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back to article Raspberry Pi signs big-name sellers

Educationally inclined microcomputer maker Raspberry Pi today revealed that its ARM-based credit card-sized machine is to be taken to coders worldwide by two big-name suppliers. Lining up to offer the tiny machine come RS Components, part of London Stock Exchange-listed Electrocomponents Plc, and Premier Farnell's Element 14, a …

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And Splat!

Guess whose websites have fallen over under load?

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Re: And Splat!

Indeed .. I understand the 6am start now .. although at this rate the time for the "initial interest" to fall off might be longer than a few hours and so "real customers" of RS + Farnells might be a bit peeved if they can't get on from 9am 8-(

I've only been able to "register an interest" on RS which seems to be the wrong page anyway.

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Meh

Re: And Splat!

Spoke to RS Components, was told it's pre-order only. On sale from 5th March...

Spoke to Eben Upton, he was surprised, but assured me that mass production will be under way shortly. Time frame two weeks. (Sorry about that early call Dr. Upton)

Shame about the lost sleep, and the worn out F5 key...

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Never trust a publicity junkie

So what todays events boil down to? The announcement we were advised to "buy an alarm clock" for is simply to tell us that there will be 2 companies selling the "B" model, at some point in the future. And if we wish, and if we can get onto the thoroughly slashdotted websites, we can put our names on a waiting list.

The Raspberry Pi people have certainly achieved their goal of creating the maximum amount of media buzz about their (still unavailable) product, I can't help wondering if that media frenzy is all it will be remembered for.

Although the technically minded are in no doubt that this is merely an embedded component that, with a lot of work *could* be integrated into some future products, the lay press is pushing it as a "$35 computer" [ ref: cbc.ca ] and this seems to be with the consent and tacit approval of the designers / pushers, themselves. Given that the first run is a trifling 10,000 units and the amount of (misdirected) interest is sufficient to kill 2 commercial websites for some hours I can't help wondering if the sheer volume of publicity has been somewhat over the top.

In 6 months, when the hype has died down and several thousand tinkerers have bought one of these - only to wonder, when a circuit board drops through their letter boxes what the hell they're supposed to do now - what will be the end result? A few will have turned into the sort of apostles that Sinclair's early computers produced, but most will realise they have neither the time or skills to use it, nor the need for one . Then, and only then will some actual worthwhile products start appearing that are based on RPi circuitry. But they'll be deeply embedded in a domestic appliance and nobody will even be aware of it's origins.

That's the true destiny of embedded electronics. To be so good that it becomes invisible. if it does succeed, few will (therefore) know and most will simply not care - just so long as it works.

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Re: Re: And Splat!

Yep, very pissed off I can't get on to either to order components.

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@Pete 2

You seem to have spectacularly missed the point. This is a fully functional Linux machine, not an Arduino knock off. Its not just an embedded component as you seem to think. (although it could be used as such).

Interestingly, the Foundation itself hasn't done much of its own advertising - just occasional press release about stuff they have done - it's almost solely word of mouth to get to this stage, which makes me think there is a real demand for a device like this. As shown by the sales sites collapsing.

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Devil

Re: @Pete 2

A fully functioning linux machine……… with binary blobs necessary to control the interesting parts.

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Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

It never ceases to amaze me how people spout off with righteous indignation while getting all their facts wrong.

The Pi went on sale today. Farnell sold out of them in about 15 minutes. RS for some reason didn't start selling. (I'm not sure what they think a "launch" is, but they royally cocked up."

The Pi has a processor, GPU, memory, storage, HDMI output, USB ports and a network port. It runs GNU/Linux. How does this not make it a computer?

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Re: @Jason

> This is a fully functional Linux machine, not an Arduino knock off

Stop!

Take a deeeeeep breath and check out the spec. of this CIRCUIT BOARD.

Essentially you're getting a 700MHz ARM processor, 256MB memory, ethernet, SD card, Wifi, HDMI and sound. This isn't a "fully functional Linux machine" it's the computing core of a cheap tablet. (Though I doubt there are many tablets with sub 1GHz CPUs being designed these days).

