Case in point: While we have all been enjoying the apps that have been flooding the market, an entire network has grown to create radically new hardware at increasingly lower prices that will dramatically change our lives.
The confluence of 3D printing; new forms of capital raising; former Apple employees migrating to startups and lower barriers to entry at retail have created an explosive environment for new product development. We are not talking about apps and other forms of software. We are talking about hardware.
Nick Bilton and John Markoff have written a very nice piece for the New York Times entitled “A Hardware Renaissance in Silicon Valley.” Here is how they open their article: “In recent years, Silicon Valley seems to have forgotten about silicon. It’s been about dot-coms, Web advertising, social networking and apps for smartphones. But there are signs here that hardware is becoming the new software.”
Why is this happening; because “…any designer now has the ability to quickly experiment with new product designs using low-cost 3-D printers. Products can be made quickly in contract assembly
3D printing is not the only reason. Retail gateways “…like Etsy, Amazon and Google’s Marketplace allow people to set up shop on any street corner of the Web and begin hawking their latest hardware ideas.”
Helping all of this are websites like Kickstarter which enable innovators with good ideas to raise capital by bypassing the traditional sources of funding. And it’s not small money either “Ouya, an open-source game console for the television built using Google Android, just raised more than $8 million through Kickstarter.”
Underlying all of this is the human capital migrating out of Apple. “ Today some of the most successful hardware start-ups in Silicon Valley have been formed from the diaspora of former Apple employees who want to try their hand at companies that pair hardware and software — which is an integral part of Apple’s DNA.”
Is the toy industry in on the action? Well, there is “Little Bits;” that in my next posting.