Question for those experienced in moderate volume fine pitch mixed surface mount production:
Aside from the cost of the parts on the BOM, if produced in volumes of 1000 units at a time, what would you estimate for the domestic (USA or Canada) production cost to be for:
1) the pcb
2) the lcd
3) assembly labor
Yes, I got a bunch of quotes and didn't like them. Certainly doesn't get me anywhere near something that could be sold even at cost for the $20 range. Granted Atmel isn't counting the cost of the Atmega169, but their production can't be in much larger batches because we don't see DigiKey go from out of stock to 10K quantities overnight, more like a few hundred at a time.
My previous products weren't consumer oriented so I don't have any experience with this kind of production, but I could apply lessons from the Butterfly to my current project.
Do others agree with my guess that Atmel got surplus LCDs for this project and that the cost to make them from scratch would have been higher? The new LCD for the latest STK has the AVR initials so that one can't be surplus, but that one isn't available on a $20 product either.
Now, about the choice of packaging. I saw that consumer products using the Atmega169 have the bigger package, which according to the definitions used by my PCB vendor would no longer call the resulting design "fine pitch" and hence less expensive.
Wonder why Atmel chose the smaller package, maybe their PCB fab doesn't care or they wanted to showcase a business card sized design regardless of slightly higher cost ?
Final question for those experienced... does it make sense to send a proprietary design offshore for cost savings, or is it too risky that they would simply make more and sell them on their own?
I guess the lockbits come in handy if you send them just test firmware for manufacturing and do your own final programming using a trusted facility, but that's another step.