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Raspberry Pi Gets a Red-Tape Delay; Awaits CE Certificate

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the bureaucrats-are-middle-management dept.

Education 135

judgecorp writes "After many delays, the Raspberry Pi computer has arrived in Britain, but has been stopped by the need for a CE approval sticker to say it meets European regulations. The Raspberry Pi Foundation expects the sticker to be a formality, and says it failed to apply because it thought the Pi did not qualify as a 'finished end product.'"

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Seriously? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511291)

Nobody in that foundation even thought they'd need to meet CE regulations? What else have they forgotten about? Is it even RoHS compliant?

Re:Seriously? (5, Informative)

VMaN (164134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511315)

No, seeing as comparable systems, like BeagleBone etc don't...

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511489)

Oh, I'm sure Apple inc. will disagree to that as well!

-- Apple inc. Legal division

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511753)

Correct. They're doing it because their (consistently, horribly unprofessional) distributors insisted that it be done... not because regulations actually apply with this device.

The foundation desperately needs to get away from these horseshit companies. They've completely dropped the ball at every single step of the process, from the launch itself, to maintaining accurate information for current and future buyers, to present day, last-minute issues with the CE mark.

The Raspi team was right to go with outside distribution, and they picked (what appeared to be) appropriate companies for the job. It just hasn't worked out and they need to cut the bums loose.

Re:Seriously? (2)

bsane (148894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511893)

I don't think we can say its the distro companies they picked...

Eben claimed that the first Raspi boards would arrive that day, or the next biz day back on 2/25. Now there apparently never was a raspi batch(?), and you're blaming the distributors...

I imagine this will all get sorted in the end, but I don't think the distributors sole source or problems or the only ones acting unprofessional.

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512345)

It might seem unfair, but I understood that a group of people with a big goal, on a small budget, doing something interesting and different... that was going to come with quite a few headaches. So when they pushed the dates, goofed on public updates or didn't handle misinformation properly... well, I understood and felt I had no reason to get cranky.

But when two mature businesses that sell electronic components for a living can't get their goddamn acts together to save their lives, I have a little less patience. It's doubly frustration for those that have already ordered theirs... because those people are now customers. And it's not even like they just underestimated what they'd need at launch and ignored the direct warnings, they've continued to screw everything up ever since.

In short, I'll happily cut the foundation all kinds of slack. They're not a big for-profit business with customers. They're basically a group that's been blogging about the process of trying to make something really cool, and doing a really good job of it. These distributors, however, are a joke.

Re:Seriously? (2)

bsane (148894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512583)

It totally depends on how long those distributors have been involved. I've bought plenty of items from Newark before and have never had a problem. If they agreed back in December to make and distribute these boards- then yeah, they're a problem. If the agreement was made more or less when the agreement was announced (March 3rd), then I'm not the least bit surprised its taken this long, and will take longer still.

My main problem with whats happened so far: we were told an initial batch of 10k were being produced, we were kept updated (2/25, 2/6 being some of them) on their production and hopeful ship date. Now it seems there was no initial batch, WTF? Its the disconnect between

'we're making a batch and having problems, please bear with us'
and
'we're making a batch, they're at the factory being made, bear with us, , here these companies will now make them!'

There is some serious disconnect that not just manufacturing delays...

Re:Seriously? (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512719)

The initial 10k batch was made on behalf of the Foundation at some factory in China. That batch of 10k are being resold by Farnell and RS. Further production of the Pi will be handled by RS and Farnell.

So "we're making a batch, they're at the factory being made, bear with us" and "here these companies will now make them!" are both true.

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513415)

The initial 10k batch was made on behalf of the Foundation at some factory in China. That batch of 10k are being resold by Farnell and RS. Further production of the Pi will be handled by RS and Farnell.

So "we're making a batch, they're at the factory being made, bear with us" and "here these companies will now make them!" are both true.

