User avatar
alexeames
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2869
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:20 pm

DougieLawson wrote:I bet 44 days ago that the RPF had no idea how well the zero would sell, they're not very good with their "like hot cakes" predictions. It's certainly caused a stir since Thanksgiving Day. I'd love to know how many have been sold since then.
I'd like to know too. I expect we'll find out in due course.

You can feel in your bones that a project will do well.
You can know in your mind that it ought to do well.
But it would take a cocky person to count on it.

The unknown is what makes it exciting. It's much better to have pent up demand for a while than lose a tonne of cash by getting it wrong. And at least here no money changes hands until the product is made, unlike crowdfunding, which can get quite nasty if you don't get the right balance of timeliness and comms. :shock:
Alex Eames RasPi.TV, RasP.iO

HeadCase
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:11 am

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:17 am

One of the most interesting things about this thread is that it reveals many different ways people are looking at the Zero. Given the price, that might be an indicator as to how widely used this thing will be. Here are a few viewpoints people have given.

o Useless - doesn't have enough ports
o A marketing gimmick for advertising
o Kick the legs out from under the $9 computer
o A cheap version of an A+
o A cheap Desktop replacement
o A type of Arduino
o A Headless server
o A hacker device
o A compute module
o A component in a bigger circuit
o An IoT node
o Robotics component
o Jewellery
o Classroom consumable
o Throwie
o Mesh network node
o ....

Everyone tends to think the Zero was made specially for them, but in fact the $5 computer has got the attention of a vast array of people from school kids right up to corporate engineering departments.

User avatar
karrika
Posts: 1072
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:21 am
Location: Finland

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:17 am

Typical USB-DMX dongles for light control have been around 100€ (from ebay you could get toy DMX stuff for around €20) and you still need a computer to run it.

With the PiZero + DiscoCap you get the computer, the DMX output and GPIO push buttons for 25€.

This could be attractive for people into performing arts. I am taking care of the economics for theater Rampfeber and it took a few years to buy the first lights.

hippy
Posts: 6293
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:22 am

jamesh wrote:Market reseach. I can see it now...

"This is the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Would you be interested in a $5 Raspberry Pi?"

Not only does it give away that the Foundation is preparing a $5 device, but has about as much chance of predicting numbers as a pet hamster in a wheel with a shaft encoder.
That's why you need people who know how to market research properly. Other companies are able to manage it. It's not like it's a new issue which manufacturers have never had to deal with before.

I imagine some market research or assessment was done to justify designing and creating the device in the first place and in determining they would risk building 100K in the first batch. And I expect there are people currently trying to assess what demand will be to figure out how to deal with that.

I don't think there's actually anything wrong in bluntly asking if people want a $5 Pi, though if one only asks that it won't deliver anything as useful as when asking additional questions. Ultimately that is the question one wants answering, along with a measure of confidence that those saying they want one will buy one or more.

And would it really have mattered if people had known a $5 Pi were coming or was being thought about ? I actually doubt it. But I guess if the Foundation share the same view that it's just not possible to do market research, on the quiet without revealing future plans, it would explain why they keep underestimating demand.

plugwash
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:45 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:53 am

hippy wrote: That's why you need people who know how to market research properly. Other companies are able to manage it. It's not like it's a new issue which manufacturers have never had to deal with before.
Other companies also screw it up (in both directions). Many of the products you find in discount stores are products where the companies market research failed and they have a load of stock that they can't sell at full price.

It is also important to remember that the Pi0 is a low margin product and to a lesser extent the pi line in general is too. If a company is operating with generous margins then overpredirections are much more tolerable (and underpredictions are a much bigger profit hit.

Heater
Posts: 13930
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:24 pm

Hippy,
That's why you need people who know how to market research properly.
Perhaps getting the board designed and running few thousand through the production line is cheaper than getting that market research done.

Making that run putting it on sale is the market research. With a far more accurate/conclusive result.

