Not only do they deliver, they are sold out in absolute record time with the sites simply collapsing under the load.
I'd chalk this one up as a success, definitely not a failure and I fully expect the second (and subsequent) runs of the RaspberryPi to have a similar effect. Kudos to Eben, Liz and the rest of the team, you guys really rock and I hope that you won't let the sourpusses ruin your fantastic day for you.
I've watched the RaspberryPi saga closely from day 1 and I'm very very happy to see it come to fruit ;)
Of course, Apple moves 250 iphones per minute all the time but there was absolutely no way that a small outfit like this could have anticipated and/or met this insane surge of demand. I sure hope it validates the concept to everybody that was still doubting and I hope that we'll soon be able to mark the 100K, 1M and up milestones of units sold.
We've come full circle, from a situations where small companies brought out their own computer only for (some of them) to grow into giants and seemingly eventually put building computers (as opposed to just assembling them) pretty much out of reach of hobbyists as complexity increased, to a point today where more and more small run systems seems to be appearing (though now because support services from manufacturing companies and design houses are getting within hobbyist reach).
RaspberryPi is on the "higher end" in this respect, both in specs and in number of units manufactured, but I find it really fascinating to see this trend in general.
(sidenote: That book is a bit of a tough read, but at the same time it's a very fascinating look at a company that had such a massive impact despite being so incredibly dysfunctional... I knew they had "issues" already when I was a kid and read the odd rumor, but I had no idea just how bad things were)
Sorry for the preachy tone (it's not intended), I am sure that most people feel the same way (or something similar), but it feels like we have lost some perspective while getting up at 6am to order some electronics over the internet. This is a great day. (I have a son and the Raspberry Pi feels like the most exciting project I have seen to date)
It may very well be used by students to code, but that will be a niche it falls into right behind becoming the cheapest desktop capable computer ever built that isn't locked down. This could very well start a revolution in portable desktop computers that are really cheap. I personally think it is an exciting device but let down by the narrow vision of its application.
They deserve criticism for getting the launch wrong. Until the hardware gets tested we don't know if that works. My fear is that the hardware shows the same lack of attention and it doesn't work very well. It needs to be called what it is, a potentially great product with a disastrously bad launch.
They got the product right and there was absolutely no way in hell that they could have done better than this at launch day. If they had sold 10 units I'm sure you would have had your criticism ready as well and to extrapolate from selling out in 10 minutes flat to 'fear that the hardware shows the same lack of attention and it doesn't work very well' is simply stupid.
If you want to criticize the RasberryPi folks then I suggest you show us all how you will do better. I'll be cheering you on, even if you sell out on day one.
Seriously, you send them a big box, and they mail out all the little boxes. Check it out: http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon....
Maybe they didn't go for the best option, but I always like to remind the US customers (who usually just don't honestly know about Amazon's restrictions) that buying electronics from them is a bad idea for the international market
I suspect the larger reason this hasn't been done yet is that it allows them to first take the orders and then scale the production run size to that.
1. Make people register with their e-mail adress.
2. Send order links with unique and expiring tokens in batches.
3. Process payments.
I'd imagine Amazon's services, whilst great, might cost more to use
"Returned unit is added to your inventory and designated "Unfulfillable." You can create a removal order to have the unit returned to you."
You can read more here:
Of course there is a cost to having Amazon handle everything, but I'd happily pay a little more for a board I could order through Amazon.
The TL;DR is that Amazon will take back units, and if they're marked as bad (presumably by the customer), Amazon holds on to them in their center, and can then ship them back to you.
It's basically exactly the same as normal retail.
"The Foundation continues to make a small profit from each Raspberry Pi sold, which we’ll be putting straight back into the charity."
Its worth the waiting a little bit to let them iron all that out.
But as you said, for 20 quid who cares?
Guess I don't get one from the first batch. Woe is me. Somehow I will survive!
You know, as problems for a startup to have go, "demand for your product is so strong the servers selling it go down within twenty minutes" is a PRETTY GOOD PROBLEM.
> you run the very real risk of having zero conversions
> from all that homepage traffic.
Wait, that makes no sense, I can't see that at all, nevermind.
In short: in Germany or Austria, you cannot buy the Raspberry Pi unless you go through an intermediary. This seems to be a really bad choice for a platform aimed at education.
And judging by the Twitter comments, at least (potential) customers in Sweden and the Netherlands have the same problem.
I guess what bothers me is how they don't seem to care too much about not being buyable by private entities in a number of European countries, or how they at least didn't bother to check up-front...
Still, I hope I can get one of the next batches somehow
I just wanted to point that out, since it gets drowned a bit on Twitter and I didn't see much posted about it.
