Meanwhile, I just bought ten of these for $46.5:
Let's not kid ourselves. The Pi0 is not $5. It just pretends to be $5 for marketing.
Also check out this one. A wemos made in the shape of a Uno so you can use shields and everything for only $6.
I also designed a tiny breakout board that's pretty much the size of the ESP8266 12E plus some pins (https://github.com/skorokithakis/tiny-ESP8266-breakout), but it's just that, a breakout. I definitely prefer the WeMos for most things, nowadays.
Been meaning to have a go at rolling one of these myself using the mighty microchip MCP2221 instead.
I'm glad it's a CH340 - I've had no problems with those, unlike Prolific or (fake) FTDI devices.
No free shipping, but their ESP8266 modules don't come with free shipping either.
Non-starter. Doesn't even matter if its free if I can only get one. If its "the" pi zero on my bench it means it gets used much differently than if its "a" pi zero.
The point is, the Raspberry Pi Zero is $5 and stores sell them for that amount. There is more than one vendor out there. There's also a large demand and shortage of them.
So I was pointing out that you can find one for that price, even if not at quantity.
I can buy a nearly endless supply of $5 Zeros at my local Microcenter, so it's not all marketing. They are manufactured in-house and for various reasons haven't kept up with demand.
This sounds odd, I regularly see them going for $10+ on eBay. Why don't people just go to a Microcenter and get a few?
Not everyone is near a Microcenter, but there's an entire subreddit dedicated to people buying and shipping them out for people. Supposedly they don't make much if any money off it, mostly just covers gas+shipping+$5.
I don't mind paying for shipping, as the shipping isn't the computer.
I agree that they should be ramping up production to meet the demand there is. I also find given the educational angle that 1 per order is a quite fair way to go about distribuing them given the lack of supply.
The point on the delivered cost being the key is that many of the boards that would also be suitable for simple tasks like this are either free/very cheap shipping, or at the worst case you can amortize the $5-10 shipping charge across 10 units instead of 1.
What are you looking to do with them out of interest?
I just make weird things out of them. My latest one is an RC car that I was hoping could get some mapping software onto, and turn fully autonomous, although an ESP8266 talking to a laptop is acceptable (and what I'm currently doing).