2421 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Effect on the end price?
Since most of the products we buy are assembled in China by near slave labour, I'm not sure many people are able to criticise Dell et al, given that we're buying the shiny stuff cheap no questions asked.
But is there any good evidence to explain what is the impact on the end product price of (a) some living wage and decent working conditions in China, and (b) making the product in the US or Europe? If we wanted to get all ethical, how much would the price tag be?
The second part of the obvious question is who currently benefits? Does it translate to some definition of excess corporate profits or is it consumer price savings? For Apple it seems to certainly be excess profits, not sure that's always true away from the "price setter" firms.
"the majority of the work remains ahead of us."
He's right about that. And that work will have two parts:
1) Finding sufficient quality content to fill the bandwidth. Chances of success: Very low
2) Persuading mobile networks to price data sensibly on high speed networks. Chances of success: Nil.
Re: How do they do it?
"They've proven that they can make a good product - now they just need to deliver on more than just components"
Try one of their cheap vacuum cleaners before you call any other product of theirs crap. But there is a reason, and that is simply that Samsung are a conglomerate. There's no meaningful link between the divisions that make white and brown goods and the semi conductors businesses, and some of the poorer products are coasting on the name of the better products. I don't expect that to change.
Having said that, I'm more than happy with the high end Sammy phones (mid to low end ones are indeed pants), and my Sammy TV has been excellent - far better than any competing products amongst friends and family.
Re: BOFFINS: BILLIONS OF EARTH-LIKE LIFE-FRIENDLY ALIEN WORLDS IN GALAXY
Oi! Loyal Commenter!
" I am assuming your fingers have not yet grown so bloated from shovelling 1000 calorie snacks into your maw...."
Before you get too far on your high horse whilst insulting the colonials, have you had a look at the state of British peasantry of late? More than a few hambeasts lumbering about the streets these days. At least it's one area where we're a leader in Europe:
Re: But what will it taste like?
"Of course if we do find life, we all know one of the first questions to be answered will be "what does it taste like?"
Unfortunately it's more likely that life will find us. Remember to marinade yourself before meeting the visitors.
Re: Fermi's Paradox was nonsense.
"If a very intelligent species existed out there somewhere, there is no reason to assume they would want to encounter the likes of us in the first place."
Indeed. After the first few hundred life-supporting planets, why bother visiting more? Chances are that (bounded by basic physics) you'd have found that life tended towards a range of basic shapes (two or four legged, winged, finned etc), that the range of feasible sizes was essentially limited, and various ecological roles are filled by similar biological solutions. If you've got interstellar travel cracked it's most unlikely that wealth or natural resources are sufficient problem to drive exploration.
Which leaves the only real driver of aliens coming here being for the sake of it. With such a large number of planets to visit, catalogue and research, and the probably niche interest of exploration for exploration's sake, entire planets could evolve and become extinct between visits from space-faring species.
Re: I guess God has a sense of humor!@bongorocks
"If you believe in Alliens then you should believe in God because he is an Allien"
Could you clarify that for me? Was it one of these:
"If you believe in Allens then you should believe in God because he is an Allen"
"If you believe in aliens then you should believe in God because he is an alien"
"If you believe in Allahs then you should believe in God because he is an Allah"
"The question is rather "what devices would it make sense to remotely control", and while the fanboi-types will certainly go overboard..."
But there's existing capabilities to have remote control and automation of home electrical gear, for those who want it. I can't think of any time in the past twenty years when I've thought "Good Lord! I need to turn off the bathroom light, but I'm at work, if only somebody would invent the smartphone and full home automation to make that possible!"
I do want the heating on when I get home (or SWMBO), but we have found an elegant solution, called a timer, that I recommend to all. And, it works perfectly alongside another recent breakthrough, the thermostat. And unless you're floodlighting a stadium, then a simple photocell controlled outside light would surely suffice?
" what problem does the internet-connected lightbulb solve?"
None. It's part of the wishy washy "smart home" cobblers, which is very long on ideas for making things work together, very short on real benefits (and which the planned roll out of smart meters is intimately linked with). As is usual the Climate Changeistas see a huge opportunity to manage your life better to suit their purposes, so things like remote control of your fridge to turn it off during the ad-breaks in Corrie, but then (because they can) why not have remote monitoring to tell you that a lightbulb will fail, or to turn it off because the household processor thinks the room is unoccupied, or quite bright enough already?
