Raspberry Pi has made a big name for itself over the past decade by selling small, cheap computers that were initially aimed at educators, students, and hobbyists. But Raspberry Pi hardware has pretty much become unobtanium over the past year or so due to a combination of supply chain constraints and a shift in priorities that has led to the company largely prioritizing big customers rather than the consumer market.
Now Raspberry Pi says the end of its hardware shortages is in sight. The company has allocated “a little over a hundred thousand units” that will be allocated for “single-unit sales” this holiday season. And by the second quarter of 2023, Raspberry Pi expects its hardware supply to be back to pre-pandemic levels. By the second half of 2023, the company says you should have no problem finding Raspberry Pi devices in stock at most of the stores that sell them.
While Raspberry Pi helped popularize the idea of cheap, single-board computers for makers and enthusiasts, there are a growing number of competitors in this space including companies such as Pine64, Radxa, FriendlyElec and the makers of the Banana Pi and Orange Pi boards, just to name a few.
What Raspberry Pi has long had going for it is a strong hardware and software ecosystem maintained both by the company itself and a wide community of hardware hackers and software developers.
But many of those developers have been unable to get their hands on Raspberry Pi hardware for quite some time. And while it’s good news that supply is expected to become available again, that good news comes at an interesting time for Raspberry Pi.
Last week the company became enmeshed in a public relations disaster of its own making – a representative for the company posted what was, at best, a poorly-worded message on social media site Mastodon without considering how it might be interpreted by the largely security & privacy-focused folks that hang out on Mastodon. And when people pushed back on those messages, Raspberry Pi’s social media folks did not handle their responses very well… which has led some Mastodon instances to defederate the Raspberry Pi server (basically making future messages from Raspberry Pi harder for Mastodon users to find).
Perhaps the fact that you’ll actually be able to buy Raspberry Pi devices again will be enough to appease some folks. But today’s announcement isn’t all good news – Raspberry Pi says that the rising prices of components have led it to increase the price of one of its cheaper single-board computers.
The Raspberry Pi Zero W is getting a 50% price hike from $10 to $15, while the Raspberry Pi Zero (without built-in wireless capabilities) is doubling in price, going from $5 to $10.