This morning, I experienced the nerd equivalent of a Black Friday $50 iPad sale. At 07:00 CET, the first batch of the much-anticipated Raspberry Pi went on sale, and while Raspberry Pi itself was very properly prepared, the two large international retailers actually selling the device weren’t – despite warnings from Raspberry Pi about the enormous amount of traffic that would come their way, the two sites crumbled to dust within seconds. There’s good news too – the cheaper model A has seen its RAM doubled at no additional cost.
A few days ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced something big was coming this morning – it was assumed, rightly so, this was the launch of the first batch of devices. We all knew interest would be huge, but I don’t think anybody expected what happened this morning.
As someone who’s been interested in the Pi for a long time, I dutifully set my alarm clock to 06:45. I fired up my ZenBook, and right around 06:55 a static page went up on the Raspberry Pi website informing us that they would be working with two large international retailers for sales and distribution. The only problem?
The retailers were totally not prepared for what was coming their way.
Over Twitter, Liz from Raspberry Pi did state they had warned the retailers – but apparently the message didn’t get through or wasn’t taken seriously. The sites were completely unreachable for hours, and when you did get through, you were redirected to pre-order pages. Liz’ frustration was palpable. To make matters worse, there was a lot of confusion about whether or not people in the US could place orders.
Sadly, as is far too often the case on the web, lots of people on Twitter got really angry. Before we continue – this made me really, really sad. This was clearly out of Raspberry Pi’s hands, and being disrespectful towards them was and is totally and utterly uncalled for. Just a reminder – the Raspberry Pi site never went down. Sickening behaviour of the web.
Due to all this confusion, an important piece of good news got entirely overlooked – a free specification bump for the model A variant. “We’ve been working hard at cost reduction over the last few months, and we’ve been able to make one significant change to the Raspberry Pi lineup,” the foundation states, “The $25 Model A has been reworked to include 256MB of RAM – double what we were originally planning to offer â€“ and will be going into production immediately.”
When the smoke and dust settled, the full extent of the launch’ popularity became clear: the first batch was sold out in minutes, leaving only preorder pages up. Over at the BBC, news articles about the Raspberry Pi were more popular than those about the iPad 3. Despite my own timely wake-up time, I was unable to secure one from the first batch (I failed you, dear readers…), but I did manage to get a pre-order in, so you can expect a first look/review within a few weeks.
It was a crazy online morning, but for what it’s worth, I think it was fun. I’m very glad that despite the Twitter shitstorm, Liz continued to inform us of the goings on at the retailers. And hey, you know what? It’s a good thing people are so enthusiastic about this product!