Raspberry Pi has temporarily put the price of its fourth generation single board computer back up as a result of the chip shortages, with an apology from the founder for shortages through 2022 and allocation of boards using older 40nm silicon.
The price increase is on the 2GByte version of the Raspberry Pi 4, which was reduced from $45 to $35 last year. The price will go back up to $45 as a result of chip shortages, he said. Higher demand has also reduced the general availability of older boards based on 40nm silicon.
“Global supply chains are in a state of flux as we hopefully emerge from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ebon Upton, CEO and founder of Raspberry Pi. “In our own industry, semiconductors are in high demand, and in short supply: the upsurge of demand for electronic products for home working and entertainment during the pandemic has descended into panic buying, as companies try to secure the components that they need to build their products."
“Our own commercial team, our licensees, and our partners at Sony have done a great job keeping components coming in the door and products going out,” he said. “Despite significantly increased demand, we’ll only end up making around seven million units in 2021: pretty much exactly what we did in 2020. The result has been a shortage of some products, notably Raspberry Pi Zero and the 2GB variant of Raspberry Pi 4.”
At the same time he is suggesting users of the older boards migrate to the Raspberry Pi 4 which uses a quad-core processor from Broadcom built on a 28nm silicon process.
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“We’re now expecting our supply chain challenges to continue through much of 2022. These challenges will fall most heavily on our older products, built on 40nm silicon: in practice, anything that isn’t a Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400, or Compute Module 4. With this in mind, we’re making several changes to help our customers, many of whom are buying Raspberry Pis to power their businesses, navigate the next twelve months."
“None of these are palatable decisions,” he said. “In the entire history of Raspberry Pi, we have never increased the price of a product, and have often been able to reduce prices between, and sometimes within, generations.
“In February last year, we announced that we were discontinuing the 1GB variant of Raspberry Pi 4, and moving the 2GB product to our signature price of $35. Unfortunately, cost increases caused by the current shortage mean that this product is not currently economically viable at this reduced price point. We are therefore moving it back to $45 on a temporary basis,” he said.
This a key issue for industrial customers, where the product is the leading single board computer.
“To support the many industrial customers who have designed the 2GB variant of Raspberry Pi 4 into their products, we are reintroducing the 1GB variant at the $35 price point. This provides a degree of choice: less memory at the same price; or the same memory at a higher price.”
“In allocating our limited stocks of 40nm silicon, we will prioritise Compute Module 3, Compute Module 3+, and Raspberry Pi 3B, and deprioritise Raspberry Pi 3B+,” said Upton. “Users of Compute Modules will of course have made investments in carrier board designs and inventory. Raspberry Pi 3B has a single-band radio, without a shield can; many industrial users will have made significant investments in compliance testing. In contrast, Raspberry Pi 3B+ uses the same wireless chipset as Raspberry Pi 4, with the same FCC modular certification; we expect this similarity to translate into a lower migration cost," he said ."Our guidance to industrial and embedded users of Raspberry Pi 3B+ who wish to optimise availability in 2022 is to begin migrating your designs to the 1GB variant of Raspberry Pi 4.”
“Long-term availability of our products, from stock, is a core part of our value proposition to industrial customers and the good news is that we’ve been able to hold the line on pricing for all but one of our products. We expect to have enough 28nm silicon over the next twelve months to support both our existing Raspberry Pi 4 and Compute Module 4 customers, and customers migrating from Raspberry Pi 3B+ and we see early signs that the supply chain situation is starting to ease,” he said.
“These changes in pricing are not here to stay. As global supply chain issues moderate, we’ll keep revisiting this issue, and we want to get pricing back to where it was as fast as we can.”
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