Palm's Touchstone Charger: $5 Worth Of Parts, $65 Worth Of Overhead - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
6/8/2009
12:45 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
50%
50%

Palm's Touchstone Charger: $5 Worth Of Parts, $65 Worth Of Overhead

The Touchstone charger is one very cool accessory for the new Palm Pre. It uses inductive charging technology so the Pre can charge wirelessly just by resting on top of the Touchstone. Sounds high-tech, right? It is. But the parts only cost Palm $5. Your price? $70.

The Touchstone charger is one very cool accessory for the new Palm Pre. It uses inductive charging technology so the Pre can charge wirelessly just by resting on top of the Touchstone. Sounds high-tech, right? It is. But the parts only cost Palm $5. Your price? $70.That's a heck of a mark-up. According to iFixit's teardown of component costs, the Touchstone uses a meager $5 worth of parts. That includes plastics, some metals, a few electronic components, and not much else. So why, then, is Palm charging $70 for the Touchstone?

Well. I have some theories on that.

First, Palm just needs the money, plain and simple. It spent gobs of cash to develop the Pre and webOS, its new smartphone and smartphone operating system. The Touchstone has a huge cache factor for the little technology that it actually uses.

The Touchstone is an inductive charger. This simply means that you can rest the Pre on top of the Touchstone and the Touchstone will transfer an electrical charge to the battery without the need to plug the Pre into the Touchstone. The Touchstone, of course, does need to be plugged into the wall.

Wireless charging is neat technology, no doubt. It's not the brand newest technology ever developed, but it has yet to reach mainstream use. Therefore, manufacturers can charge a price premium for it.

That's exactly what Palm is doing in this case. Even though the components cost just $5 to make, that doesn't include development costs, shipping costs, warehousing costs, marketing costs, packaging costs, and so on.

You'd be surprised to see the price breakdowns for a lot of standard consumer electronic equipment. The Pre's Touchstone charger is no different.

I don't begrudge Palm for charging $70 for the charger (though I'd prefer to see a $50 price point.) Still, this information may make that $70 hard to swallow for some Pre adopters.

Thoughts?

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Commentary
Where Cloud Spending Might Grow in 2021 and Post-Pandemic
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/19/2020
Slideshows
The Ever-Expanding List of C-Level Technology Positions
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/10/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Video
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Slideshows
Flash Poll