I find that a lot of posts on this embedded group revolve around finding cheap or free tools to build embedded devices. However, in my experience, I've found that productizing real embedded products is anything but cheap. It takes many thousands of dollars to build good hardware, program that hardware, and debug it. You need all sorts of gear from power supplies and logic analyzers to probes and pricey software.
My question is, has anyone successfully deployed an embedded system which was built cheaply? Is it possible to take GCC, linux, and a hundred dollar wiggler to build and deploy an embedded system?