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.
Can I still buy a Raspberry PI today?
Even if you are lucky enough to find a listing of PIs technology, you will be paying a much higher price tag. 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 is one of those that had to have a temporary price increase from $35 to $45. An unfortunate move, but one that Raspberry PI needed as this version was just not financially viable at $35 due to the 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.
Specifically, the 40nm silicon is causing severe problems, so they have concentrated the valuable supplies for use with the Compute module3+ and raspberry PI 3 models.
The light at the end of the Tunnel
Ben summarizes his blog post by saying throughout the history of Raspberry pi, they have never had to increase prices until these extraordinary times and only one product.
The availability of the 28nm semiconductors means they should maintain a healthy stock of Raspberry PI 4 products, including the compute 4 modules.
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.