Sortland
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Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:52 pm

Hi,

are there any official statements regarding the long term availability of the Pi Zero?

To explain my question: Since it is very small and cheap I'm thinking about an application which could make use of a lot of these devices. But I wonder how long I could go with this project - would it still be possible in 5..10 years?

Just as example: For the BeagleBone Black (nothing I would technically compare with the Pi Zero) TI states an availability of the SoC of at least 9 years. CircuitCo states the same for availability of the BBB. So a similar, official statement for the Pi Zero would be really cool.

Thanks!

Heater
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:09 pm

As Liz said "We will keep making them as long as people keep buying them". Or words to that effect.

I don't think we can expect a charitable foundation to commit to supplying a product for X number of years. They do what they can as and when they can.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:18 pm

Sortland wrote:Hi,

are there any official statements regarding the long term availability of the Pi Zero?

To explain my question: Since it is very small and cheap I'm thinking about an application which could make use of a lot of these devices. But I wonder how long I could go with this project - would it still be possible in 5..10 years?

Just as example: For the BeagleBone Black (nothing I would technically compare with the Pi Zero) TI states an availability of the SoC of at least 9 years. CircuitCo states the same for availability of the BBB. So a similar, official statement for the Pi Zero would be really cool.

Thanks!
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:24 pm

Sortland wrote:Hi,

are there any official statements regarding the long term availability of the Pi Zero?

To explain my question: Since it is very small and cheap I'm thinking about an application which could make use of a lot of these devices. But I wonder how long I could go with this project - would it still be possible in 5..10 years?

Just as example: For the BeagleBone Black (nothing I would technically compare with the Pi Zero) TI states an availability of the SoC of at least 9 years. CircuitCo states the same for availability of the BBB. So a similar, official statement for the Pi Zero would be really cool.

Thanks!
One thing to consider is that although the Zero itself may go out of production (if it does), it's likely to be replaced by something that is upward compatible. ie same size, similar price, but better performance. This is a side effect of the silicon getting cheaper.
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:54 pm

Three thoughts:

1) The Pi Foundation is a charity with educational aims. They will not incur much (any?) extra costs just to enable manufacturers to use a super-low-cost product with risk transferred to the Foundation. By all means use the Pi0 in a product, but accept that your trade-off for a low-cost system is that availability is not guaranteed.

2) For any given product (and I'm not referring to any specific example), what is the guarantee worth? If there is a single manufacturer, they may intend to keep the product in manufacture, but stuff happens: financial woes, better rival products, factory disasters, etc, etc, etc. Are you confident that any product you select really will be available in three, five, ten years? If it is "guaranteed" to be available for ten years, what can you do about it if it disappears in five years? Your only real security is to buy the stock you need to guarantee your product before you launch (or find a broker who guarantees to hold stock for you -- at a cost :)).

3) For that matter, will your customers really want to buy your current product as new in ten years time? Could you guarantee to the Foundation that you will be buying Pi0s over that period of time? If not, why should anyone give you a guarantee of component availability?
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:03 pm

I think it is worth noting that, when the Pi Camera sensor was discontinued, the RPF bought up as much stock as they could so that the current design could be kept in production for another 2 to 3 years, giving them time to find a new sensor, develop (and get certified!) a new module to replace it. And one may surmise that there will be improvements when the new camera modules appear (I'm hoping it will have a proper lens mount, or--at least--a designed in way to attach one).

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:06 pm

I have no idea what the product concept is here but often the question is not "Can I still sell this exact same thing in five or ten years time" but rather "Can I support an installed user base in five or ten years time". An awful lot of embedded systems are expected to have a long life and long term support. If you can't offer that you can't make sales now.

My take on this is to design your own "magic sauce" hard ware and software but arrange for flexibility in the actual compute engine.

Linux will certainly be around for the long haul so that is the long term software support taken care of.

You are responsible for your own hardware, so that is that taken care of.

Just be prepared to swap out the compute engine if need be. For sure there will be boards around with the capabilities of the Zero on five or ten years, Even if they are not from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. They will be cheap.

On the other hand, if the idea is to design it once and sell it forever without making any changes, then forget it.
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:08 pm

To heck with long-term availability, I'd like to see some short-term availability, as in being able to buy _any_ quantity, even just one, today or maybe this week! Liz said that as long as we keep buying them, they'll keep making them ... and we're not buying them because they're not making enough of them, so I'm expecting production to cease at any moment due to lack of massive sales. If only there were a phrase for that ... oh, yeah, it's "Ye Olde Viciouse Circle"! :lol:
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:19 pm

Jim,
To heck with long-term availability, I'd like to see some short-term availability...
Ha, good point.