The only thing I'm a bit sad about, is that probably the distro companies will evade any consequences. And even if they didn't, it would probably hit some random guys and not anyone really responsible for the incompetency.
Edit: I think I would feel some evil (bad, bad me!) satisfaction if R-Pi Foundation would punish the distro corps by not letting them distribute any further batches of R-Pi for as long as possible. But again, that would probably hurt most the common employees, not the management.
It's clear they chose their partners based on their manufacturing chops, rather than their retail chops. To be fair, RS Components has a huge customer base in the UK; it's basically The Place You Go when you need electronic components in large quantities.
Arguably what Raspberry Pi could/should have done was use Arduino's model of having licensed manufacturers and they could have sat in front of it, and, as has been suggested elsewhere in the thread, just ship giant boxes to Amazon to actually do all the dirty work. This would have covered the US, Europe and Japan (if you ship to all Amazon's fulfillment centers), which would have been plenty I think.
> RS Components has a huge customer base in the UK; it's basically The Place You Go when you need electronic components in large quantities.
RS is where you go when you have an account and need small amounts of components on a regular basis. Buying large quantities of components results in a very frustrating experience.
See, for example, the way they sell surface mount components. Buy qty 500 of 0805 SM resistors and Farnell will send you a strip of 500 while RS will sell you 50 little strips of 10 per strip. Or the way that individual parts are bagged.
So the distributors will have some consequences: a smaller share of future orders.
To me this is the key point. No need to fight through the rush tonight, there will enough to go around.
I could be wrong, I can't seem to access any website claiming to sell it.
"Starting in a month or so, you will be able to place batch orders with both Premier Farnell and RS Components for as many units as you want; you’ll also save some money on postage by doing this."
"But you don't have to wait. With our world class system you can be confident you can get what you want when want it. Did you know while you listened to this message you could have placed your order online."
The Raspberry Pi is now listed on Newark/element14 (Farnell's US site): http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/raspbrry-pcba/dp/83T1943
It's $35, although there's also a 30 day lead time and a $20 handling fee (because it's shipping directly from the UK).
Of course, their servers (at the suppliers) seem to be meeting their little digital Gods at the moment. They just went static at the org.
Supplier 1: RS Components redirected to a product interest page - no purchase option
Supplier 2: Premier Farnell redirected to a international region picking page with no US link - no purchase option
Traffic wasn't the real problem. People are familiar with lines and queues- I wait in a slow long line every time I go to the grocery store.
Seems like they simply did not test their launch with either distributer internationally. Combine that with months of hype and last minute server/traffic arrogance for an angry social mob.
However, their suppliers, who are apparently fairly large companies, haven't been able to handle it. They said they warned them that the traffic would be enormous.
Do you think that (a) they are being realistic about their customers or that (b) your servers will be unable to handle the load described by that scenario or (c) neither or (d) both?
I'm in the first batch of the ZPM Espresso machines via Kickstarted, which blew out past their expectations by an order of magnitude, and allowed them the opportunity to re-jig production methods and schedules, based on ordering 10 times as many parts as expected.
I'd love to be proved wrong on this.
If you run into problems, buy an off the shelf Delaware corporation online, with a registered agent, and create the account for that. Bonus, depending on where you do business you can potentially save quite a bit of tax by structuring things properly that way.
I've held personal and business accounts with Chase and TD Bank, as well as trader accounts with a couple of brokerages, and the documentation requirements were pretty basic in all cases. I've looked into opening accounts at other banks at various points too.
In some cases the easiest alternative is to simply buy an off the shelf US corporation, and have the company that sets it up register a US bank account for it. That's certainly often less paperwork and hassle than dealing with a personal account, especially if you set up a Delaware corporation.
They tweeted at 6am to link to the page, then not since.
Farnell on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/farnellnews
They at least tweeted at 6.30 to say they are trying to fix the problems.
I'm only being half sarcastic. I really would like to see people do cool things with these. And I will be disappointed if it turns out that 9500 of them end up in a drawer after the first weekend.
The educational release will be later this year, and will include cases, power supplies, and an OS for the same price. This release is lacking all those.
This early release is for hackers to play with, develop projects, and write tutorials, so that there is an ecosystem already in place for the educational release.
A shame that the GPU specs aren't open, I would love to get in to GPU driver development with something like this.
> Site unavailable
> Our websites are currently unavailable whilst we perform a scheduled system upgrade.
