CES is certainly bringing a flurry of announcements related to the Cubify.Com portal!
Here are two more announcements that can be found on the 3D Systems news pages.
UPDATE: The Cubify Blog Has Released More Specific Information HERE.
From what I can tell, AppCreate appears to be a service that will let designers create their own designs and then walk through some steps that covert that design into an app that includes some designer specified options. But, how it's going to work would just be conjecture on my part. I also don't have a clue if the designs must be created in a parameterized CAD environment or if other 3D formats can be converted.
For now, let's just say that they are going to be providing us with some way that we can turn our ideas and designs into income producing apps. That's all I need to know to be VERY interested. We'll just have to wait for more.
AppCreate is clearly aimed at the creative aspects of making objects for sale via the Cubify Portal. But, it appears that the Cubify API allows designers and app developers access to the business side of the equation... the "fulfillment" services that are delivered by the Cubify portal. Again, there is little more than letting us know that something is coming/ But, we'll have to wait for it's release to know just what it entails and how it's going to work for us.
What it Signifies to Me
The genius behind eBay and Amazon is that they have been able to make money by helping others make money. And, that seems to be a foundational philosophy undergirding the entire Cubify Portal design and purpose.
I hope you will let me hop on my soap box for a moment to tell you why I love this idea. There seems to be a shortsighted view that is prevalent in the RepRap community that everything should be free.
But, how does "Free" help some designer in Haiti feed their family? And, how
does "Free" provide the means for a talented designer to keep on
designing. It's totally bankrupt mirage.
"Free" is a completely counterproductive to the goal of 3D printing being a technology that lifts up those in third world countries.
The beauty of a service like Cubify, where those who like a design can pay a reasonable price and manufacture it at home or order it on the web is that it is entirely egalitarian. Any creative person in the world can create a design that brings in income from people all over the globe. The designer doesn't even have to have a 3D printer. This is an extremely powerful force for international good.
In the "free" model, only the consumer benefits... and then only for a limited time, since some potentially great designers must turn their attention elsewhere to make a living. In the Cubify Portal model BOTH consumer and designer benefit in a symbiotic relationship. The consumer's purchases support the designers ability to continue to design. And, interestingly, designers in poorer countries actually stand to benefit the most. A five dollar Cubify sale by a designer in a small village in a 3rd World country may mean a lot more to that designer than it does to those of us in affluent countries. And, that is why I believe that the "free' model, while touted by some as morally superior is, in fact, morally bankrupt and counterproductive when viewed on a world wide scale.
I have been totally amazed by the diversity of nationalities of those that have contacted my through this blog. Often, I will have to find someone that can translate the messages better than the online translation services because of dialect differences. I have friends in Nigeria that are very interested in what 3D printing can do for them, both as designers and consumers. It is truly a transformational technology. And, the fact that the Cubify portal is being designed to facilitate any and all creative people to have the potential for income, is a wonderful opportunity for people no matter where they live.
I look forward to finding out exactly how these new services work and applaud 3D Systems for choosing the model they have chosen for their service. And, I hope that many, many of you will benefit by them.