Re: The usual $/£ currency sting
"The price is quoted as $350 but the UK price is £300. At current exchange rates it shouldn't be more than about £220."
Knock off VAT for a fairer comparison (Yank prices don't include local state sales tax, ours include a national rate by default). If my calculator's got that right then you're comparing a UK pre-tax price of £247.5 with your nominal £220 at prevailing FX. A bit of a non-US loading, but not as bad as you think, and I expect there's regulatory and scale issues that make the UK version ten quid or so more expensive than a US one.
Re: This is why...
But the wearer is buying this to feel invincible. He's not going to ask for his money back if it doesn't work.
So the more-money-than-sense exec is happy. Assassins everywhere are happy. Candian tailors are happy. Bodyguards and makers of real armour are happy that their market isn't been taken away.
How often do you see such a universal win situation, where everybody's happy?
Re: 'hard' leader needed for this 'soft' business
"Microsoft does not have five years"
I certainly hope that's the case.
"And then I read your last paragraph."
So you rate his posts depending on whether his expressed opinions match your own? Enjoy a downvote on me.
Re: HP "considering entering the market"?
"Really, HP, amnesia in a major IT supplier is not an attractive attribute."
More likely they've only just remembered there's a huge, huge warehouse full of zillions of unsold Designjets, which have been sitting heavily on the balance sheet, rather like a surfeit of Big Macs.
Those who read Tim Worstal's article the other day will recall that millions can be made by linking up those who want lots of something, but think there's no supply, and those wanting to shift lots of something, but believing there's no demand. Somewhere in HP, some bright spark mulled and mulled over who in the world might have a demand for a lot of machines to print moderate numbers of small 3D plastic ornaments, printed to unexacting standards, and to a small range of patterns that change on a quarterly basis....
Re: I agree@Mr Damage
"Ive been tasked with building a pair of PCs for my nephews for Xmas. They are suppose to be gaming rigs, but both are insisting on having Win8 "
No probs. Install vanilla WIndows 8 (not 8.1) and load up Classic Shell. The Black Hand Gang can still have it boot to TIFKAM if they really want, but there's a proper desktop, full program menus and start button for those (frequent) times when TIFKAM is just a world of fail.
I'm not sure what MS were trying to achieve with 8.1. All that I can see they've achieved is to not deliver what users wanted (again), added yet another code base to support, and irritated a modest proportion of the hopeless optimists daft enough to think there were anything worth reinstalling yet another version of Windows.
Re: What this really means...
I think that looks likely: "Operating income for Q3 has also been affected by higher depreciation and amortisation costs, higher stock-based compensation expense, and the impairment of certain network assets."
Funny how all the non-cash costs have gone up, based on the company's decision, resulting in a nice little loss. Whether in our vastly complex tax code such shenanigans will translate to a lower tax liability would remain to be seen as "the computation" is not directly linked to the statutory accounts.
So in theory not, but in practice HMRC seem incompetent at getting multinationals to pay tax. If there's any doubt it'll be easy to ship the transactions off shore to somewhere that will permit any form of cowboy accounting.
Re: What is the reason for using off-standard screws given they defeat no one
"What is the reason for using off-standard screws given they defeat no one "
1) Typically the standard Philips screws are less amenable to automated assembly, so you'd want to use a machine friendly alternative (which could have been a more standard torx).
2) You and I might not be kept out, but I don't think we're the greasy-fingered hordes that tamper resistant screws are a defence against. So non-standard screws will defeat those who would use (for example) a Ph driver on a PZ screw. Those people you most certainly do want to keep out, and having a non-standard screw will work well.
Re: Chock-full of it
" It's difficult to turn on GPS without Google monitoring your location, networks, and nearby WiFi points. Google Maps demands login for offline mode"
So use a paid or free alternative that works offline (Navmii works OK given it's free, and I hear good reports of Copilot if you want better but paid for quality), and turn off data network mode. In fact, data network mode can be off much of the time unless you need web access (it's just in the top setting bar, so no furkling around deep in menus to find it).
You may also find that you get much better battery life with mobile data off as a side benefit.
Re: there 's a difference between "peak" and average, of course....
"Now, enthusiast as I am for nuclear, I've better sense than to suggest using it for exploring the further reaches of the demand curve "
I'd agree. But I was just illustrating to the OP that a national nuke fleet wouldn't work. I'll beg to differ on nuclear for baseload, because it's still too expensive. In my view we'd be better off using modern coal and CCGT for baseload through to mid merit.
