YouTube user PsychoRadler is one of the lucky ones who have managed to get their hands on the recently released Asus Nexus 7 dock, and in the interest of scientific curiosity he has uploaded a video of himself taking a peek at the inner workings of the docking station.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a $40 docking station, which allows you to play music and charge your device through just a mini-USB connection, would require some impressive electronics. But as it turns out, there’s probably only about $3 worth of passive components inside the whole thing.
Although it’s pretty tough to make out exactly what’s on the PCB, the electronically savvy viewers will probably notice that all the dock does is split the audio and power signals from the tablet USB connection. There are no digital to analogue conversion chips or buffering circuits required. In fact the only real work done by the Asus engineers, that I can see, has been to add some filtering to the audio output and to make sure the whole circuit loads correctly, not exactly a lot of work for an experienced electronics engineer.
Whilst those in the know wouldn’t expect much in the way of circuitry when the dock’s only features are a 3.5mm stereo jack and a mini-USB port for charging, the same might not be true for the general consumer. It’s interesting to see how much of a mark-up companies can get away with charging by selling relatively simplistic products to consumers who probably aren’t all that knowledgeable about, or even interested in circuitry.
Of course it’s not all about circuits, there’s also the design and manufacturing materials to take into consideration when judging the dock’s value. As well as the obvious convenience of not having to build one yourself.
Are you shocked? Appalled? Or do you think that $40 is still a fair price?