Need Long Lifetime Hardware Availability?
Serious' goal is to deliver each hardware module for as long as commercially feasible -- typically up to 10 years of production availability. However, the realities of the electronics component marketplace, and especially the LCD supply chain, make this problematic in some cases. When Serious designates a product as part of our Extended Lifetime Roadmap (XL), we believe the LCD and components designed into the module will be available for minimum 5 years from production launch based on our suppliers' past performance and stated intentions. Sometimes a component change will drive a new board revision requiring customers to move to new firmware loads going forward to accommodate revised production modules as well as older production modules, but in general these are form-fit drop-in to existing designs. Serious works hard to minimize these required transitions and attempts to give as much notice (via Product Change Notifications) as possible to potentially affected customers.
Occasionally key customers will approach Serious to create products using more consumer-type LCD or other technologies to enable special form factors and capabilities. The (now retired) SIM110 was a good example: its 3.0" LCD was understood to be EOL-vulnerable (it was used in a major consumer Korean Golf GPS) but several OEMs required this form factor and were willing to redesign their products if necessary to accommodate a different SIM (with likely a different form factor) when the LCD became unavailable. They also carefully managed their stocking to ensure sufficient time for them (and Serious) to respond to supply line disruptions on short notice. These products Serious designates as Commercial Lifetime (CL) products.
Customers that desire stable longer-term supply should avoid CL roadmap products and instead choose Extended Lifetime (XL) products.
There are three lifetime expectation designators for Serious hardware modules:
- Extended Lifetime (XL) products designed with components and LCDs targeted for long term (5+ year) support by their manufacturers
- Commercial Lifetime (CL) products subject to supply disruptions/EOL with very little (if any) forewarning due to LCD or other supply-chain component issues
- Development Kit (DK) products are designed for software/GUI development or evaluation and not designed for production deployment; these are subject to EOL without notice as we often improve and enhance our development kit offerings