Western Digital is shutting down its WDLabs division, which is responsible for selling hard drive kits intended for use with the Raspberry Pi line of products, as well as other single-board computers.
We first reported on the news last month, but WD has yet to release a public statement on the matter. Now our anonymous source has forwarded us an email Western Digital sent recently to its retail partners, confirming that WDLabs is being discontinued as part of a corporate restructuring initiative.
The good news is that it looks like Western Digital does plan to continue offering support for customers who purchased a PiDrive or other WDLabs product. The bad news is that sales will be winding down and some of the key people behind the project are being laid off.
Western Digital will continue selling WDLabs products through its online store until the company runs out of inventory. Retail partners can either opt to continue selling any products they still have on hand or return them to Western Digital.
Customers, meanwhile, can continue to get official support from support.wdc.com or access the user forum at community.wd.com/c/wdlabs.
The WDLabs website will stay online for a while… but it sounds like the company will probably take that down eventually.
There are other ways to connect a hard drive to a Raspberry Pi. But you’ll probably need a powered USB hub since the low-power computer doesn’t sent enough power for most hard drives through its USB ports.
RiPi is small fry for these giants, and I always suspected this would be more of a goodwill for fans/marketing.
The Pi team should look into making their next models tailored to powering 2.5″ HDD.
SD/microSD cards are good, but they offer less storage for higher cost.
Perhaps SSD prices will plummet in 2018, as expected, as the big HDD giants move into that territory out from focusing on spinners.
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