I have no idea, just speculating.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

hippy
Posts: 6293
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 pm

plugwash wrote:It is also important to remember that the Pi0 is a low margin product and to a lesser extent the pi line in general is too. If a company is operating with generous margins then overpredirections are much more tolerable (and underpredictions are a much bigger profit hit.
We can spend all year thinking up reasons and excuses for the Foundation having underestimated demand. We could spend all year batting that back with counter arguments.

User avatar
Jim Manley
Posts: 1600
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: SillyCon Valley, California, and Powell, Wyoming, USA, plus The Universe
Contact: Website

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:01 pm

SonOfAMotherlessGoat wrote:Where can I send my 256Meg and 512Meg Model B's? (I'm actually serious, I'm down in OC Jim, I'll cover P&P to USPS Priority them to you.)
Even a 256 MB Original Flavor Pi B would be a big help. Thanks very much! PM sent with particulars.
All the Best,
Jim
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 24191
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:22 pm

hippy wrote:
plugwash wrote:It is also important to remember that the Pi0 is a low margin product and to a lesser extent the pi line in general is too. If a company is operating with generous margins then overpredirections are much more tolerable (and underpredictions are a much bigger profit hit.
We can spend all year thinking up reasons and excuses for the Foundation having underestimated demand. We could spend all year batting that back with counter arguments.
To the Foundation, underestimating demands doesn't matter. So in effect, doing market research is a waste of money, money that could be better spent elsewhere.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

User avatar
rpdom
Posts: 15609
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:29 pm

hippy wrote:We can spend all year thinking up reasons and excuses for the Foundation having underestimated demand. We could spend all year batting that back with counter arguments.
I don't think underestimating demand was the issue. I think it was more the capabilities of the production line and "how many of these things can we produce in time for Christmas?"

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:48 pm

Heater wrote:Hippy,
That's why you need people who know how to market research properly.
Perhaps getting the board designed and running few thousand through the production line is cheaper than getting that market research done..
They could just allow presales which would tell them exactly how many people want to buy the things.

User avatar
Jim Manley
Posts: 1600
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: SillyCon Valley, California, and Powell, Wyoming, USA, plus The Universe
Contact: Website

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:56 pm

jasoncampbell4 wrote:
Jim Manley wrote:To Emma and anyone else who thinks it's just a matter of not trying hard enough
If you have 1982 students desperate for a Pi Zero then you have a minimum budget of about $10,000?, more importantly you have near 100,000 mouths (or brains) to feed moving forward. Surely if you contacted the foundation in advance you could have managed this better? I’m not sure of how class sizes work in the USA but in the UK we get worried if there are more than thirty children (20 is better), would that amount of teachers be available if the foundation sent a helicopter in the morning with the Pi Zeros?

Does your education authority do procurement like people order pizza deliveries? If they can’t deliver in 15 minutes you aren’t interested? In the UK budgets are set aside 12 months in advance.
Hi Jason - No one knew that the Zero was coming outside the Foundation, manufacturer, MagPi printer, vendors, and other trusted partners until it was announced to the public. So, it wasn't possible to plan purchases far enough in advance to be able to buy any, other than teachers, students, and parents picking their own pockets (which we're prepared to do if we can order any). I'm about as closely aligned with the Foundation as is humanly possible, and have been for over four years, and they're acutely aware of what I'm trying to do. They're trying to be fair to everyone, but at some point it just seems like students, parents, and educators should get dibs on some fraction of the production since the Foundation is an educational charity, especially knowing what's happened in the past where a significant number of boards just languished after the endorphins associated with the acquisition of the latest Internet meme dissipated.

A second problem is that schools are generally not able to purchase from any vendor not on an approved list that takes months to years to qualify to become authorized. Part of this is an effort to minimize the number of vendors that have to be paid and tracked, and it makes it easier to detect fraud, waste, and abuse. Ironically, it's a well-known secret that many vendors have back-channel relationships with politicians, school board members, school administrators, etc., but they're carefully shielded via third-party "cut-outs" and other techniques that would make CIA espionage tradecraft experts raise their eyebrows in admiration.