Thats the thing - RS and Farnell DIDNT SELL A SINGLE BOARD because THEY NEVER HAD ANY to begin with. That 10K batch was a LIE.
RS and Farnell took orders for the boards they are going to make _in the future_. Latest mail from Farnell informed me my order will be completed in July ...

btw. Rasppi doesnt like when you say thay they SCAMMED you, mods deleted all my comments from their site when I pointed out there never was a 10K batch and my "launch day" order turned out to be preorder for something Farnell is going to make in HALF A YEAR.

Re:Seriously? (2)

slowLearner (2498468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39514615)

http://www.raspberrypi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/1seaofpis.png [raspberrypi.org]
gosh this looks like a lot of Raspberry Pi's in shrink wrap, I wonder if maybe you got modded out for some reason other than you make sane reasonable points with evidence in a calm and reasonable manner?

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515443)

http://www.raspberrypi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/1seaofpis.png [raspberrypi.org]

gosh this looks like a lot of Raspberry Pi's in shrink wrap, I wonder if maybe you got modded out for some reason other than you make sane reasonable points with evidence in a calm and reasonable manner?

Its 29 or March, there is ~900 boards in the picture, they are still in China.
Launch date was 29 February (full 30 days ago), Launch means here you go click and buy. There was nothing to buy.

If you read post that came with that picture you will learn they are talking about 2000 boards, so where did the 8000 go? They never existed in February.

Btw I just checked and they banned me :-) Banned me for saying they "officially launched" with ZERO inventory.

Launch was in February. Farnell says that EARLIEST date is June. It all stinks. I feel scammed.
Its one thing to be incompetent, its another to constantly lie.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39515425)

The 10K batch was a lie? Any links at least?

Re:Seriously? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512781)

Welcome to the wonderful world of hardware manufacturing. This is why many companies don't announce a damn thing until the product is already on its way to the retailers.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512305)

Right, because no one orders things from Newark/Farnell/element14 distributors ever?

How about placing blame where it belongs, which is on the hype train the foundation has been flogging to gain popularity while simultaneously delivering: NOTHING.

Re:Seriously? (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512329)

I expect these devices do need a CE mark for electro magnetic radiation compliance (that it doesn't interfere with other equipment and its own performance isn't degraded by other equipment) and the companies in question are rightfully stating they're not going to start selling something which would land them in the shit if it is out of compliance. The US is no different with devices requiring FCC certification.

Re:Seriously? (2)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513491)

I expect these devices do need a CE mark for electro magnetic radiation compliance (that it doesn't interfere with other equipment and its own performance isn't degraded by other equipment) and the companies in question are rightfully stating they're not going to start selling something which would land them in the shit if it is out of compliance. The US is no different with devices requiring FCC certification.

No. Farnell is quite happy selling $4 msp430 Launchpads
http://uk.farnell.com/texas-instruments/msp-exp430g2/kit-dev-msp430-launchpad/dp/1853793 [farnell.com]

that dont meet a single norm, no CE, no FCC nothing. Ti just states in the documentation those boards are DEV experimental stuff and thats it. TI sold >100K of them easily.

http://www.ti.com/lit/ml/slac432a/slac432a.pdf [ti.com]

“Texas Instruments (TI) provides the enclosed product(s) under the following conditions:
  This evaluation board/kit is intended for use for ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION,
  EVALUATION PURPOSES ONLY and is not considered by TI to be a finished endproduct fit for gene
  consumer use. Persons handling the product(s) must have electronics training and observe good engineer
  practice standards. As such, the goods being provided are not intended to be complete in terms of requi
  design, marketing, and/or manufacturingrelated protective considerations, including product safety a
  environmental measures typically found in end products that incorporate such semiconductor components
  circuit boards. This evaluation board/kit does not fall within the scope of the European Union directi
  regarding electromagnetic compatibility, restricted substances (RoHS), recycling (WEEE), FCC, CE or
  and therefore may not meet the technical requirements of these directives or other related directives.”

