Recent reading has concerned me a little about when the "likes of us" will be able to get hold of a R-Pi...
Eben's Business Insider Interview
"We've raised capital in 10,000 unit batches to build the devices. That's the money we need, that will provide us, but there's an upper limit to how many devices you can build in a year at that rate. With best use of working capital you can build 100,000 devices each year, to scale we'll have to raise additional capital. We're intending to release the designs for the device at due cost. We can't make any money out of this, we have no incentive to keep the design of the device secret.
We do hope third parties will be able to manufacture clones. We can expand the concept without having to expand the capital base."
Now this worries me since I kinda expect 10,000 units to go very quickly, and the top limit of 100k seems quite low (if they were available from kick off, it wouldn't surprise me if they sold within 4-8 weeks at most). I really hope this is a conservative estimate, rather than a hard limit (also not a limit of the SoC supply itself).
My reason for worrying about the numbers is if companies start to investigate this and develop genuine applications for it (even if they are just in-house uses, such as test rigs there is huge need for devices like this), then they will begin making large orders.
Add to this, that potentially a company could build a fully viable product around the R-Pi...the required numbers will be well over the 100k limit.
I dread that the "likes of us" will have a hard time getting within the small window of availability.
Perhaps when the product is properly established, very large orders can be done independently of the batch builds if required. Or perhaps 3rd party companies can step-in to take on some of the foundries which the foundation has established already. Hopefully this will avoid the need to limit by capital.
[No doubt many ideas and plans have been worked out behind closed doors already - I'm just speculating on options]
Now I love that the R-Pi will be opened freely to be cloned (it is a least a glimmer of hope), but clearly that will be a good while from now, since obviously it is unlikely the "plans" will be released until certain that they are good. Then it'll be a few months after that before any company will be able to re-produce them.
My main concern which wasn't mentioned in the interview was how Broadcom will fit into the "Clone" process since their "key" component is only available through them (and clearly will want to keep their IP safe, so I doubt they'll sell to just any random company). Also, the foundation have stated that Broadcom have supported the project by reducing the minimum volume's and perhaps lower price points than normal to help the project (please correct me, I'm probably wrong here). I hope that similar support can be given to the "Clone" manufacturers too, to allow the R-Pi to be replicated on-mass.
I know the foundation cannot speak for Broadcom, but I imagine some conversations about this must have been had. Also so far I've not read anything directly from Broadcom about the R-Pi project, just odd mentions in posts (which are very positive) - I would love to read some press release from them about their view on the project (hopefully it'll come after the release and success - as they deserve to get direct credit from all of what I've read here).
Clearly, I understand the need to limit the working capital to manageable amounts (which must be rather huge as it is), but like many others here, we all want a piece of the pi (many of us, several pieces if we can).
Anyway, just my thoughts on this, hopefully worry about nothing, want the R-Pi to sell like mad...ideally with a few to me too.
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