Anyone planning a product around the Pi Zero is seriously optimistic.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:31 pm

Jim Manley wrote:To heck with long-term availability, I'd like to see some short-term availability, as in being able to buy _any_ quantity, even just one, today or maybe this week! Liz said
Part of the problem is that distributors apparently still haven't gotten a clear message from the pi people:

What MCM is saying currently:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/content/e ... yword=zero
#
It looks like you were looking for the Raspberry Pi Zero. Unfortunately, we sold out of our allotment, and are unsure when/if more will be available. Check out other available options below, including the more powerful Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
#

The question is why are they using the word "if" if it has been made clear that the supply is only temporarily constrained?

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:54 pm

Well, how can they be sure? The whole deal is out of their hands. "when/if" sounds quite reasonable to me. How could I promise to supply you a thing that I don't have and have no control over?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:02 pm

stderr wrote:
Jim Manley wrote:To heck with long-term availability, I'd like to see some short-term availability, as in being able to buy _any_ quantity, even just one, today or maybe this week! Liz said
Part of the problem is that distributors apparently still haven't gotten a clear message from the pi people:

What MCM is saying currently:
http://www.mcmelectronics.com/content/e ... yword=zero
#
It looks like you were looking for the Raspberry Pi Zero. Unfortunately, we sold out of our allotment, and are unsure when/if more will be available. Check out other available options below, including the more powerful Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
#

The question is why are they using the word "if" if it has been made clear that the supply is only temporarily constrained?
Compare to what Ameridroid is saying....
http://ameridroid.com/products/raspberry-pi-zero
#
Get your order in now for earliest availability!
OUT OF STOCK - Availability estimated to be Feb 2016.
Please note that orders containing this item will be held until the entire order is ready to ship.
#

Much more "forward looking" and much more indicative that they ARE planning to get Pi0s...when they can.

Heater
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:08 pm

Ameridroid?

Never heard of that bunch of cowboys before.
"Please note that orders containing this item will be held until the entire order is ready to ship."
Meh, costs them nothing to say so. Note that "until" could well mean a very, very long time, including never.
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liz
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:46 pm

MCM and other organisations owned by Farnell and RS aren't going to be getting stock in the foreseeable, because they weren't happy with the margin structure; we've discussed this before. The main US stockists are Adafruit and Microcenter. If you're waiting on MCM to get stock, it's probably best to cancel your order and go elsewhere.
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:24 pm

Heater wrote:Ameridroid?

Never heard of that bunch of cowboys before.
I heard about "that bunch of cowboys" when I got an Odroid-C1 to test (you may recall my remarks about it). Ameridroid is the US agent for Hardkernel boards. They have branched out to other boards as well. They list the Pi2B for $34.95...very slightly *under* list. While I haven't been up that way in some years, they are located in Ukiah, which is about 120 miles north of where I live. As a result, shipping is quick, at least for me, as compared to Adafruit (NYC), MCM (Ohio), and other places one can get most Pi things.

And (referencing Liz' comment)...MicroCenter is all very well, but the "order it for in-store pickup" doesn't work for me, as the nearest store is in the Los Angeles area (about 400 miles south. That would be worse than someone in London ordering a board to be picked up in Glasgow.. Now if Central Computer could be added to the sales channel, that would be a big help (Central does carry other Pi boards for fairly modest markups for a company outside the official channels. They charge $38 for a Pi2B, which makes it cheaper than--say--MCM if you only want one and have to pay shipping.)

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:26 pm

Heater wrote:Well, how can they be sure? The whole deal is out of their hands. "when/if" sounds quite reasonable to me. How could I promise to supply you a thing that I don't have and have no control over?
My point is that the distribution should know what is going on. When/if isn't the terminology they used with the original pi, at least I don't think they did. Somehow they had concluded that there would be more. Certainly the statements of the pi people should carry more weight now that they are basically the driving force in low cost SBCs than they did back then. Yet we still have this ambiguity which would seem to simply confusing the situation and any making anyone trying to commit to going forward less sure.

If it were me, I'd have someone contact MCM and tell them that as before the demand is overwhelming but they are doing what they can to ramp things up. But that there will be more product in the coming months.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:32 pm

liz wrote:MCM and other organisations owned by Farnell and RS aren't going to be getting stock in the foreseeable, because they weren't happy with the margin structure;
If this is really a problem, which it certainly could be at a $5 price point, then I wouldn't have a problem with requiring a purchase of ten pi zero at a time. Of course with the numbers that are available now, that would be impossible.
we've discussed this before. The main US stockists are Adafruit and Microcenter. If you're waiting on MCM to get stock, it's probably best to cancel your order and go elsewhere.
The reason that I buy these sorts of things from MCM is because they pay freight. FOB My Front Step is a lot better than people using shipping to make their profits.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:47 pm

stderr wrote:
Heater wrote:Well, how can they be sure? The whole deal is out of their hands. "when/if" sounds quite reasonable to me. How could I promise to supply you a thing that I don't have and have no control over?
My point is that the distribution should know what is going on. When/if isn't the terminology they used with the original pi, at least I don't think they did. Somehow they had concluded that there would be more. Certainly the statements of the pi people should carry more weight now that they are basically the driving force in low cost SBCs than they did back then. Yet we still have this ambiguity which would seem to simply confusing the situation and any making anyone trying to commit to going forward less sure.