In fact, the product up for grabs isn't even an embedded component. It's the development hardware for a company to embed RPi developed (open source) hardware into it's own designs. Expect companies like TV makers to take a look at this and then decide that there may be a few usable ideas - or that it would have been cutting-edge 2 years ago, but their own internal developments are already way ahead of this hardware.

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Re: Re: @Jason

Doops, sorry - should've been @James Hughes 1

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Re: Re: @Jason

RaspPi != Beagle Board.

Unless you can show me a Beagle running Fedora/Debain, playing Quake and video.

I will agree it lacks peripherals (e.g. keyboard) as standard, but these are basic USB units that are easy to add.

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Re: Re: @Jason

Pete2, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. I have worked on embedded stuff, and still have an interest in it (hence the FriendlyARM board sat on the desk next to me). The Pi is a fully functioning computer, offering more functionality than most embedded boards. It is also dramatically cheaper than any roughly equivalent embedded development board that I'm aware of.

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Re: Re: @Jason

It's 700Mhz but an old ARM core too. But it's perfectly fast enough for teaching kids to program on (although I still don't see why they need external hardware to do that).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

Don't feed the twat..... sorry, I mean troll.

Actually no, I think I was right the first time.

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Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

"Given that the first run is a trifling 10,000 units."

Bit unfair for criticising them for that. Apparently, they could only afford to produce the amount, which the banks were willing to lend them.

If you need to blame someone. Blame the bankers and not the raspberry Pi guys.

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@Pete 2

I tried to explain, but you obviously have no idea and will not accept the facts. I've got one, it's works just like my desktop Linux box - albeit a bit slower and with LXDE not Unity.

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@Giles Jones

To give enough access to kids on a networked machine to be able to program as much as they can on the Pi would be incredibly risky, and problematic. Much easier with separate devices.

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Re: @Pete 2

> you obviously have no idea

I have a very clear idea (though I don't own a RPi). While it can run Linux, that doesn't make a device a computer. My TV runs linux, but it's still only a TV. I have mini-ITX boards that sit on a bench and host Linux/Windows off a n/v RAM module - but they're not "computers" either - even though they run "just like my desktop Linux box".

The RPi is simply a component, in that it's uncased, cannot work without additional, non-bundled, hardware and is being sold to developers rather than to domestic users as an appliance in its own right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

And more proof of why it is never a good idea to put engineers or geeks in charge of a company.

Despite numerous, "We are not a bunch of amateurs: We know what we are doing", claims it has been one cockup after another; all of which they should have seen coming. Now things are in the hands of established companies the situation will hopefully improve but early indications are they are little better themselves.

Perhaps it is not more programmers Britain needs but more people with business management skills?

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Mushroom

Re: Re: @Pete 2

"My TV runs linux, but it's still only a TV."

No...I think you'll find that it's a computer. Perhaps knobbled and DRM'd to hell, but a computer nonetheless.

"I have mini-ITX boards that sit on a bench and host Linux/Windows off a n/v RAM module - but they're not "computers" "

Err...yeah, they are. Windows is a general-purpose OS and (depending on the distro) so is GNU/Linux.

"The RPi is simply a component, in that it's uncased"

And the RaspPi peolpe have been hiding that fact under a rock have they? I disagrree on the "component". The CPU is a component. The USB controller is a component. The NIC is a component. Stick 'em all together (plus a few others) whatcha got? A computer!

"cannot work without additional, non-bundled, hardware"

Again - have they hid this fact from anyone. At all? If I unplug my keyboard, monitor etc from this desktop unit, does it cease to be a computer in your little world? How about the server which has or peripherals directly connected at all. Maybe I am hallucinating the fact it's perfectly functional (it came without media too).

"and is being sold to developers rather than to domestic users as an appliance in its own right."

Oh riiiiight. So just becaue geeks buy it, it's not a computer. FFS. A "computer" cover way more devices that an OEM beige box with bundled crap.

Stop digging that hole, it's in danger of collapse.

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Re: Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

"Now things are in the hands of established companies the situation will hopefully improve but early indications are they are little better themselves."

