Palm's $70 Touchstone Charger and its "$5" innards

"Very cool engineering! But the parts in the $70 Touchstone kit are very simple, and we'd be shocked if it cost more than $5 to manufacture." [Ifixit Twitter status]
iFixit: "Did it take you much time to create the Touchstone Charger? How soon did you knock it off?" Palm: "Oh, I 'knock one off' possibly in a couple of days - one day to do the work and another to finish it..." iFixit: "The labour of two days is that for which you ask seventy guineas?" Palm: "No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime."

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12 Responses to Palm's $70 Touchstone Charger and its "$5" innards

  1. Chrs says:

    Seriously though, van der Waals-force-based adhesives are not cheap at this point. Making one that will actually last for a while? It wouldn’t surprise me if that was greater than $5 R&D/manufacturing right there. Manufacturing this is almost unique at this point, although hopefully that will change, and prices will go down quite rapidly. Wonder if Palm got some patents on the manufacturing processes out of the deal?

  2. Flaubertine says:

    V. impressed at your ability to shoehorn a Ruskin/Whistler reference into a post on a smartphone dock… Maybe they should have called it the ‘Nocturne on a Gecko’s foot’ instead?

  3. Alan says:

    Unrelated question: why bother tagging if you’re going to have mt-search disabled so it’s not possible to search by tag?

  4. Anonymous says:

    so the cost is a guess… and one that does not include tooling costs, amortization schedules, packaging, shipping, warehousing, cost to borrow money, cost of development, cost of patent attorney to research the topic to avoid litigation, taxes, or the distributors costs…

    Sure, a pc contains only a few bucks of material, but it takes money to turn material into a PRODUCT.

    Typical markup from manufacture, to DEALER is about 500%, dealers/distributors then have their own mark up to the outlets, which have a mark up to the customer. Palm isnt the only one making money on this device :P

  5. overunger says:

    Is anyone REALLY surprised? This is how most corporations make money.

  6. dculberson says:

    I do of course defer to iFixit’s far superior experience in this area, but it’s hard for me to believe that something so complex can cost $5 to build. I mean, I do believe it, but it’s amazing nonetheless.

    Is the bond between the phone and charger magnetic? I see what looks like four magnets in the back here:

  7. Anonymous says:

    big deal. Have iFixit estimate the cost of materials in a can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

  8. Brian Whittle says:

    The whole point of running a successful business is to charge as much as someone is stupid enough to pay

  9. Dan says:

    Stupid article! Do you think that this charger is the only thing that costs very little that sells for a shit ton of cash? What do you think the mark up is on a 42″ LCD HDTV is? :) This is nothing in comparison! I have it, I love it and I am glad I paid the money for it!

  10. PrettyBoyTim says:

    Could it be that a chunk of the price is the special gecko skin base that tops it slipping? Must take ages to skin all those geckos…

  11. Shelby Davis says:

    I am utterly in awe at your ability to quote Ruskin in a tech blog… is this passage widely known? I had only seen it in “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies.”

  12. booticon says:

    $70 for a charger does seem kinda high, but I’m willing to pay a little more for the R&D that must have gone into this. I wonder if they had the Pre’s hardware finalized before they started working on this. I can imagine someone in a lab trying to get the perfect angle of the Touchstone right so the phone wouldn’t slip off.

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