Raspberry Pi still hard to get as company can’t keep up with demand

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you know that chip shortages affect every facet of the tech industry. Whether you’re an international manufacturer or an avid parallel-creation maker, the chip shortage has hit your business. Raspberry Pi is not immune to this.

In the latest official update from April 2022, co-founder Eben Upton said “the current situation is as much a demand shock as it is a supply shock: demand for Raspberry Pi products has increased sharply from early 2021, and supply constraints prevented us from bending to meet this demand”.

In a recent livestream, venerable Raspberry Pi YouTuber Jeff Geerling talked about the current Raspberry Pi offering, and in short: there is no change. But we have a little more information on the situation. Long story short, according to Geerling, that won’t change this year.

Geerling contacted Upton to request an update on the situation. Upton’s response was that everything in the April 4, 2022 blog post still stands. There are still supply constraints. Raspberry Pi is unable to source the volume of components needed to produce Raspberry Pi in higher volumes.

Available supplies take priority for OEM/Industrial customers. The reasoning according to Upton is “not to let companies that rely on Raspberry Pi wither and die” and there are many companies that have integrated Raspberry Pi into their products.

Later in Geerling’s stream he states that Raspberry Pi “limits” retail stock for consumers (we reached out to Eben Upton for further comment), but we don’t have a clear indication of volumes, but Upton said via Geerling’s video that 400,000 Raspberry Pi, not Raspberry Pi Pico are produced every month. If you think the Raspberry Pi 5 is a factor in the problem, we are sorry to report that it is not. While we still don’t know if there is a working Pi 5 silicon, we do know, via Geerling, that there isn’t the capacity to produce more Raspberry Pis.

In an interesting move, a communication between Geerling and Upton suggests that if you’re an OEM or community member who has an absolute need for a Raspberry Pi, for example educational/scientific projects (not arcade cabinets or general projects, unfortunately) it is then possible to email the Raspberry Pi and make a business case. But as we say, if you use case is not critical, you won’t get Pi through this method.

At the end of the segment, Geerling reiterates a message from Raspberry Pi that there will be no updated provisioning blog post until there is something to say.
In conclusion, Geerling opines “I wish the Raspberry Pi would go back to prioritizing hobbyists and makers. That was the original intent, education, hobbyists and makers.” Geerling continues “a lot of the Raspberry Pi community is in the maker space and it’s hard to see those people having to choose alternatives.”

So where does this leave us? Consumers will still need to keep an eye on rpilocator for the latest stock levels and be prepared to snipe a Pi for MSRP. Failing that, eBay and Amazon are flooded with Raspberry Pis, if you’re willing to pay the scalping fees. If you’re branding a Pi, check out our article on setting up a Raspberry Pi for the first time or setting up a headless Pi.

You can also consider alternative panels. The Khadas VIM4 and the LattePanda 3 Delta are both attractive alternatives, but their cost is much higher. If you need the Raspberry Pi form factor, consider the Asus Tinkerboard 2S, but be aware of the gremlins there. If you need Raspberry Pi hardware and don’t need power, consider a Raspberry Pi Pico W. For $6, you get a GPIO, dual-core processor, and Wi-Fi connectivity. -Fi. Plenty of power for the majority of household projects.

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