Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 is heading to a channel near you

40k units now, but 'serious volume' to arrive after the summer


Short of silicon? The Raspberry team has elected bring forward the availability of its RP2040 chippery to a wider audience, with an eye on potential customers who are struggling to secure supplies of microcontrollers.

The RP2040 debuted in January and turned up on the $4 Pi Pico board. As well a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ pottering along at 133MHz, 264kB of on-chip RAM was present. Not a particularly beefy unit when compared others in the Pi range, but considerably more than adequate as a microcontroller.

Since launch, 600,000 Pi Picos have been shipped, although actually getting hold of the chip itself has proven tricky. The likes of Adafruit and Pimoroni had access to the platform ahead of launch and so have RP2040-based products ready to go (such as Pimoroni's Keybow 2040) but other than a favoured few customers picked up since launch, the RP2040 chip has not featured in the network of Approved Resellers (AR).

The ongoing semiconductor shortage has, however, made the RP2040 chip an attractive proposition for makers and industry alike as assembly and development of products has stuttered.

"Based on this experience," Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton told The Register, "we've decided to pull about 40ku of RP2040 out of the supply chain and boot up single-unit sales via ARs roughly three months earlier than we'd intended."

While 40k units won't put much of a dent in the immediate shortage, it will give time for those interested in the chip to develop projects and products ahead of serious volume coming on stream later this year.

"The single-unit price for RP2040 is $1," said Upton, "although a 10-20c external QSPI Flash is required to store program code."

Upton reckoned that pretty much anything that needs a microcontroller would be a candidate, before wryly noting "and particularly anything that's currently suffering due to a shortage of *other* microcontrollers."

"We're still figuring out what reel-scale pricing will look like in the autumn, but I'm expecting it to be significantly lower than that."

While $1 may seem relatively inexpensive (certainly for the power on offer), micro controllers typically sell for considerably less. As such, that first 40k units will be handy for limited early productions and development. Getting to reel-scale pricing will be key.

As for the other products in the Raspberry Pi line-up, Upton praised the foundation's suppliers and told us that "at worst things are currently hand-to-mouth on some products." Component shortages were cited as one of the factors at the recent launch of the POE+ HAT.

2.1m units were shipped in Q1, roughly made up of a million Pi 4 units, 600,000 Pi 3 and 3+ devices, 300,000 Pi Zeros and 200,000 Compute Modules. On top of that are accessories (like the cameras) and approximately 400,000 Pi Picos. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading
  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022