Re: Quite right too....
"The strike price deal for Hinkley C - £93/MWh - drops to £88.50 if Sizewell C's built. Which implies a unit price of £84/MWh expected for Sizewell C."
That's true. But given the parlous state of EDF's finances, why invest yet more capital in the UK for the purpose of diluting your returns?
Re: Quite right too....@Ken Hagan
"Am I being naive in thinking that the cost of building 13 (or 20, or...) is only 13x the cost of building one in some kind of worst case scenario? Surely there are design reviews, tooling up, training the workforce, etc. that would be needed only once?"
Some of the design stuff you'd only do once (almost - there's a lot of site-specific design for any large scale plant, no matter how nominally similar it is). But things like workforce training would effectively be new for every site - at around seven years (fastest) to construct, the posited national fleet would need to be built in parallel.
And the components might as well be bespoke, due to the scale and complexity, so you'll not strike a huge discount for the steam turbines because they are already essentially an off the shelf design. The small economies of scale would get wiped out by the inevitable spec changes. Looking at what's happened to the costs at Flamanville and Oitlutookoyloiklotl (yeah, you spell it without looking it up?) and you'll see that the £16bn for two reactors is probably already hopelessly optimistic.
I like nuclear as solution, but the costs are out of this world.
Re: Quite right too....
"Hinckley C will produce 7% of the UK's Electricity requirement. 13 of them would produce all of it."
Cobblers. Hinkley C is rated at 3.2 GW. Peak demand is 60 GW, so you'd need 19 similar sites to support current peak UK demand, assuming that demand doesn't climb with economic recovery and our rising population. But that's before those inconvenient statutory inspections, refuelling outages, and breakdowns. Typically the industry reckons that a mixed generation portfolio needs a minimum 15% reserve margin, so we're now up to 22 Hinckley Cs, arguably nuclear needs higher because fossil stations don't have stoppages for refuelling and statutory inspection. As a matter of note, EDF have 15 nuclear reactors, and at this moment two are offline for statutory inspections, and two more are in the process of reconnection after last week's high winds, so last week more than a quarter of their capacity was unavailable (before correcting even further for a 160MW loss of output on Hartlepool reactor 1 due to a boiler problem).
So your plan involves the government building 22 new nuclear sites, at a cost of around £350 billion. Government have a lot of experience of spending money on big infrastructure projects, what could possibly go wrong? If you add in a higher reserve margin of say 25% (due to the concentration of risk at fewer sites and higher nuclear scheduled outages), and allow for peak demand returning to a growth trend and reaching say 66GW, then we're talking about 26 stations, and a bill over £410bn.
Then there's the supply chain capacity, which couldn't deliver the parts, from high pressure steam piping to turbines and alternators, reactor vessels, HV switchgear, and civils. When the supply chain tightens, prices head north. So you can add another 30% to your £410bn (I know having programme managed an investment programme totalling mere hundreds of millions of quid where we were competing for capacity within a constrained supply chain).
You could use gas for peak lopping and reserve capacity, but then it begs the question, why use nuclear at all when it costs so much (before the inevitable cost overruns). In reality the optimal answer is a mix of thermal generation asset types. Nuclear has no place until the price comes right down, and renewables have no place until they are either schedulable, or their output can be stored (neither of which will happen soon).
Re: The penny drops - renewables as 'The Answer'. ?
"Insofar as nuclear is an infinitely cheaper...."
In what parallel universe is nuclear power cheaper than anything? If you've been paying attention, you'll have seen the UK government has just guaranteed to pay EDF more than double the current UK wholesale power price for a new nuclear reactor. That's fairly representative of the "Alice in Wonderland" economics that is used to justify energy policy (which in itself has been decided to appease the worshippers of climate change).
So the recent Parliamentary whining about high energy prices is revelaed as complete cant. Their solution to public anger over rising energy prices is to rubber stamp agreements to double current prices.
" If it's so important, why is nobody funding this?"
I think you'll find the governments of Russia, Europe, Japan and the US are funding this research. Because it's incredibly expensive, and still so far away from practical output no private investor could take the gamble. To an extent governments have taken over the role of very long term venture capitalists, and you might well see that as a good thing. Unfortunately this means that our longest term investments are in the hands of some of our smallest intellects, and those people have both a very short term horizon, and predilections for spending money on bread and circuses rather than anything really useful.
All of which ignores the risk that despite the billions spent, fusion may never work economically.