Actually....that's when they went down the toilet. I have vision of various RaspPi people slapping their foreheads and saying "Told you so".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

"In 6 months, when the hype has died down and several thousand tinkerers have bought one of these - only to wonder, when a circuit board drops through their letter boxes what the hell they're supposed to do now - what will be the end result?"

There are currently well over 300,000 Arduinos out there. Presumably, your comment applies to them too.

I'm also not sure what your problem with the "$35 computer" tag is. There are smaller computers and there are cheaper computers and there are more open computers and there are more powerful computers, but this particular computer seems to resonate with a very enthusiastic segment of the population.

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@Pete 2

I'm still trying to get over the fact that Pete 2 seems to have a different definition of the word computer to the rest of the planet.

Is it worth continuing to try and get it through his undeniably thick head this is actually a computer? I think not.

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Re: Re: @Pete 2

I should know better than to feed the trolls, but let's look up the definition of the word "computer" shall we?

"A computer is a programmable machine designed to automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem. An important class of computer operations on some computing platforms is the accepting of input from human operators and the output of results formatted for human consumption."

(Thanks Wikipedia)

Now, what makes up a normal desktop computer that you have on your desk? It'll have: a motherboard, a CPU, some form of GPU, a storage device, a case and peripherals. These are all components, yet do they not comprise what you would call "a computer"? The difference with the RasPi is that all these components - storage and USB peripherals aside - are built into one single board. Plug in a monitor, keyboard, mouse and an SD card with an OS loaded on it, and it will work exactly the same as any other desktop Linux machine. Or for that matter, any other computer at all - just with different software. The GPIO pins are merely an added bonus; it means that it *can* be used as an embedded device, but that's not the primary purpose. You can use a small form-factor x86 computer as an embedded device, if you really wanted to.

This *is*, without any shadow of doubt, a fully-functional computer, in exactly the same way that the great hulking thing on my (and your) desk is. It might not have a case or any bundled peripherals, but the people who are buying and pre-ordering now aren't going to give a hoot about that. When it goes on more general release later in the year, it will have: a case, an SD card pre-loaded with an OS, a power supply, etc, etc...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Never trust a publicity junkie

"Perhaps it is not more programmers Britain needs but more people with business management skills?"

One thing the UK certainly needs is fewer AC twats.

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Re: @Pete 2

Forget @Pete 2, he is @Pete Tong.

And he knows it, just can't admit it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And Splat!

Just got one on back order from Farnell. Even with the VAT it's a bit of a steal.

Also ordered a brightly coloured Crayola kids' keyboard and they're (helpfully) switching off the analogue signal here next month so we have a spare telly in the house. I'm very excited to see how my three year old gets on with it.

Hopefully the bundled software will have enough functionality without needing to resort to plugging in a mouse or a trackpad. Those paradigms seem to be rapidly going the way of the dinosaur, but I guess it won't matter too much in the grand scheme of things.

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FAIL

Re: Re: @Pete 2

I saw all your answers and LOL'd hard.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm guessing RS has

But I *know* Farnell is broken.

I quite like the idea of selling (and arranging manufacturing) thru RS and Farnell.

As an occasional Farnell customer I know their website is a bit clunky at the best of times, so this morning's collapse probably isn;'t a surprise to any frequent Farnell user.

I'm not buying one yet, too many other things on, but I'll be there later in the year.

Well done the Razzies!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm guessing RS has

Farnell Ireland site was still up at approx 10am.

Not sure if they would deliver to all of UK, but managed to order one to be sent to "the North of".

More expensive VAT and a delivery date of April mind.

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Happy

big-name sellers

Never would have guessed by their website. Should have stayed in bed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: big-name sellers

They are a big name in the industry segment they sell to.

That isn't the consumer-drone segment BTW.

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Re: Re: big-name sellers

I know exactly who they are. I am just a frustrated consumer drone whose worn out their F5 key and has had too little sleep.

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Re: Re: big-name sellers

Just waiting for Maplin to sell it at twice the price.

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Re: Re: Re: big-name sellers

"Just waiting for Maplin to sell it at twice the price."

and for maplin, that would be a clearance price....