“FCC WARNING
  This evaluation board/kit is intended for use for ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT, DEMONSTRATION, OR
  EVALUATION PURPOSES ONLY and is not considered by TI to be a finished enproduct fit for general
  consumer use. It generates, uses, and can radiate radio frequency energy and has not been tested for compli-
  ance with the limits of computing devices pursuant to part 15 of FCC rules, which are designed to provide
  reasonable protection against radio frequency interference. Operation of this equipment in other environ-
  ments may cause interference with radio communications, in which case the user at his own expense will be
  required to take whatever measures may be required to correct this interference.”

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514355)

Based on how the EU regulations are worded, to qualify as a "finished end product" the board is supposed to have an enclosure. No enclosure, it's not a "finished end product" and it doesn't require EMC. Personally I think this is a silly way of deciding what needs to be compliant, but that's how it's worded.

I haven't really been following the Raspberry Pi, but it doesn't look like it comes with an enclosure. So it sounds like the distis are just being anal (unless you believe the conspiracy theory discussed above).

Re:Seriously? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512691)

I don't think that Beaglebone is advertised as a "gnu/linux box for 25$" nor don't they have this..
"What’s a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming."

yeah sure, it's just a board. budget board. that's the whole point of it, it doesn't come with full driver sources etc.. it's a discount arm board, that's the whole point. but basically if you add things you probably will need you're almost in the same price range as ordering a whole unit from china that fills the same description(but comes with what you need to boot it and pre-loaded with android).

anyhow, this is just the latest of many, many delays of the product.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514869)

We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

Right, I fully expect this to be as wildly successful as the OLPC project - which is to say, not successful at all.

Another first world solution in search of a third world problem.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Johnny O (22313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515513)

Driver source? If it isnt out there yet it will be. Look at all the low level docs released.

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1521578.pdf [farnell.com]

I think there will be great open source drivers ;-)

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39513167)

No, seeing as comparable systems, like BeagleBone etc don't...

This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B
digital device, pursuant to Part 15 of the FCC Rules.

Re:Seriously? (4, Interesting)

bsane (148894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511491)

Raspberry Pi delayed? Shocking!

I thought we were just days away last month?

http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/696 [raspberrypi.org]

TLDR: Saturday 2/25 Eben expected the boards to ship (to them) that day or Monday.

I'm sure the Pi-ers will mod me down fiercely, but come on guys... I ordered one too, I want one, but lets not pretend this has been handled well.

Re:Seriously? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512341)

lets not pretend this has been handled well.

Compared to what? How large consumer electronics organizations release hotly anticipated products? In the case of the Galaxy Nexus or whatever you want to call that phone, I was waiting around for months to hear a date announced. Then it was announced, then it was recanted. Then a worldwide release date that excluded the US was announced. I believe that may have been taken back and forth a time or two, don't really know since it didn't affect me. Then there was a US release date that was complicated by carriers dragging their heels or FCC approval or something like that. One could argue that's not directly samsung's fault, I'd argue it's about as much samsung's fault as this current issue is raspberry pi's fault. Anyway, by the time it finally got here, I had already bought a galaxy S2, which itself was rescheduled several times, once I believe due to some patent issues.

I hear some of you already typing that this is not a fair comparison, and you're right: samsung has much more money and employees to get it right.

Also, the street dates on the phones seem to have been announced very shortly before the actual release. I'm assuming that was so that they could squeeze a few more dollars out of people buying new, very soon to be obsolete phones. Which is bullshit.

Anyway, my point is this: On things I really want to buy, I want to have a rough estimate as to when I can buy it as early as possible. Delays are always going to happen, and I'd rather have a company push the date back and explain why it's delayed rather than the "Available next week. Actually no, it's not going to be, we'll tell you if and when it's happening. That is all."

Re:Seriously? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512873)

You're right, its not a fair comparison.