Re: Don't get it
"There are lots of reasons why Google doesn't make the Nexus devices with its own subsidiary, chief among is most likely not wanting to piss off your partners by competing directly with them"
Except it does on two levels. Every Nexus 5 will be a mid-to-top-end smartphone not sold by the hardware-only phone makers, and in the background you've got Moto continuing to grind out handsets at a loss, even with a free OS.
But disagreeing doesn't answer the question about why Moto don't make Nexus devices. As far as I can see, it's a learning experiment, and/or defensive move. Making hardware probably won't be part of Google's long term plans, but Google branded devices might well be. So Motorola needs to be re-saleable, without any tie ins to Google, and for that reason they don't want Motorola to have the Nexus contract. But they will be learning from Motorola about the art of the possible, and about the technology which helps in negotiations with the companies bidding to make Nexus devices, so a not-too-threatening level of sales suits Google just fine. And the defensive strategy is that owning a hardware house will mean that if (for example) Samsung decided to jump ship to a rival OS, Motorola can throw down the gauntlet on price and capability with near immediate effect, probably based on a phone that's already on the market, or in the pipeline.
Re: I'm proud of the legacy
"All this is a testament to this great Lord and his generous corporate backers, and I wonder why the people of London haven't voted to erect any statues to their memory yet..."
Actually, it's testament to Ken Livingstone, who signed up Londoners and the nation for the hugely expensive junket in the first place. But Londoners have repeatedly elected Ken, so I think they got what they deserved.
Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?
"can't hit corporate margins without hitting end user prices."
Ultimately yes. But if there's an additonal cost associated with non-serviceable products, then the company has to consider whether it wants that as extra margin, or will pay the cost. Broadly speaking most devices made by most makers aren't price setters, and the price is set by what the market will pay. In that case a corporate tax is not a readily passed on cost, even though it is ultimately out of customer's pockets. The point then is that with a more serviceable product the company would charge the same, but keep more of the income.
Re: Is there anybody who approves of this?
"How often do you take your phone or tablet apart?"
Not often. But just dismantled the wife's Nexus to stick in a new screen and digitiser after accident damage. If that were glued up then it would have been a throw away.
Is there anybody who approves of this?
The apparent trend to permanently seal devices with glue and other PITA fastenings needs to be stopped. Regulars round here will know that I think tree-huggers should be burned as a renewable fuel, but on this one I suspect there's common cause between technofiles and the environmental lobby.
Whether for service or recycling, it is unforgiveable to see this sort of penny pinching that guarantees a one way trip to landfill, regardless of the label on the outside. Designers should be smart enough to know that more regulation won't help them, but things like simply invite it. Hint to law makers: Make sure you hit corporate margins, not end user prices, please.
Re: Intergalactic blaster battle! @DAM
" I'm not into that Halloween crap"
Nobody is. Just an excuse for Tesco to sell pumpkins, and for kids to pester neighbours for sweets. Not that I would deliberately fill the bowl with aforementioned toxic sweets, nor particularly favour the blue ones that make kids buzz until they rattle. Or get rid of the out of date ones found festering at the back of cupboards. Admittedly last year's offering included a handful of joke shop soap sweets, but I'm sure they were appreciated by the recipients.
If I'm feeling very cruel next year, I may drop into Asda and buy some of that dog doo flavour Hersheys.
Re: Intergalactic blaster battle! @DAM
The caffeine is strong with this one.
Or did you go trick and treating with the kids last night, and eat too many of those cheap Chinese sweets made of pure, unadulterated chemical colourings, flavourings, additives and industrial strength resins, polymers, benzoates and fluorinated coal tar distillates?
Re: Bigger risk than you think
"Mind you given NHS funding at the moment, maybe it would be worse."
I think your magic mushrooms have clouded your judgement, since the NHS Confederation report: "NHS net expenditure (resource plus capital, minus depreciation) has increased from £57.049 billion in 2002/03 to £105.254bn in 2012/13."
Re: What about bath foam? @Graham Marsden
In the unforgettable words of Bill & Ben, "flubba lubble flub flub flubble"
Re: Obviously I don't wish @ Cliff
Re: Buy HP stock?
" What are the chances of HP coming to grief before it can capitalize on its Memristor know-how, or some eejit in HP management selling the immature technology for about a thousandth of what it will be worth long-term?"