It's virtually impossible to buy anything at the teacher level with taxpayer funds on an ad-hoc basis, as purchases do have to be planned 9 - 12 months in advance, and for IT equipment, it can take even longer as the IT department has to verify they can support it, and the Educational Technology department has to state that it's willing to ramp up to be able to provide training to faculty and staff. I'm trying to make the case that the Pii are consumables because no one thinks anything of buying multi-hundred-dollar-each single-color laser printer toner cartridges that don't require IT tags or tracking, but technically, even a $5.00 Pi requires an IT barcode sticker that's about the size of the Zero, and it has to be inventoried annually until disposed of via a tracked recycling process.

However, one of the reasons that I'm developing pilot projects using Pii and other current tech (I joke that I'm helping such districts enter the 20th Century, and no, that's not a typo) is that there are grant and other programs that can provide funding on a short-notice basis _if_ reliable, vetted sources can be identified. So far, there are no such sources and no indication that there will be anytime in the foreseeable future. At this point, I'm just trying to get Zeroes into the hands of educators and deserving, self-starter students who we know will be able to benefit from having access to them. I wasn't able to get buy-in at quantity for $35 2Bs, $25 B+s, or even $20 A+s, but $5 Zeroes have attracted the attention needed, especially at the school-wide level. I have the teacher training and curricular material ready to go, but I'm stalled without the computers and no solution in sight. I have to have a lot of things in place well before the Spring break opportunity, and it's even getting close to be able to prepare adequately for Summer programs. I can't arrange for venues, support personnel, auxiliary equipment, etc., until I know I'm going to have the computers and everything else early enough to be able to execute the plans.

My class sizes range from 21 to 35 across 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, and almost none of all of those students has had any significant education in computing principles due to unqualified previous teachers and outdated standards that were over 10 years old. Even seniors who are in their third year of taking computing electives in programming, networking, or web site development have much in the way of demonstrable skills with things like basic code and data structures (if-then-else, case/switch, loops, types, arrays, linked lists, hashes, etc.), IP address, DNS, and subnet configuration, form and table layout, web site uploading, cgi-bin processing, etc. One reason is that IT departments refuse to allow any software development tools such as compilers, assemblers, linkers, etc., to be installed on any district computer, whether it's on a network or not, for fear that they will be used to hack systems or networks.

They also try to ignore the existence of anything beyond Microsoft products on the theory that if students don't know Windows they won't be able to get a job - yeah, that's how bad it is. When I asked them what the vast majority of web servers run, almost none were aware that it's Apache in various forms, they're ignorant of any cgi-bin technology other than .ASP, .NET, Razor, etc., they don't know there are binary-compatible alternatives to MS Office (e.g., Libre Office), they have no idea how mobile devices interact with Cloud resources (e.g., how voice systems such as Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Alexa, etc., send digitized voice snippets off-board for text generation and searching), and so forth. I even have trouble convincing principals and teachers that non-geek students need to participate in events such as Hour of Code - they think even that's too hard for any students other than those who already know how to develop software (frankly, you can smell the fear because they have no idea how computing really works). Lots of administrators want to be able to say that they want robust STEM programs, including computing, but they almost exclusively have humanities and arts degrees, and teaching experience (usually in the distant past, at that).

To get around the software development tools prohibition, some schools, including community colleges, only teach pseudo code and students never actually get to build any real software! This is where the Pii can solve this huge problem, and since they don't generate x86 code, the typical issues with Windows security vulnerabilities don't exist (yes, there are rare non-WIndows cases such as the 12-year long OpenSSL gaff), but most administrators have no idea what that really means, and IT folks don't want to have anything to do with alternatives to "the de facto standard". I've helped start a CyberPatriot competitive computing security team and I'm working with our school's Engineering Academy to expand the software components of our school's competitive robotics team, which are Java, C++, or LabVIEW based. Both of these teams can use Pii to learn computing principles and apply them to real-world challenges.

If it's not clear, I don't intend to try to provide a Zero to every student in the district overnight or even within the next year or so, I made it clear that's a longer-term goal. However, if I don't get the pilot project started now, it will be another year before the next opportunity as I have other fish to fry later this year and early in the next academic year. It seems like we're seeing history from four years ago repeating itself where boards are just tossed into the air and there's a naive expectation that they're going to somehow magically wind up in the hands of deserving students instead of what happened with the Original Flavor Model Bs. It's particularly disappointing because the Pi 2B exists that's more appropriate to what the average person is going to want to do with it.

Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're a grizzled old school marm with kids on your lawn ... :roll:
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close! :D
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!

User avatar
alexeames
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2869
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:12 pm

stderr wrote:
Heater wrote:Hippy,
That's why you need people who know how to market research properly.
Perhaps getting the board designed and running few thousand through the production line is cheaper than getting that market research done..
They could just allow presales which would tell them exactly how many people want to buy the things.
Haha - very funny. :lol:

I can tell you for sure that they are NOT going to do that.
Alex Eames RasPi.TV, RasP.iO

ciw1973
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:12 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:32 pm

I know there's a licensing fee on top of the additional hardware costs, but surely a version of the Zero with Bluetooth would make a lot of sense.

Given the limited number of ports, being able to connect keyboards, mice, controllers, pairing with a mobile phone for Internet access etc. without a USB hub and all of the adapters/cabling would save a lot of messing around, especially once the board was "deployed". For development purposes, keeping it all tidy is much less of a concern.

You can pick up (almost certainly unlicensed) Bluetooth USB dongles from China for under £1 shipped, but add a cheap micro-USB to USB cable, and you've already added 50% to the basic board price, and more importantly it's a messy solution.

BMS Doug
Posts: 3824
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:42 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:57 pm

ciw1973 wrote:I know there's a licensing fee on top of the additional hardware costs, but surely a version of the Zero with Bluetooth would make a lot of sense.

Given the limited number of ports, being able to connect keyboards, mice, controllers, pairing with a mobile phone for Internet access etc. without a USB hub and all of the adapters/cabling would save a lot of messing around, especially once the board was "deployed". For development purposes, keeping it all tidy is much less of a concern.

You can pick up (almost certainly unlicensed) Bluetooth USB dongles from China for under £1 shipped, but add a cheap micro-USB to USB cable, and you've already added 50% to the basic board price, and more importantly it's a messy solution.
Add a bluetooth module by SPI or UART?
Doug.
Building Management Systems Engineer.

Woll
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:14 am
Location: Cloud Cuckoo Land

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:09 pm

No one's posted about Lemon Pi or Roseapple Pi since the launch of the Pi Zero.
Who ate all the Pi's? Who ate all the Pi's?
Boris Johnson, Boris Johnson,
Who ate all the Pi's?

ciw1973
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:12 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:10 pm

BMS Doug wrote:
ciw1973 wrote:I know there's a licensing fee on top of the additional hardware costs, but surely a version of the Zero with Bluetooth would make a lot of sense.

Given the limited number of ports, being able to connect keyboards, mice, controllers, pairing with a mobile phone for Internet access etc. without a USB hub and all of the adapters/cabling would save a lot of messing around, especially once the board was "deployed". For development purposes, keeping it all tidy is much less of a concern.

You can pick up (almost certainly unlicensed) Bluetooth USB dongles from China for under £1 shipped, but add a cheap micro-USB to USB cable, and you've already added 50% to the basic board price, and more importantly it's a messy solution.
Add a bluetooth module by SPI or UART?
They're relatively expensive (compared to adding the components directly to the main board itself and mass producing it) and then of course you need to solder in the header, mount, and you're really going to need a case to keep it all securely together. I'm suggesting a version of the Zero with Bluetooth on-board to keep things low cost, neat, tidy and convenient for many non-development use-cases.

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:39 pm

ciw1973 wrote:I know there's a licensing fee on top of the additional hardware costs, but surely a version of the Zero with Bluetooth would make a lot of sense.
Glue an ESP8266 on for wifi and an instant on low end SoC, add a couple of gig of jumper selectable to write flash with support for boot on the network, local boot or a mixture. Then the whole computer is on the board and it boots from some central location that you can keep updated.

The other thing would be to add in support for a wider range of input voltages to power the pi. This would mean you could run DC from a decent distance without worrying so much about voltage drop or maybe even being wedded to using dodgy wall warts at all. Keep the price tag at $5, of course.

