I would also like to comment on the new pricing model. This is a shocking change to the business model for working with Particle. One of the major reasons we started working with Particle was the predictable cost structure, which is essential in creating a mass produced product. The other competitors charged monthly for their services so it was difficult for us to build the lifetime data costs into a product upfront. However, with Particle, this was different. The deal was a $2 fee for your cloud data transmissions. This was a fixed and manageable expense that worked for our cost estimations. Now, everything is different . . .
I remember back when the AWS IoT service was launched there was a thread here that discussed the cost of the AWS service. It was said that charging $5/million messages sent through the service was very expensive. If we look at the Rollout tier in comparison it costs $249/month for 10 million messages. Even if we apply the “expensive” AWS pricing scheme, that would equate to $50/month for the same level of messaging. So the question becomes whether the other console services are worth $199/month. Of course, the AWS IoT service is not the same as the Particle platform since it does not have the device management and firmware upgrade capability, but the price difference is vast.
I also find the concept of fixed device and messaging count tiers strange. If you are going to charge a monthly fee based on the number of devices or messages sent I would prefer to pay for my actual usage. Why do I need to pay for devices or messages in excess of what I actually use? I would guess that the tiered pricing scheme is designed to make thing easier to understand. If tiered pricing is required, then I think soft limits for overage would be better. For example if you have 1001 devices or messages > 10 million, paying an extra $0.249 per device or 10k messages would be manageable and predictable.
In planning our production budgets, stable pricing estimates are an absolute requirement. We cannot have a cloud cost that ranges from $0.249 per product per month to > $1 if we end up selling more than 1k units. This type of a volatile cost base makes it extremely difficult to include Particle in our products.
Beyond the details of the new pricing scheme, I find the overall issue of drastically changing the business model deeply disturbing. We have been working for over a year integrating Particle services into our various products with the understanding that it would be $2 for the cloud licensing fee. We also just executed a production contract with a client on Monday but now our pricing estimates are completely invalid. Changing from a one-time fixed cost to a monthly, ongoing fee is a big big deal for us. I understand and respect that Particle has their reasons for making these changes but this is a game changer for us.