Few who have tried to buy a Raspberry Pi in the last year may be shocked, but Raspberry Pi’s CEO has an update on the next Raspberry Pi model: it’s not arriving next year.
In an interview with ExplainingComputers, Eben Upton reviews the supply pressures that have impacted the single-board computers’ availability. Eighteen months into “restrained availability” of the device, Upton says the company is positioned to set aside hundreds of thousands of units for retail customers. He notes that the companies primarily taking up the existing supply of Pi units are not gigantic companies but “mom-and-pop operations” that have based their hardware products on the Pi platform and buy a few hundred Pis for their needs.
“We don’t want people to get on a waiting list,” Upton tells ExplainingComputuers. “We want people to wake up in the morning, want a Raspberry Pi, then get one at 9 am the next morning.”
Into the near future, however, that next-day Pi is likely to be a Pi 3A+, a Pi Zero 2 W, or, later and with some luck, a Pi 4. The Pi 5 is not in the cards any time soon.
“Don’t expect a Pi 5 next year… next year is a recovery year,” Upton said. “On the one hand, it’s kind of slowed us down. On the other hand, it slowed everything down. So there’s merit, I think, in spending a year before we look at introducing anything… spending a year recovering from what just happened to all of us.”
Introducing a Raspberry Pi 5 that couldn’t “ramp properly” to demand, or ate into the supply of other Pi devices, would be “a disaster,” Upton said. Not all shortages are chip-related, Upton notes. “Some of them are about packaging, some are about test capacity, some are about substrates.” Those processed, too, could be cannibalized by an all-new product, Upton said. “We’re going to be very ginger about how we look to move forward.”
You can hear Upton’s take on RISC-V possibilities, Pi pricing, industrial applications, and more at ExplainingComputers’ video interview.