The best shareholders can hope for is a demerger into two companies, so that they can choose what to do with the EDS disaster bit (incl PC making), or the real techy bits with potential and high risk. In fact that's part of HP's problem, that they claim to be a tech company, when in fact they are a conglomerate, doing all manner of non-complementary activities, and all the while hoping that some new acquisition will change their misfortunes.
But worth considering that for all its potential, memristors could turn out to be a billion dollar blind alley, in which case EDS could seem like a good business.
"at least they are not a startup trying to con money out of investors with their confident predictions"
Given HP's performance over recent years, their stockholders might feel the only difference is one of scale.
Re: minor error
" we get those emails immediately to our desks, home machines and handhelds "
You can run, but you can't hide.
"Vietnam will be the place to go"
Nightmare. Who will make my trainers if this plan comes off?
Re: Evasion vs. Avoidance
"If the Inland Revenue decide that you buying your coffee beans from Switzerland at 10x market price is purely to make a tax loss - then it becomes illegal tax evasion."
No, as you said, it becomes illegal tax evasion when the courts decide. When HMRC decide it's tax evasion, they then need to prove that to the satisfaction of the courts, but HMRC have been remiss in building an effective case and taking it before the courts. So HMRC should have been after Starbucks years ago, and have had for three decades or more ample transfer pricing laws and precedents that they could have used, instead of ignoring big corporate tax dodgers and hounding UK tax payers under PAYE, SA or IR35.
That sorts out dodgy transfer pricing but it doesn't affect Google or Amazon saying their revenue arises here, but their profit magically arises elsewhere on electronic transactions. Parliament could do their share if the lazy, incompetent scrotes were to get off their well padded behinds, and draft some internet age laws about transactions placed over the internet. They could stop the likes of Google and Amazon dodging taxes by simply passing laws to define where a transaction takes place, rather than allowing companies to pretend that having a server in Kazakhstan means that the trade was executed and the profit made there, when the trade was placed and logistically executed in the UK, conducted in sterling and under the laws of the UK. You could still have free trade - but make those with Kazakh (or Luxembourg) "subsidiaries" undertake their business under the relevant foreign legislation and currency and fulfil from a foreign logistics centre. Amazon would have two choices - pay taxes where the revenue arises, or try and convince customers to have slower delivery, fewer consumer rights (under the jurisdiction of a foreign court in a language most customers won't speak), and persuade the customers to pay in euros or shekels.
For all the whining of the politicians, the situation is their fault. It can be solved by unilateral action. They simply don't have the spine or the common sense.
Re: I just made this suggestion yesterday
"I agree with this, it's an important step towards tax fairness IF implemented well"
No it isn't. If I buy from Google (let's say a Nexus, not my "consumption" of adverts) then it's already clear who is the beneficial owner of whichever entity I contract with. It's the shareholder register of Google Inc. Will that stop the executives of Google undertaking apparently legal tax avoidance, as part of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders? Even if you traced every Google subidiary round the world on a who owns whom basis, would that alter things? No.
The problem isn't who is the beneficial owner, either in total or at each inter-company trade, it is how they own it, and Shiney Faced Dave isn't even clever enough to realise that he's talking rubbish. More pointless policy making on the hoof.
Re: Will they block themselves?
"Is there a pre-filtering device that will sit between your phone and the wall socket, then pickup the call and quckly see if it is from a witheld number or from a list of numbers that you have provided it with, then end the call and not pass it on to your phone?"
Yes. Which? had a review of some a few months back. Generally speaking they worked well, but none are perfect (eg blocking "caller withheld" numbers could stop your doctors' from calling you, or new nuisance numbers need to be added manually). Expect to pay fifty to a hundred quid.
"I say hello etc, but I do not hear any sound. So, I guess that is someone with a grudge?"
Possibly, but unlikely. The usual cause is that outbound call centres doing legitimate (but usually unsolicited) selling use computer diallers that schedule the next call before there's a drone ready to handle the call (to keep the oiks noses against the grindstone, and improve productivity). If no drones are available when the call is answered then the dialler just drops the call. The use of recorded messages makes things a little more complex, but scammers make more use of recorded messages than cold sales callers - for a scammer, the recorded message acts as a filter that ensures the connected calls are to the stupid, for the sales callers they want human to human communication, so the last thing they want to use is a recorded message to cause people to ring off.
There's various reasons that the dialler and the drone availability get out of synch, such as all the drones clearing off to lunch, a team meeting, or operators taking longer to clear the previous call, or simply a crummy scheduler.
Re: I've been to Vietnam
"North Vietnam is cold, dark and grey. South Vietnam is warm, bright and sunny."
