Smart startups don’t try to compete with behemoths. Dumb startups sometimes do. Fusion Garage was the company contracted to design and build the CrunchPad tablet in 2009, which, after ages in “development” … came to market as the hideous and overpriced JooJoo. (Like, just in time to compete with the iPad.) The company’s followups, the conceptually interesting but dangerously undercooked Grid 4 smartphone and Grid 10 tablet, got a bit of attention before the company, which had probably shipped no more than a few hundred units of anything, ever, collapsed under $40 million in debt.
Microsoft can afford to do this right. So can Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony. But some startup? Not a chance. When it comes to hardware, young geniuses need not apply. The line for Code Academy starts over here.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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I can understand why trying to come out with a hardware-centric product for consumers is all but impossible for a startup, but if you were to focus on high tech, business services, or some other non-consumer niche market, I imagine the odds would increase greatly in your favor. Go one step further, and create a service or product that combines custom software and hardware, and you’ve improved your odds even more. It shouldn’t be hardware you’re trying to sell, but a useful product or service that requires custom hardware.