If it were me, I'd have someone contact MCM and tell them that as before the demand is overwhelming but they are doing what they can to ramp things up. But that there will be more product in the coming months.
It is entirely possible, given what Liz has said, that their "if" is if Farnell is willing to get their hands on some and pass them down the line. There might be a decision that, because the don't like the margins involved, they simply won't carry the item, though they'd probably better get enough, somehow, to fill orders that they've accepted (or, failing that, actively notify people of any orders they cancel).

I will say--cautiously at the moment, that a very recent interaction with MCM has shown them to have (at least in my case) *very* good customer relations. They have stepped up, promptly and courteously, taken care of an order problem on their end.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:48 pm

stderr wrote: The reason that I buy these sorts of things from MCM is because they pay freight. FOB My Front Step is a lot better than people using shipping to make their profits.
Heh... If you buy at least $200 worth of stuff at a time (or there is a sale with "free" shipping at so lower amount).

stderr
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:12 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
stderr wrote: The reason that I buy these sorts of things from MCM is because they pay freight. FOB My Front Step is a lot better than people using shipping to make their profits.
Heh... If you buy at least $200 worth of stuff at a time (or there is a sale with "free" shipping at so lower amount).
It would be better if it was something like $100 and free shipping but I've managed to deal with the $200 amount. Of course with the $5 pi, that would be harder to get to. Amazon certainly steals a lot of business at free shipping with $35 orders, but Amazon doesn't sell pi, for example, at the suggested price.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:26 am

stderr wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote:
stderr wrote: The reason that I buy these sorts of things from MCM is because they pay freight. FOB My Front Step is a lot better than people using shipping to make their profits.
Heh... If you buy at least $200 worth of stuff at a time (or there is a sale with "free" shipping at so lower amount).
It would be better if it was something like $100 and free shipping but I've managed to deal with the $200 amount. Of course with the $5 pi, that would be harder to get to. Amazon certainly steals a lot of business at free shipping with $35 orders, but Amazon doesn't sell pi, for example, at the suggested price.
There was a "sale" a few weeks ago where MCM offered free shipping on orders of at least $40 and I seem to recall having seen them do free shipping on all orders from time to time.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:26 am

liz wrote:MCM and other organisations owned by Farnell and RS aren't going to be getting stock in the foreseeable, because they weren't happy with the margin structure.
Though if you were to look up the Zero on the Raspberry Pi Shop via the raspberrypi.org website, the page does declare a very large "Buy from our distributors" icon link for RS and Element 14, with the Swag Store apparently in second place below.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:13 pm

As a note: I am in Costa Rica, so it is not an option for me to pickup devices in particular stores. And also, I am developing very serious enterprise level systems on Raspberry Pi devices (for me the RPI is a good machine, it is not a toy).

http://www.microcenter.com/product/4577 ... ment_Board

AVAILABLE FOR IN-STORE PICKUP ONLY.

https://www.adafruit.com/products/2885

OUT OF STOCK
Only available in "combos" ...

MCM ... I won't think on them, had many troubles in the past with the Raspberry Pi 2.
Element14 ... SOLD OUT
Newark ... 0 Results ... No Zero
Amazon ... only the cases (for what without the board?)

So. Even so bright idea and implementation, by now and until the distribution of the product becomes viable, the Zero is not a real option.

Take into consideration that this is a $5 that is making a road for not currently well understood usages. This is not the $35 machine neither a $500 PC. With a $5 it is possible to build things (for example, distributed systems) having hundreds of machines. So, this needs to acquire more aggressive distribution channels and options to be a viable option for real projects and not only for particular enterprises made with one or two devices where the $35 RPI2 is a better option.

By now, I will desist on the Zero and will focus on the RPI2.

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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:03 pm

Regarding margins, I think distributors would be much happier if they priced as follows:

1-9 Rpi Zero $6/ea

10+ Rpi Zero $5/ea
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Re: Raspberry Pi Zero long term availability?

Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:13 pm

mikronauts wrote:Regarding margins, I think distributors would be much happier if they priced as follows:

1-9 Rpi Zero $6/ea

10+ Rpi Zero $5/ea
If the margin is too thin on one board, buying more boards isn't going to change that.

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