Limited PiZero Production

Now, although someone who knows the true situation might be able to negate this post, since no-one with any true knowledge is allowed or willing to speak out let just assume that Occam’s Razor applies.

  1. PiZero made following a conversation between Eben and Eric Schmidt – makes Eben think to produced the lowest priced possible Pi – Pi Zero was the result
  2. Retail price point is set too low.
  3. No big firm (e.g Farnell/RS) wanted to make it or sell it so Foundation had to finance and deal direct with Sony factory.
  4. Product “offered” to just 2 UK retailers with proviso that only 1/customer.
  5. The two retailers sell some of their stock at $5 but the rest it can only be bought as part of a bundle (in order to make profits for them as PiZero at $5 is  zero profit)
  6. The un-realistic $5 price means that PiZero becomes the most VFM Pi/SBC/IoT device on the planet by a large margin and LOTS of people wants to buy a bundle of them.
  7. Various statements leave us with understanding that its taking 2nd fiddle to other Pi production and even in the best scenario it only might make it to 50k/month production in medium term.
  8. Considering many big outfits already buy other Pi versions in quantity it is very hard to imagine that demand for the PiZero will not eclipse any previous sales figures.
  9. The current retail distribution model is broken and those of us wanting many PiZero would like it changing.
  10. Most people think that a price increase is the easiest method of improving things in short term until scale of production increases margins.
  11. We are not experts in sales but something along the lines of doubling retail price to $10 and let other UK retailers in would seem a way forward.
  12. Raspberry Pi could take a cut of the increased price and so could the retailers #WinWin
  13. I don’t know how demand would fall back at doubling the $5 to $10 but since the PiZero has a form factor advantage over the Model A+, that would still make it a good proposition for many people.
  14. For people like myself in primary schools, it would still be good value as a PiZero system would still be <£14 inc VAT – less than half the price of a (much more powerful of course) Pi 3.

Obviously, Raspberry Pi don’t listen to me but maybe they’ll listen to people who listen to me and do something to help all Pi stakeholders 🙂


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7 Responses

  1. Trevor B says:

    Many of your points are incorrect assumptions or just plain wrong.

    There’s a very good reason they apparently don’t listen to you (clue: you don’t understand enough about how the industry works or the topic on which you’re commentating).

    How you can think that listing a dozen or so assumptions / guesses / rookie and misguided comments makes you an expert worth listening to is further proof of why no-one actually does listen to you.

    • cymplecy says:

      Are you able to state (from a position of actual knowledge) which points are just plain wrong?

      Or are you comments just your opinion with as little understanding of industry as I have?

      Do you not think a price increase would be a win-win for every stakeholder?

      Do know I had a chat with one of the Foundation trustees at Pi Party and he listened to my concerns?

      And we are having a follow up meeting in April?


  2. Mike Redrobe says:

    Should also mention that the RPF/RPT have to finance production themselves in advance for the zero – and they don’t have as deep pockets as farnell.

    It’s a pity they have/had a great scaleable system already with rs/farnell – using that would solve all current availability – even with a price increase (up to $10) really wouldn’t harm much.

    Still having no UK stock for weeks, and still 1 per customer after 4 months is silly.

  3. Dave Thetford says:

    You misunderstand Occam’s Razor– it’s about NOT making stuff up and NOT positing complex explanations without evidence. Which is the complete oppostite to what you’ve done here. You may have a point here, or not, but invoking concepts that you don’t understand completely undermines the whole piece.

    • cymplecy says:

      My understanding of Occam’s Razor is that the simplest explanation is likely to be the correct one.

      I was applying the concept to basically give the Foundation the chance to admit to a(nother) simple cock-up by people who don’t understand their relationship with their stakeholders
      rather than a grand master plan by a bunch of evil dictators.

      Events since this piece was have basically shown that Occam’s Razor doesn’t apply 🙁
      (although I believe a lot of the assertions I made are 99% liable to be true)

      There are some control-freak people with large influence at Raspberry Pi who certainly don’t come to work to make friends – very reminiscent of another fruit based computer company!

      Unfortunately, we are in a Catch-22 🙂

      If these people left, it is thought they’d take their marbles with them and the game would be over so no-one is prepared to bring them to task 🙁

      Except me and no-one listens to me 🙂


  4. Graham Toal says:

    I’m pretty sure you’re right. Also if you look at the timing there was a kickstarter going on some months before the Pi Zero announcement for a device that was under $10 which was able to claim that it was the cheapest IoT board in the world, and I have always suspected that the $5 price for the basic Zero was a knee-jerk reaction to having some of the Raspberry Pi thunder be stolen by upstarts. All the excuses about production capacity etc that have been made over the years since it came out have been show to be false by virtue of the amount of time that has passed. (It’s still 1 per customer after 4 years) It’s clear the price was never sustainable and just a vanity decision, and folks are too embarrassed to admit they made a mistake. Soon the $5 model will be end-of-life and the problem will go away and never be repeated. What’s interesting is how Chinese vendors on eBay can sell unlimited quantities of zeroes as long as you pay grossly marked up prices. I would buy 50 Zero W’s today for a project I’m involved in at regular price if I could just get them. I’m sure the foundation is making a more acceptable profit on the W version, selling at double the price, which cannot possibly cost double to make.

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