Monday, July 03, 2006

Lego Education Raises NXT Prices (Creates After-Market?)

Last updated on July 8, 2006

Last Friday, the same day that Jim posted this, Lego Education announced some pricing changes on their blog. Unfortunately, it is mostly bad news, with price increases for educational users. By the way, there are some errors either in the blog or in the online pricing: perhaps is it might be good to order your “NXT Servo Motors” now.

There is also some confusion on the software site licenses. The Lego Education shop indicates the NXT Software Site License here, but you’ll notice both the part number and the price is for the NXT Software Classroom License. I assume this is just a typo by the Lego Education people (“site” instead of “class”).

UPDATE: Lego has since announced that this is no typo: the classroom and site licences have been merged as advertised.

The really bad news is the item that isn’t on the list: a crimp tool. In the past, Lego has said they used connectors with unusual latches to the right for security reasons. That way, you couldn’t mix up Lego cables with telephone cables. But now, you have to wonder. They are charging approximately $ 3,3 per cable. But on their own NXT demonstration stands, quite a few cables had broken latches. Without those latches, robots are unreliable at best. It makes you wonder how many cables a teacher is supposed to buy. Looks like Lego is trying to create an aftermarket, much like printer companies make their real money on the ink.

The great thing about these new NXT connectors is that they are much easier to build than the old RCX cables. Provided that you have a crimp tool. Perhaps Lego is planning a crimp tool, but it would make a lot of sense if they provided some sort of announcement on that.

Below an overview of the price changes. Notice how the price changes are not all over the map. The Lego Education blog cites “some unforseen rises in the cost of materials”, but looking at the price changes, that doesn’t make any sense. How can the bill of materials for every NXT part of the LME Base Set become more expensive, but the LME Base Set itself stay at the same price? The increases are only on those parts that you are likely to order after you have bought the set, another sign of Lego trying to get more profit from the aftermarket revenue.

Item #

Description

Old

New

Difference

979797

LME Base Set

$250

$250

979841

NXT Intelligent Brick

$126

$135

+ $9

979798

NXT Rechargeable Battery

$48

$50

+ $2

979833

Transformer

$23

$23

979842

NXT Servo Motor

$17

$23 ($18 ?)

+ $5
(+ $1)

979843

NXT Touch Sensor

$15

$17

+ $2

979844

NXT Light Sensor

$15

$17

+ $2

979845

NXT Sound Sensor

$23

$25

+ $2

979846

NXT Ultrasonic Sensor

$30

$32

+ $2

979847

Bluetooth Dongle

$35

$38

+ $3

979648

Education Resource Set

$59

$59

900077

Education NXT Software (single license)

$42

$42

991280

Education NXT Software (classroom/site)

$240

$240

991281

Education NXT Software (site license)

$540

same as classroom

-$300

900069

ROBOLAB 2.9 Upgrade (single)

$49

$49

991303

ROBOLAB 2.9 Upgrade (site)

N/A

$149

991282

Robotics Engineering I: Introduction to Mobile Robotics

$225

$225

991283

Robotics Engineering II: Guided Research

$225

$225

991286

Robotics Engineering I GS Pack

N/A

$3,375

991288

Robotics Engineering II GS Pack

N/A

$3,595

991288

NXT Value Pack (12)

$3,140

$3,140

991291

NXT Value Pack (8)

$2,170

$2,170

991292

NXT Value Pack (4)

$1,200

$1,200

770323

Conversion Cable (3 pk)

N/A

$10

991300

.2M Connector Cable (3 pk)

N/A

$10

991202

.35M Connector Cable (3 pk)

N/A

$10

991201

.5M Connector Cable (3 pk)

N/A

$10

991293

NXT Poster Pack (similar to this)

N/A

$20

+ $5 from RCX

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