However, Arduino is 30 USD for ATmega, 20 I/O pins and a USB you can use to program it. Raspberrypi is 35 USD (1) for ARM as powerful as the one in iPhone, with 256 MB RAM, HDMI output, two USB ports you can use to connect peripherals, allegedly powerful graphic processors (though it's probably going to have proprietary bloby drivers) and an Ethernet ports. Oh, and some I/O pins too.
It's basically a general purpose computer, allegedly as powerful as Pentium III (2), as big as Arduino, and taking slightly more but still incredibly small amount of power.
For further comparison, BeagleBoard has slightly better connectivity but worse CPU and graphics, and is bigger, and is 150 USD (about 4x the cost). PandaBoard is faster but similar and is 170 USD (little less than five times the cost). And yesterdays Arstechnica article speaks about similar computer in shape of a small flashdisk with slightly faster CPU than raspberry and ! GB ram costing 200 USD.
This is like free.fr for ARM development boards. It doesn't mean Arduino is finished or something (it's best thing was always the simplicity - anything you can do with Arduino can be done with plain ATmega and some hacking and they're dime a dozen) but it's nice.
(1): though local prices vary. Here Arduino is listed as about 1 USD less than raspberry.
(2): I can't remember where I read that, and it might've been Pentium II, so don't quote me on that, plese
It also has some limited IO available, if you're prepared to solder headers onto the board.
An Arduino is basically a whole bunch of IO, including PWM output and analogue input, that you can wrap up with some glue logic or send straight to a computer.
If you want to interface with a range of sensors/motors in a self-contained unit, a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino actually make a good combination - you can write your logic code in whatever language you like in a Linux environment, and use the Arduino to interface it with the real world.
It would also make sense for (noncritical) monitoring systems, where Arduino can interface with pretty much anything, and raspberry could either display things on monitors, or make a web page for remote monitoring, no problem. (you add ethernet to Arduino and run web server on it, sure, but I would never do something that horrible to the little ATmega.)
RS Online: +44 8457 201201
Farnell: +44 8447 111111
* She couldn't take an order
* They weren't going to be able to take an order today
* What I should be doing is "registering an interest" online when the website comes back up
* Noone had ordered anything today, although a few had managed to register an interest before the website melted
(7:45am Wednesday 29th Feb)
Apparently the only way you could actually get one is through some back of the woods partner site of them in Australia. Hooray.
The $AUD is worth more than the $US, but tech goods always cost more in Australia than they should.
Weirdly that link lists prices for more than one board; RaspberryPI made it very clear that the initial batch was "one per customer".
I would rather they had a small initial run first, that didn't take so long to get to market, and allowed them to test the waters tentatively. The alternative would have been to take a much larger risk, longer lead time, and bigger upfront cost to make a bigger batch.
We're always advocating that companies should ship small and early and then iterate to refine their product. This is a MVP from them. If I was involved I would be extremely proud and overjoyed at this.
all the complainers should take a step back and relax. What's the worst that has happened because you couldn't get you hands on this just yet? It's not as though you have lost money, missed deadlines, or anything else. Just give the consumerism a rest for a while.
As for RS Components' and Farnell's reputation as businesses...
PS. I did get up at 6am to try and order a board, but wasn't too disappointed when I couldn't get on the RS website. I can wait another month or so.
I'd imagine traffic to their website on a normal day is relatively low. Even though they're worldwide companies, their market is pretty niche.
The traffic for those websites generally is very low, I can't imagine that they are ready for anything to what they are seeing right now.
I do wish they had also launched with Digikey my favourite electronic parts distributor. Their shipping is always top notch and their service is absolutely fantastic.
All the stuff I've purchased from TI has indeed been shipped directly from TI itself and not through Digikey.
Location might play in to it some, I live about 15 min away from their headquarters.
Given the nature of HN I'm intrigued to see what unique and innovate ideas people here may have...
Even though the RasPi is hugely overqualified, it looks like it will be easier and cheaper than using a Arduino with a wireless shield. I'm also tickled by the idea of using a such a powerful computer for such a trivial task :)
If you're not familiar with XBMC, prepare to have your mind blown.
Granted, I'm playing content off the same box.
The delivery date is quoted as "week 16", which is mid-April. Oh well.
If you want to build the killer app for the 21st century, figure out how to help people route money and physical objects globally, with all these obnoxious borders abstracted away. ;-)
I think they've been a bit busy...
That's from RS's Twitter feed. Not exactly the praises I'd sing right now.
Not being snotty or anything, I just literally can't find any information on the site.
There's usually more at their site, they went static about a half hour ago because of the load on their servers.
So the extra $10 will only buy you an ethernet and spare USB port now; makes the $35 a harder sell (but not tonight, of course).
