Hardkernel - (Odroid) compute module?

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hesham1216
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Hardkernel - (Odroid) compute module?

Post by hesham1216 »

Hello guys,

Hope all is well.

I was wondering, why Hardkernel don't make a new product just as the rasperry pi compute modules, rpi compute module 4 for example, or Orange Pi Compute Module 4, or Banana Pi BPI-CM4?

Since the N2+ is one of the most powerful sbc's out there, I believe if Hardkernel decided to build a compute module, it will make a great impact in the market.

I believe it is not so hard to build such module, since it is just a different form factor of original sbc (and less I/O 's of course), with raw connectors (just like Hirose connectors that is used in rpi cm4) that can be used for different electronic designs and purposes.

It should also have the Amlogic processors like N2+ (just a point of view).

I am not sure of Hardkernel visions but thought to share this idea with you guys because compute modules are used not only by end users or hobbyists, but also by companies that can make full products based on such modules.

What do you think?

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mctom
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Re: Hardkernel - (Odroid) compute module?

Post by mctom »

I have already proposed exact same thing, N2-based compute module. I also promised to design carrier boards around it, if it ever happens.

I am fully confident that Hardkernel is well capable of designing such module, but I'm guessing it just doesn't fit their business model.
HK's products are very industry oriented, and I imagine that industrial customers want complete solutions, and not a compute module without a carrier board.

Compute module on a carrier board is also more expensive to manufacture than equivalent system on a single PCB, and cost is what drives most business decisions.

But I'm completely with you, I have had so many ideas for Compute Module carrier boards, but what's the fun in playing with SBCs of other brands.
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hesham1216
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Re: Hardkernel - (Odroid) compute module?

Post by hesham1216 »

Thanks for sharing your thoughts mctom.

You are totally right, industry probably rely more on ready made sbc's but I also believe that more market potential will be relying on the compute module, because you can build your own carrier board as you mentioned, and companies definitely will be capable to build custom boards as required.

It will be a very good alternative for the rpi cm4, and also hardkernel don't have to build a carrier board specific for the compute module, they can just share basic schematics and footprints. And people like us can start at that point.

So business wise, it will just be small modifications to what already exist...

Thay can try to create the schematic and build tens of prototypes and make some marketing through famous youtube channels. And let's see the boost of sales :D

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Re: Hardkernel - (Odroid) compute module?

Post by mctom »

Hmm, I don't think it's that simple.

Designing a compute module based on existing N2 or N2L design, may take a few weeks.
Assuming it will actually work the first try (I believe that's how Hardkernel works), it's not economical to produce 10 pieces - a batch of 100 or 1000 makes more sense. That's an investment of some serious money already.
Someone has to prepare a reference OS image for this, documentation, marketing materials. Maybe design new packages. Send samples to influencers and community. This costs money too.
And how many SBC influencers actually know how to build a carrier board? I would say less than half. Even less would be willing to spend time on that. So in order to make this promotion campaign work, they would have to get reference carrier boards too. More work and investment.
And the worst thing, every new product has to pass certification tests from all parts of the World to be even legal to sell. That alone is a four-five digit sum in USD.

So no, it is impossible to just make a few and seeing if the market is interested or not. :(

Meanwhile industry loves products made just for them. They are even ready to pay more for an SBC that has too many features if only this saves them all the problem of designing, manufacturing, certifying, assembling, stocking parts, testing... Yes they will gladly buy a ready product directly from HK instead. With adequate cooling and working OS image, unlike other companies do.
And second reason, the magic term "time to market", which means the company always wants to have product ready as fast as possible. So obviously they will choose a complete SBC instead of compute module, even if end result could have been cheaper, smaller, better.

And finally, you have to understand that we - hobbyists - are probably a small percentage of Odroid sales... Except of game consoles, of course.

That's just my opinion on the matter, though. I really wish I was wrong and that Odroid Compute Module is behind the corner..
M1CM would be nice, but very similar to existing Radxa CM3. But N2CM, now that would be something really unique..
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