You could say the same about the UK, of course. And that bit about northerners who are suspicious & unfriendly and want to fleece you.
Re: BAD idea @naw
" I'd rather have half a dozen components that need re-assembly than one big broken component that needs binning."
Why do you assume that the energy dissipated by hitting the floor fast will be solely expended in neat dis-assembly? There's a strong chance that however the phone is made the glass screen and digitiser will be ****ed by the P1 percussive forces from being dropped. And there's no reason to believe that the other modular components will be sufficiently strongly engineered to resist impact damage. In my experience things like locating lugs are more likely to break than to unclip gracefully when dropped, and it isn't the soldered on or SoC integrated components that get mangled by a fall anyway.
Re: Seven tonnes of xenon?
" to make the largest flash tube, like, ever."
That's what quasars are. None of this black hole and mass accretion disc nonsense, just a bunch of puzzled alien primitves who've all stumbled on the same method of looking for dark matter, and the wondered how big a flash they could make.
Re: Keep grinding that ax Andrew
"But that's because they spent years telling us analogue was going away. Without that, there would have been lots more people still buying analogue TVs."
Actually that's just not true. The TV switchover took place at a fortunate point in history when the prices of LCD TV's were coming down fast, and the quality (and size) of almost all flat screen TVs was so immeasurably better than CRTs that wholesale replacement was being undertaken, and people were looking for better source material and more of it. If CRT's were still the norm, then people wouldn't have had much incentive to buy set top boxes, because the quality and convenience aspects would have meant little when wired into a crappy 28 inch CRT. Then they'd never have been able to get the viewing figures up beyond the 15% that will always be hoodwinked by government propaganda.
The TV switchover worked well, but it worked well only by a happy chance confluence of different and unforeseen technology and market changes. The original business case for analogue switch off was typical government bollocks, where a huge and unjustifiable cost is offset by a made up number, in that case the "value" of extra choice. As far as I can see, the extra channels have diluted quality programming, so that should have been a negative number, but in practice it has turned out rather well. Unfortunately there's nothing on the horizon that looks like making DAB an attractive or economic proposition.
And that's why DAB wallows in a trough of public apathy - there's no compelling reason to adopt it. The sound quality is no better, often worse. Any PLL tuner (or whatever they use these days) will auto tune and offer push button selection. Any RDS set will pick up the names. Why would I want to pay good money to replace a perfectly functional FM radio something that's more expensive and offers me no other useful benefits?
Go for it Ed
"one of the least popular decisions anyone in the Ministry of Fun can make"
Well, other departments have coped OK going with stupid, ill advised, expensive, and unpopular decisions (like pushing HS2, ordering aircraft carriers for which there are no aircraft, mandating £30bn of crappy windmills in lieu of good, cheap, effective coal or gas plants, stoking a housing bubble by guaranteeing private borrower's loans etc etc).
Never forget that the people paying for whatever decision is made, and suffering the unintended consequences will be (along with all logic) completely ignored in the decion making process. That process is called "government", and involves (under any of the main parties) Oxbridge toffs with no relevant experience (nor any education in science or technology) being handed ministerial posts, wherein they can make bad judgement calls in response to free lunches and pressure from vested interests.
What's not to like?
Re: How many of these are nasty Galaxy mini landfill phones?
"What I don't tend to see is much loyalty with buyers of their phones and their practices regarding updates and the recent region locking issues don't endear them."
That's correct, but there's nobody white than white in this regard. Given other buying considerations (OS preference, removable batteries, SD slot, screen size preference, app availability and functionality, maps/voice/camera add ons etc) it's very difficult to say that updates and region lock issues would tip the balance for many users.
I have a near vanilla Android works phone, and a personal SGS2, and I actually think that the Sammy overlay is rather good (although I don't care for their bundled software that overlaps default Android inclusions) so they'll please as many as they offend. And probably the majority of buyers simply won't care about any of the anorak factors you and I consider, they'll buy on brand or what's hip in their peer group.
Re: Join the public sector and make it great.
"It pisses me off that I've been clear for well over 10 years but I can't donate anything and that includes even my corneas."
Findus will put anything in lasagne, so I'm sure you can donate your whole body to them.
Re: Glass Explorers or...
"I wonder how many gSheeple will be signing up to boombustblog.com in the hope of getting an invitation from Reggie Middleton?"
Far fewer than if the offer were an invitation from Pippa Middleton.
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