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Why not buy the ZTE Speed Phones at $80 for two rather than $268?

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  • Why not buy the ZTE Speed Phones at $80 for two rather than $268?

    I just noticed that FIRST's "Control & Communication Set 1" offers two ZTE Phones and cabling for $268. CNET has the ZTE Phones selling for $40 each (http://www.cnet.com/products/zte-speed/), that would be about $80+ dollars for essentially the same thing. Is there anything special about the ZTE Speed Phones hardware being sold by FIRST that other ZTE Phones would not have? We're a low-budget team and would very much like to save as much $$ as possible in our transition to the new system.

  • #2
    I was wondering the same thing. If we can get the phones for that price instead of FIRST's price, and they are the same, then Best Buy is getting Valley X and Trojan Robotics' money.
    2015 FTC World Champion - Valley X Robotics 2844 - Founding Memeber

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    • #3
      I haven't seen the offerings from FIRST - where are they listed?

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      • #4
        Through TIMS. Log on to TIMS, select your team, and order through there. Also, here are pictures of the pages. http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=137167
        2015 FTC World Champion - Valley X Robotics 2844 - Founding Memeber

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        • #5
          Since these are going to be "in harm's way", I purchased two from Best Buy with a two year protection plan. Total cost just under $125.00.

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          • #6
            Back to emeflag's original question on pricing - knowing a little bit about retail pricing, I'm fairly certain this is more of a Best Buy pricing issue than anything to do with FIRST or ZTE charging too much. I wouldn't be surprised to see the $39.99 Best Buy sale go away as some of their inventory is scooped up by FTC teams, and the street price effectively going up to somewhere around the net FTC kit price which also includes covers.

            It is our belief that teams will be able to use off-the-shelf ZTE Speed phones based on the simple fact that you can only order kits through the storefront once - and phones are for sure going to get broken out there and need to be replaced. Also, FIRST is offering a "no phone" kit option, which, if buying phones through them was necessary (like a samantha module), would not be optional. Our understanding of the storefront is "select once, then you are on your own for the season" - which means going direct to suppliers - Modern Robotics, Tetrix, Servo City, Andymark, etc. for parts. More like the FRC model for teams, I think.

            I think the FIRST team has done a nice job laying out a variety of different options on the storefront, although in another thread someone rightly pointed out that having the stand-alone costs for the modern robotics parts would be helpful in making a decision about which electronics kit to pick - although it really is binary in that you either get the 2 conversion modules for your existing tetrix controllers & lego sensors, or pay $264 more and get 4 new controller modules + some sensors. I'd bet that's a better deal than the controller modules will be stand-alone ($66/ea, with free sensors), if you are either a rookie team or a veteran team that wants to (and has the funds) to move entirely onto the new USB-based platform.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FTC6705 View Post
              Back to emeflag's original question on pricing - knowing a little bit about retail pricing, I'm fairly certain this is more of a Best Buy pricing issue than anything to do with FIRST or ZTE charging too much. I wouldn't be surprised to see the $39.99 Best Buy sale go away as some of their inventory is scooped up by FTC teams, and the street price effectively going up to somewhere around the net FTC kit price which also includes covers.
              Yes, the Best Buy price is a "sale" price, but the regular price is listed at $99.95. At the same time, understand that the service provider (BOOST Mobile in this case) subsidizes the phone price in anticipation of revenue from the sale of "airtime". Selling discounted phones "no contract" is a risk for the provider that the phone never gets used in a way that makes them money. I wonder if BOOST would have picked this particular phone if they knew what FTC was planning?

              Originally posted by FTC6705 View Post
              It is our belief that teams will be able to use off-the-shelf ZTE Speed phones based on the simple fact that you can only order kits through the storefront once - and phones are for sure going to get broken out there and need to be replaced. Also, FIRST is offering a "no phone" kit option, which, if buying phones through them was necessary (like a samantha module), would not be optional. Our understanding of the storefront is "select once, then you are on your own for the season" - which means going direct to suppliers - Modern Robotics, Tetrix, Servo City, Andymark, etc. for parts. More like the FRC model for teams, I think.
              While this is a noble goal, if FTC finds that they are sitting on a million dollars worth of phones in October and November, look for an easing of this restriction. I hope that their purchase agreement allows them to return excess inventory so that new teams in future years aren't still seeing this model phone in their equipment package . . .

              Originally posted by FTC6705 View Post
              I think the FIRST team has done a nice job laying out a variety of different options on the storefront, although in another thread someone rightly pointed out that having the stand-alone costs for the modern robotics parts would be helpful in making a decision about which electronics kit to pick - although it really is binary in that you either get the 2 conversion modules for your existing tetrix controllers & lego sensors, or pay $264 more and get 4 new controller modules + some sensors. I'd bet that's a better deal than the controller modules will be stand-alone ($66/ea, with free sensors), if you are either a rookie team or a veteran team that wants to (and has the funds) to move entirely onto the new USB-based platform.
              Given the huge challenge of refitting up to 5000 teams with totally new technology while staying mostly backwards compatible, I think that FTC has done a great job so far, and they will learn the finer points of inventory management, custom software development, and managing the expectations of their customers (US!)
              Jim Bates
              Atlantic County NJ 4-H Robotics
              FLL Teams 71 & 13365
              FTC Team 9765

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              • #8
                Agreed on all points. This is a big step forward for FTC and it will be a learning process for all of us. By the nature of the competition it attracts a lot of us who are curious and somewhat impatient - I think the program will really only kick in when Intellitek starts the online training June 5th and then components ship later that month. On the software side, the FIRST/Intellitek Java intro isn't scheduled until September 1st. I suppose we all need to remind ourselves that this is supposed to be the "offseason."

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                • #9
                  Off-track rant: "I understand that its the "offseason." But it would be nice to have all of the material handed out now, and have the intro/meetings and such later if they are not ready. I run both of my robotics teams as a class. It would be nice to have a teaching plan set and know how to teach the java coding that is needed for FTC now before the start of class next year. The month before kickoff would be the best time for me to teach it."

                  Back to the thread: I just bought the 4 phones I needed for my teams from Best Buy! Saved my teams about 350 dollars!
                  2015 FTC World Champion - Valley X Robotics 2844 - Founding Memeber

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                  • #10
                    We are rookie team this year and we are ready to purchase. I just want to verify what I am reading. If I buy the ZTE speed phone which is $39.88 at Walmart (8GB), it should work the same as the phone purchased through the FTC website? There is nothing different from the commercial phone vs the phone purchased on FTC website? The one I see on best buy on sale is 4GB. I assume 8GB is fine - no rules on purchasing one with higher GB?

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                    • #11
                      See here: http://ftcforum.usfirst.org/showthre...ll=1#post13805

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