User avatar
alexeames
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2869
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:02 pm

stderr wrote:
ciw1973 wrote:I know there's a licensing fee on top of the additional hardware costs, but surely a version of the Zero with Bluetooth would make a lot of sense.
Glue an ESP8266 on for wifi and an instant on low end SoC, add a couple of gig of jumper selectable to write flash with support for boot on the network, local boot or a mixture. Then the whole computer is on the board and it boots from some central location that you can keep updated.

The other thing would be to add in support for a wider range of input voltages to power the pi. This would mean you could run DC from a decent distance without worrying so much about voltage drop or maybe even being wedded to using dodgy wall warts at all. Keep the price tag at $5, of course.
These are all things that you're going to have to do yourself. The Zero is about low cost. Nothing will be added to it that increases the cost. :lol:
Alex Eames RasPi.TV, RasP.iO

SonOfAMotherlessGoat
Posts: 690
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:01 am

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:46 pm

Woll wrote:No one's posted about Lemon Pi or Roseapple Pi since the launch of the Pi Zero.
OrangePi is coming out with their Zero clone already...
Account Inactive

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:50 pm

SonOfAMotherlessGoat wrote:
Woll wrote:No one's posted about Lemon Pi or Roseapple Pi since the launch of the Pi Zero.
OrangePi is coming out with their Zero clone already...
At $5?

User avatar
rpdom
Posts: 15609
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:58 pm

stderr wrote:
SonOfAMotherlessGoat wrote:
Woll wrote:No one's posted about Lemon Pi or Roseapple Pi since the launch of the Pi Zero.
OrangePi is coming out with their Zero clone already...
At $5?
From what I can make out, their cheapest versions will be $10 and $12 if/when they come out.

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:03 am

Glue an ESP8266 on for wifi and an instant on low end SoC, add a couple of gig of jumper selectable to write flash with support for boot on the network, local boot or a mixture. Then the whole computer is on the board and it boots from some central location that you can keep updated.

The other thing would be to add in support for a wider range of input voltages to power the pi. This would mean you could run DC from a decent distance without worrying so much about voltage drop or maybe even being wedded to using dodgy wall warts at all. Keep the price tag at $5, of course.
alexeames wrote:These are all things that you're going to have to do yourself. The Zero is about low cost. Nothing will be added to it that increases the cost. :lol:
Gosh, I said they didn't have to raise the price. They could call it the Pi Zero +.

But anyway, would the real price to build a system be higher in the configuration I proposed than it would be now? Maybe a little with the power choices added but otherwise, you've pretty much got to have some connection to the internet somehow, you've got to have something to boot from, this would just make that part of the system. Even a case would be designed to essentially hold the entire system without a bunch of straggly bits to break off.

But I'm not minimising the feat of the Pi Zero itself, if it gets to be really available that would really change the game. And someone is going to think about including it all on the board since by doing so they might be able to get a bit more profit.
Last edited by alexeames on Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edit to fix broken quote tags misattributing a quote

stderr
Posts: 2178
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:05 am

rpdom wrote:
stderr wrote:At $5?
From what I can make out, their cheapest versions will be $10 and $12 if/when they come out.
That's not really a Pi Zero killer if it just has the same features. At $10 to $12 with the feature set I was going on about in my other posts, it would have to be considered.

SonOfAMotherlessGoat
Posts: 690
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:01 am

Re: Pi Zero Availability

Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:18 am

stderr wrote:
rpdom wrote:
stderr wrote:At $5?
From what I can make out, their cheapest versions will be $10 and $12 if/when they come out.
That's not really a Pi Zero killer if it just has the same features. At $10 to $12 with the feature set I was going on about in my other posts, it would have to be considered.
$9 - Full size USB, MicroUSB, HDMI, CSI, populated GPIO, TF Card. Ethernet, 512MB Ram, H3 SoC.
$12 Gets an additional USB port and onboard WiFi.

Now, as an owner of an Orange Pi, I have to say the support stinks, the community is fragmented and getting things to work is next to Herculean. (No current mainline kernel support...)
Account Inactive

Return to “General discussion”