conversion cable to connect it to my Philips CM8833 CRT monitor when I get taken by nostalgia. How many money I saved with TheC64? At least the cost of recapping the original hardware, buying a Ultimate II+, or a REU and a SD2iec.

The same will be for the A500 mini: a integrated console which will allow me use both ECS and AGA games on ADF and Whdload files. And, thanks to the modern ARM architecture, I will also get more advanced Motorola CPUs and RAM expansions for free. How many money would someone spend tonday, if he wanted to buy all this original hardware to get the same results?

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Jan-2022 13:13:41
#172 ]
Super Member
Joined: 20-Aug-2003
Posts: 1913
From: Trondheim, Norway

@paolone

I have two minis, and I’m not overly impressed, in general games play a lot better under C64 core on the MiST and the MiSTer. One really annoying thing is random "freeze" every now and then, as well as 50Hz/60Hz issues - the last mini I bought is very much stuck on 60Hz, despite being in PAL mode and the monitor being native 50Hz by default. The only way to truly enjoy these systems is - as usual - to hack them.

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