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Fantastic little device

It is a shame that both of the sites have fallen over! I am glad the RaspberryPi Foundation decided not to try and sell them through there own market place, or it would spend too much time down.

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Unhappy

RS & Farnell

Bad news for me :(

Unfortunately Farnell has a local distributor in Brazil, so I expect no availability on a reasonable timeframe, high prices and OK shipping cost.

RS has no boards available on its Finnish/international distributor (whose website is up and running), but there is no information about shipping and probably they would ship by courier only, which means outrageous shipping cost + heavy customs duty.

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Anonymous Coward

This is worse than the Touchpad £99 sale and I still haven't managed to order one.

Only "registered my interest" in RS but RPi now say it's not right..

This be a lesson to all purveyors of interesting products, never claim your supplier's websites are "bulletproof"

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Anonymous Coward

They probably are bullet proof...

...just not traffic proof.

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FAIL

Epic PR disaster

1) RS don't tell you which model you are registering an interest for

2) Farnell list the model B under two different prices (and seems to be 20% more expensive than RS)

3) Farnell will let you buy up to 10 (so much for one customer, one board)

4) The units are available to be shipped

5) This was not a launch, just a licensing deal (which means higher prices for the consumer) and could have just gone out as a PR piece.

RaspPi - you screwed the pooch totally on this one. After such good work on hype and tease, you come out with this?

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@Bin Yin

Sorry, gotta correct a few bits..

2) Prices should be exactly as advertised for the last 9 months - $25 and $35. (although Model A now has 256MB ram)

3) Farnell's agreement says they are only allowed to sell 1 board per person of this batch. If you can buy more then Farnell have made a mistake, not the Foundation.

5) This is a launch. By what definition is it not a launch?

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@The BigYin

1, All batch 1 are model B

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Re: @Bin Yin

"2) Prices should be exactly as advertised for the last 9 months - $25 and $35. (although Model A now has 256MB ram)"

Sorry, wrong. Farnell is now £26.55 (US$42). Tax may be payable on top of that.

(Their site is currently off-line)

"3) Farnell's agreement says they are only allowed to sell 1 board per person of this batch. If you can buy more then Farnell have made a mistake, not the Foundation."

Their site allows 10+ orders.

"5) This is a launch. By what definition is it not a launch?"

Both sites only allow pre-orders. Their site makes that perfectly clear "Model going into production immediately". Not built, can't be sold, not a launch. End of.

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@annodomini2

Ta much - I'd forgotten that. But still, RS really should make it clear.

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Re: Re: @Bin Yin

With regard to launch - the first batch HAS been built, and is currently shipping to the distributors. The reference to immediate production is for subsequent batches.

Farnell price includes shipping, so $35 + $7 shipping is about £26.55.

I'll check on the multiple order thing - if Farnell are doing that then they are breaking the contract.

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Re: Re: Re: @Bin Yin

Thanks for the clarification! It was really not obvious on their site (wish I could edit my post now)

On the site there are prices for 10+, but as the site is on i's ass just now it's kinda hard to test out.

Still, it's just another thing that adds to the confusion.

(Tiny brain, me)

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WTF?

Re: @Bin Yin

2) At Farnell, the price is £26.55 +VAT

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Re: Re: @Bin Yin

According to the RaspberryPi twatter feed, the Farnell price is higher than the advertised price of the boards because it includes shipping.

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@James Hughes 1

"I'll check on the multiple order thing - if Farnell are doing that then they are breaking the contract."

I know of at least one person who did a bulk order through Farnell. Just 2 units, and that's for pre-orders.

Maybe that's OK, I don't know, I haven't seen the contract. But it is a further lack of consistency and is confusing to people with small brains (like me). If there is variation, you should make that clear and get your sellers to make it clear too.

Just how hard would it be for Farnell to say "Prices include shipping, only bulk pre-orders allowed" (or whatever the rules may be)

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Re: @James Hughes 1

Agreed. Farnell have screwed up. The contract says one per person. Please blame Farnell for this. The foundation has been very clear on the number policy.

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