Apparently someone from RS sales has now said they aren't selling any until the end of the week! How insanely disorganised.
And 10K was also clearly never going to be close-- there were even far more forum members than this. I wouldn't be so grumpy if they didn't make me get up at 6AM for this crap.
And I think they were entirely justified to make a small (if you call 10K small) production run ahead of everything else. It's not like they're an established manufacturer and retailer.
It dismays me that people are so quick to criticize others when they haven't been in their shoes and are blessed with hindsight. I understand it's 6AM and you might be a tad more grumpy than usual, but... really. Some of the comments on Twitter make it sound like people were owed one of these.
I dont think Amazon is in the business of manufactoring hardware for others.
"Nobody knows what the hell happened but I didn't get one" is probably not the takeaway they were hoping for on launch day.
Handling a launch like this isn't very hard if you don't ignore the problem.
I'd wager that a non-insignificant % of the people scrambling to order want to get their hands on one to flip it on eBay. Watch what happens when they start shipping.
Regardless, I don't see what the urgency is. If there's something you need to develop on an embedded ARM SoC, there are plenty of other more available (and less publicized) options.
Edit: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Raspberry-Pi-Model-B-Ethernet-700M... ; $999 on buy it now ...
Edit 2: There's also this, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Raspberry-Pi-Model-B-Ethernet-700M..., which is interesting - must be against ebay policy to sell things you don't own?
however It seems to be a 'coming soon' product.
(but the servers are still melting, so the buy links weren't working)
Farnell then tell you:
"By providing your contact details you are agreeing for your details to be used for marketing purposes by companies within the Premier Farnell Group."
Which I find rather off-putting.
Goods Subtotal: £26.55
Basic Shipping: £0.00
--->>> Further stock available in 30 days
I'll believe it when I have the board in my hands though!
Order confirmation email just come in:
SBC, RASPBERRY PI, MODEL B
Qty Ordered 1
Qty to Follow 1
Estimated Delivery W/C 12/03/2012
That's 12th March for our foreign friends -at least I hope its not 3rd Dec!!
Waiting for info from our RS accounts manager - RS seem a little less briefed about the whole thing - hmmm.
Oh, yes - it bears repeating that RS are (and always have been) trade only and are very unlikely to take orders from individuals - for many, Farnell will be the better bet.
Availability: Awaiting Delivery
... so back to work...
Edit: From the RasPi Twitter feed - they said it...
@Raspberry_Pi EVERYONE! Stop posting that ebay item!. He is a scammer and getting more sales from here. Pic posted is the Alpha proto board
I plan to put one in an aluminium box with some SRAM and an anti-tamper switch, store keys in the SRAM and use it to back up TrueCrypted thumb drives.
Should be more secure than mounting them on an internet-connected PC just to back them up.
I guess in the end it is worth it though. The amount of hype that surrounds selling out is great.
OLPC comes with: screen, case, power supply, battery, cam, Source Code, wifi, training, & doesn't require £400 TV that can run code already.
I've got a BeagleBoard C2 and a BeagleBone to play with until then...
Why would you get an iPad if you already have a PC?
Why would you get a games console if you already have a PC?
Why would you get a media centre if you already have a PC?
Why would you get a second PC if you already have a PC?
At the same time, it runs linux and the same linux distro runs also in qemu, so you can do most of the develompent without actual hardware. So where's the rush, why does everybody have to get it right now?
Amazon Class Class 10 8 GB SD Card: $9
Best Buy 20" LCD: $90
I also had the thought that at many American schools/libraraies I bet you could find a sympathetic IT guy to give ya some old parts that are on their way to the scrap yard. And I know of at least one computer non-profit recycler in my city that would hook kids up.
Point is, the peripherals of computers, including monitors to a certain extent, are abundant. Tiny, relatively fast computers capable of putting out 1080p are not.... Or I guess I should say weren't!
I guess there's some kudos or cachet or whatnot tied up with owning one of the first batch; with being one of the first 10,000 people to have blogs up about programming the device.
It is not supposed to be a customer item sold to be used as the only computer someone uses. It does not even have a power supply or a casing around the circuit board!
And it certainly isn't a minicomputer like the PDP-11 was :)
This does not bode well to the quality of the product itself, the lack of basic skills and forethought is frightening. After all that "we know what we are doing" talk I guess we can now point and laugh.
They anticipated the launch issues so they brought on two distributors who have networks and infrastructure in place to distribute these sorts of products to customers all over the world.
The problem is (and judging by their website design) these distributors probably don't get that much traffic on a day to day basis. Their products seem very niche.
The distributors were warned and this is what happens.
Don't blame the Raspberry Pi foundation for this.