A Raspberry PI shortage? You could simply go and bake one; a tasty idea for sure. However, this will not help the millions waiting for Ben Epton to sell them all the Pis they want and need.

The most popular single-board computer in history is still in short supply. Suppose you have been following our series on the Global chip shortage and its more recent updates. You will know anything that uses Semiconductor chips is still suffering from short supply.

There are two sides to the Raspberry PI shortage, though. First, some hobbyists often have quite a few PIs computers in their collection but need more for their hardware-based projects and don’t want to dissemble those existing projects to re-purpose the Pis for new ones.

The other side of this coin is the numerous companies that survive by using Raspberry Pis in their products or writing software for the boards.

What Causes the Ongoing Raspberry PIs Shortage?

The reasons behind the Raspberry Pi stock difficulties are intricate and perplexing.

  1. The chip and semiconductor shortage that swept the globe fueled it. The COVID-19 pandemic stirred up a whirlwind of virus outbreaks, losses in employment opportunities, labor shortages, and even the US-China chip war, consequently beginning an unprecedented semiconductor shortage. With necessary electronic components in short supply, the production of Raspberry Pi has become even more difficult.
  2. The supply chain needs help to keep up with the overwhelming demand, resulting in disruption. The global economy has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant reductions in electronic labor and effectively disrupting every link along the worldwide supply chain. As the demand for Raspberry Pi continues to skyrocket, existing low-volume stocks can only satisfy some client orders. This has resulted in a massive disconnect between supply and demand that must be addressed immediately.
  3. Individual consumers may need help acquiring Raspberry Pi models because priority is being given to business and corporate customers. Our team is deeply aware of our decisions’ impact on those whose livelihoods depend on us.
  4. Regrettably, according to Upton, the supply is sufficient for those customers who need it; however, this seems like it could be better news for regular Pi product consumers wishing to assemble home projects. Notably, commercial and industrial clients get priority over ordinary customers when it comes down to Pi products.

Eben Upton says, Availability of Raspberry Pi stock will be 2023

On December 13th, 2022, Raspberry Pi’s CEO, Eben Upton released a blog post extolling the excellent news of product availability. Titled “Supply chain update – it’s good news!”, he proudly declared an allocation of around 100,000 units for consumers. The company has given precedence to its business customers, with a 100,000-unit offering of the “Zero W, 3A+ and the 2GB and 4GB variants of Raspberry Pi 4” designed especially for enthusiasts. By the third quarter of next year, we anticipate that our channel will restock to its average level with hundreds of thousands of units accessible all the time. Thanks to the chip allocations we have been given for this upcoming fiscal year! With our knowledge of the exact arrival dates, we can remain confident that our inventory will be plentiful. However, some items have yet to arrive in-store.

Unfortunately, there is no indication of recovery shortly. According to Eben Upton, the top executive of Raspberry Pi, although they are starting to recover from two years of “supply chain hell”, it’s unlikely that a new model or abundant supplies will be available anytime soon.

It’s been over three years since the arrival of Raspberry Pi 4, and yet there still needs to be news regarding Raspberry Pi 5. So why has progress on this stopped?

With absolute clarity, Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation has declared that no new version of their popular computer device will be available to consumers in 2023.

He highlighted that Raspberry Pi’s “supply chain nightmare” has been ongoing for a year and a half, yet the foundation does not intend to release their next model until current production runs dry.

Our CEO has warned us not to anticipate the release of a Pi 5 next year; it’ll be an entire year dedicated to recovery before we even consider introducing anything fresh. This is due to the drastically transformative period we have experienced as a company and deserve time for recovery, without any distractions.

Can I still buy a Raspberry PI today?

Even if you find a listing for PI’s technology, the price tag will likely be much higher. For example, the newer Raspberry PI 8 GB is available from the Raspberry PI foundation for $75.

Ben Epton  has posted several updates to this problem. One of the more recent ones has some promising news.

Supply issues still constrain them, but they prioritize OEM customers (with their products built around the PI). The main goal currently for the raspberry pi foundation is not to let businesses that rely on the machines die.

Also, they are setting aside some percentage of their inventory for sale to home enthusiasts (the exact number is not known)

They introduced a new process to ensure that OEMs are not scalping customers.

Are all Raspberry PI devices scarce?

The older models of the PI are those most heavily affected. However, these are also the cheaper price points and will work great for many projects. Some other models have bespoke deals too.

The 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 experienced a temporary price increase from $35 to $45. An unfortunate but necessary decision for Raspberry Pi, as this version wasn’t financially viable at $35 due to chip shortages and increased pricing.

At the same time, the PI foundation has been promoting the 1GB Raspberry PI 4 at the $35 price point.

It has the same CPU power, just less memory, but it may work very well for many projects.

Particularly, the 40nm silicon is causing significant issues. Therefore, they’ve prioritized its use for the Compute Module 3+ and Raspberry Pi 3 models.

The light at the end of the Tunnel

Ben’s blog concludes that, apart from one product, Raspberry Pi has never raised prices historically, even during exceptional times.

With 28nm semiconductors available, a strong inventory of Raspberry Pi 4 products, including compute 4 modules, should be maintained.

He is also hopeful that these price increases are too temporary. Adding that, they will be able to return prices back to their original levels as the global semiconductor issues subside. They stand by all their products and all the people who stuck with them. Who knows what the future could bring? With a Raspberry PI 5, you never know what’s around the corner.