In a recent interview with Micro Center, Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton, Upton has talked about the ongoing Raspberry Pi shortage. It looks like we are set for a further year of Raspberry Pi shortages, and between 60 and 70% of boards going into the industrial market. Many thanks to LeePSPVideo for bringing this story to our attention.
A decade since its launch, the Raspberry Pi is still an incredibly popular board. Sure it may not be as powerful as alternatives such as the Khadas VIM4, but what it has is an industry-leading GPIO standard, a vibrant ecosystem of first and third party accessories and most importantly an active community of enthusiasts who are clamouring for more Raspberry Pi. The problem is that those eager fans are not getting enough Pi.
In the video, Upton talks about the popularity of the Raspberry Pi from day one, back in 2012. Many of the enthusiasts virtually queuing up for a slice of Pi were not the target demographic of eager children, rather it was adults with a history of computing lining up for their Pi. Those adults Upton claims are “professional design engineers, the extent of which is that their hobbyist interest will bleed into industrial use of Raspberry Pi.”
Upton then states that “probably 60 to 70% of Raspberry Pi go into industrial rather than what we would call consumer enthusiast and education uses”. This leaves the consumer market with just a 30 to 40% share of Raspberry Pi stock. This means that while you can pick up a Raspberry Pi (in a kit or solo) you need to be quick. It doesn’t look like things will be changing any time soon either.
Later in the video, Upton is asked about the future and he states that “I think in one year, hopefully Raspberry Pi will have recovered from the lingering effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. Obviously we are living through a period of supply chain disruption which started in the late part of 2020, early 2021 that has affected our ability to supply Raspberry Pis.” Upton then claims that it has “disproportionality affected our ability to supply Raspberry Pis to consumers.” Later in the video Upton states that he hopes to rectify the situation “that’s not good for everybody.”
At around 5 minutes and 45 seconds, Upton talks about the Raspberry Pi Pico range of boards. The first Raspberry Pi Silicon boards, in other words they are powered by ASIC designed by Raspberry Pi, unlike the Raspberry Pi range which use Broadcom chips. Upton is hopeful that sometime in the future that there will be more boards made using its own silicon. How this will manifest itself is not clear, most likely would be a successor to the Raspberry Pi Pico but we wonder if there could be a future Raspberry Pi model B with a custom Pi chip on the horizon.
For now we are in a holding pattern, waiting for supply of Raspberry Pi to return to pre-pandemic levels of availability.