How to resolve Pi Zero shortage & get distributors interested

Raspberry Pi Zero Review @ Mikronauts.com
Photo: power consumption from my Pi Zero Review

I’ve been having a lot of fun with the two Pi Zero’s I managed to get so far – so much so that I can hardly wait until I can get my hands on at least ten more.

Unfortunately production is definitely not keeping up with demand, and it will likely take a few months before it does.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation drastically under estimated the demand for the Pi Zero.

Resellers simply cannot keep them in stock – all “bare” $5 Pi Zero’s fly off the virtual shelves within minutes of new stock appearing, and kits in the $15-$30 range go pretty quickly as well.

Instead of being used as a super-cheap educational computer, the Raspberry Pi Zero is instead taking makers, hobbyists – and even commercial users – by storm.

Why?

  • educational users need (at a minimum): HDMI adapter cable, USB hub, and power source
  • maker/hobbyist/commercial users will often use it headless, not need a hub for a lot of applications, and have power available

So to use it as a small computer, it is actually more like $15-$20 for educational users.

Frankly, due to integration, fewer cables and full size connectors, educational users are far better off with a Raspberry Pi Model B+ for $25, or a Raspberry Pi 2 for $35.

The Raspberry Pi Zero really a $5 component for maker/hobbyist/commercial users.

Unfortunately some major distributors are not interested in carrying the Raspberry Pi Zero due to the very slim margin available at $5.

To get the distributors on board, I wish there was a “Pi Zero ten pack” for $50 (one sku, same handling as a single zero, more likely to be carried by the distributors)

A $10 Pi Zero kit with just the needed cables, no power supply, would also be more attractive to the big distributors.

I purchased two basic kits for $29.95 from Adafruit to get my initial Pi Zero’s, even though as you may suspect I have converter cables, SD cards, and power supplies coming out the ying-yang – and I don’t regret purchasing the kits, as it let me get a couple of units quickly.

But now, I want bare Zero’s… for the time being, I am using Raspberry Pi A+’s to test ideas I have for the Pi Zero – even though they are slower (without overclocking), half the memory, and twice the size.

I am hoping for is an A+ rev2.0 with 512MB for ~$10-$15, as that would be competitive with adding all the cables etc to a Zero, and would be useful for schools with extremely limited funds (read Africa etc)

Over time, I can see the Raspberry Pi line up become something like:

  • $5 Pi Zero
  • $15 Pi A+ (rev2, with 512MB)
  • $25 Pi B+
  • $35 Pi 2

Now that line up makes sense

How to increase distributor interest

  • A $10 Pi Zero kit with just the needed cables, no power supply, would not only fit the above proposed line up, but give more margin to distributors on single sales.
  • A “Pi Zero ten pack” for $50, one sku, same handling as a single zero, would be more likely to be carried by the distributors
  • Allowing distributors to raise the qty.1 price of a bare Pi Zero to $6 would also help

The original Raspberry Pi was a runaway success, and has spawned an entire industry of low cost SBC’s.

The Raspberry Pi Zero takes it to a whole new level – and basically turns a small, full Linux computer, into a component.

Love it!

 

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