|Raspberry Pi Back In Stock - Well Almost|
|Written by Harry Fairhead|
|Friday, 16 December 2022|
One of the most generally felt consequences of the great chip shortages of 2022 is the lack of Pi - Raspberry Pi to be precise. Now the good news is that they should be back in stock soon and the situation is improving. Plus the Pi Zero can now be bought in quantity.
It doesn't seem to be easy to pin down a single cause of the great 2022 chip shortage.There are multiple factors including increased demand from smartphone and car manufacturers, the US-China trade war and even natural disasters damaging factories. One of the most notable problems that the shortages have cause is that most Raspberry Pis have been out of stock for so long that I can't remember when I could last buy one. There's no problem with the Raspberry Pi Pico in either of its main versions - the original and the Pico W launched in June - and you can even buy them in bulk. This has been good for the Pico as projects that once would have had a default setting of the Pi have now had to consider the Pico and this is no bad thing.
The lastest blog post promises relief:
"As a thank-you to our army of very patient enthusiast customers in the run-up to the holiday season this year, we’ve been able to set aside a little over a hundred thousand units, split across Zero W, 3A+ and the 2GB and 4GB variants of Raspberry Pi 4, for single-unit sales. These are flowing into the Approved Reseller channel now, and this is already translating into better availability figures on rpilocator."
At the time of writing there seems to be no sign of much improved availability. I can find a Pi 3, but nothing else. Perhaps the backlog is so great that they are going out of stock as soon as they come into stock.
Part of the problem for the hobbyist and small user has been the preferential treatment given to industrial users. Although no firm details have been given, it appears that what supplies have been available have gone first to manufacturers. This seems reasonable, although many users had "serious" uses of the devices but weren't included among the favored group. I've been trying to get a Compute Module 4 for about a year to complete a book project, but no special treatment for me either.
My guess is that I'm not alone in feeling that prioritizing industrial users over "educational" users seems a little strange for the Raspberry Pi Foundation and not in keeping with a non-profit. I wonder how much damage this has done. I know of makers who have given up waiting for stock and have moved on to other devices or worse.
Now we come to the bad news and some more good news. The general increase in the cost of chips means that some Pis are going to cost a little more. The Pi 4 with 2GB goes back to its original price of $45 and all of the Compute Module 4s have increased by $5. The slightly good news is that while the Pi Zero goes up from $5 to $10 and the Zero W from $10 to $15 you can now buy as many as you like. Previously the Zero was one per customer per order. This means that this remarkable little computer is now a candidate for serious projects where more than a one-off is required. Things are not going to get back to normal until the third quarter 2023 and until then it is likely that sales will be limited to one per customer per order.
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|Last Updated ( Friday, 16 December 2022 )|