Monday, March 6

Why the Raspberry Pi is not $5!

$5 Pi ( not really )

I read a lot about how lucky we are currently to be able to purchase a SBC (Single Board Computer) like the Raspberry Pi Zero for approximately $5.

Now the Raspberry Pi Foundation just released their new Raspberry Pi Zero W edition, which shows there is a lot of interest from hobbyists and electronic tinkers a like. Now they have raised the price of the Raspberry Pi Zero W to $10 due to the added hardware. That is not what I'm talking about here.

The Extras

Most times I read articles like this, the claim that the Raspberry Pi Zero is more expensive, is due to having to also purchase a power supply, and possibly a HDMI display cable to actually make it "usable" for the persons tasks. Again I will say, like most hardware, you can not blame the board for needing supporting equipment. When you buy a motherboard for your computer you do not grumble about also needing to purchase a processor, memory, power supply, case, hard drive, etc in order to turn that motherboard into a functional computer.

My Rant About Cost

The frustration I find is in HOW your are able to purchase the Raspberry Pi Zero, whichever model you choose. The Raspberry Pi Zero needs to be sourced from an online retailer in most circumstances.

Since the popularity of the original Raspberry Pi Zero, most online retailers, and even The Raspberry Pi Foundation themselves found the amount desired to be far above what they were able to provide. So at that time they, online retailers, instigated a plan of where you could only purchase a single Raspberry Pi Zero at a time. This allowed them to fairly distribute the little stock they had to as many people as possible, and I appreciated being able to acquire a few for my purposes.

Times have changed. It has now been over a year since the popularity of the Raspberry Pi started, and both online retailers, and The Raspberry Pi Foundation knows it is a success. Yet either the supply of Raspberry Pi Zeros are so low that the online retailers feel they still need to trickle out units on a single unit per order bases. Or, and I find this more likely, the online retailers are making so little profit, that they have chosen to keep up this practice in order to pigeon hole their customers into purchasing other items at the same time.

My Recent Experience

When I heard that there was a new version of the Raspberry Pi Zero available I quickly went in search of a way of acquiring one, or more. I was quite happy to find that now there was a online retailer selling them in my home country, and I would no longer require the wait of purchasing them from "across the pond".

To my dismay I found the practice of only letting me purchase a single Raspberry Pi Zero had raised the cost of the Raspberry Pi Zero from $6.25 to $19+ after shipping and handling. I was also unable to order a single Raspberry Pi Zero, and a single Raspberry Pi Zero W. I know twenty dollars is not a lot of money, and for the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi, quite reasonable. But, we are talking about the final cost for a Raspberry Pi Zero. This is still just the Raspberry Pi Zero, with no extras.

Now I could offset the shipping and handling costs by distributing the costs across multiple items purchased at the same time, but I only wished to purchase a Raspberry Pi Zero.

Why after this long of knowing how popular the Raspberry Pi Zero is, is there not more available? Why are we forced, if we want a Raspberry Pi Zero, to pay over double it's price in shipping and handling fees? Why can we not purchase more then one unit at a time?

At the time of this post, a Raspberry Pi Zero is not $5 for me, the actual cost to acquire a single Raspberry Pi Zero is almost $20.

Thanks for reading, have a great day ;)