Interesting post on hardware commoditization on the Digits to Dollars blog:
The hard reality of electronics today is that if you can make a device, it will get copied quickly.
At the same time:
Whatever you want to build, there is probably someone in Shenzhen who already has a circuit board laid out for you, who can help you design your shiny plastic cases and most likely help you get it shipped.
Like most technological progress, the advances in electronics manufacturing are a double edged sword. If you have an original idea for a device that you think can disrupt (or create) an industry, this is bad news. But if you lack original ideas, but want to make money selling devices nonetheless, it’s great news.
As an aside, it’s much harder to replicate software and an ecosystem than it is to copy hardware. The biggest successes of the dot-com era (think Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook) have based their success on building a software ecosystem or platform. This is what’s giving sleepless nights to companies like Samsung, Dell and Sony, whose success was built on their hardware prowess.