Samsung didn't sell you the phone before they delivered it.

Re:Seriously? (2)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513181)

RPi didn't sell me anything, either. No money has changed hands. No money will change hands until it ships. I'm merely in the queue to get one.

(Way, way down in the queue, apparently...)

Re:Seriously? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512893)

not really the same though if you didn't pre-order a nexus believing it's already manufactured and have it's shipping pushed back due to them switching volume buttons to a better model.

it's been handled like shit, delay after delay serially even if the problems would have been parallel.

they don't seem to even have checked what certifications the comparable parts/devices/boards have. and let's face it when did you see an arduino hocked as a powerful credit card sized computer? meanwhile you can buy actual wallet sized android hdmi pucks right now, comparing pricing to pi is a bit messy right now though since you'd have to count the psu, cables etc to the price(they tend to come with those, but with those added they're at about even pricing with the pi).

if it started shipping and an android ready to boot image appeared(with working sound) I'd buy 5 of them. even if the whole operation seems like an operation to spin them to avoid being a company that sells consumer products - which they are, even if registered as a charity.

now there's been all sorts of ridiculous claims about the pi in the past like how they managed to buy parts at cost or below cost etc claiming that cloners couldn't do it as cheap. but that's bullshit. if you drop the android requirement you can source hdmi media player devices for 30 bucks. the hw is getting insanely cheap.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512801)

And it never fails that there are hate-filled naysayers who attack everything and anything that looks promising.

Re:Seriously? (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511527)

It's a bare board. They figured they'd get lumped in with arduino, etc, as "components" and not have to get certified. They're probably legally right, but the supplier doesn't want to take the risk. So they wait.

I dunno why they're waiting though. They could easily take their product to another supplier and sell out just as fast.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511875)

Except that the Rasp Pi people claimed at another point that it s a finished product to side step import taxes. They can't claim it both ways.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512059)

It's a bare board. They figured they'd get lumped in with arduino, etc, as "components" and not have to get certified. They're probably legally right, but the supplier doesn't want to take the risk. So they wait.

I dunno why they're waiting though. They could easily take their product to another supplier and sell out just as fast.

I can see the point of the supplier:

  • RPi is much more high-profile than any previous board. It has achieved significant UK press coverage.
  • The publicity material has stressed the value of the RPi as a learning tool on its own, as opposed from assuming that it will always be used embedded in a larger system such as a robotics project etc.
  • One of the explicit target markets is children (well, at least 12yr olds) who know nothing about electronics and computers whereas Arduino etc are aimed at enthusiastic amateurs who are likely to have at least a basic knowledge of electrical safety.

None of these are individually definitive. However when you put them together I can see why the suppliers are wary of trying to pass of the RPi as a 'component' rather than a retail product.

Re:Seriously? (2)

KC1P (907742) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512503)

Actually, the Arduino (or at least, the Arduino Uno I'm holding in my hand right now) does have a CE mark on the back. Now this is making me paranoid about some of my own projects! What does CE testing cost?

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

surmak (1238244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512603)

The Arduino Uno [arduino.cc] does have a CE mark. Look at the picture of the back of the board.

I don't know it is required, but it does have it

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511685)

No, but it is FWoR compliant. And they are in process of also making it CoT compliant.

Re:Seriously? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512113)

I'm kinda wondering the same - however, remember that people new to manufacturing are not familiar with these requirements. So I believe the term is just "simple ignorance" not intentional negligence.

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512735)

They designed this board with CE regulations in mind. They where planning on getting it certified later, to save time. Certification will take a few days, not weeks or months.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512911)

OMG! It's the end of the world as we know it. I'm very, very scared. Just imagine all the bad things that *might* happen. We're probably safer just sticking with the established market leaders for all our consumer purchases.

go away, Broadcom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511307)

Who cares? You've already sold out to the next generation of budding technologists by refusing to consider a 20-30% initial price increase for the opportuntiy to build as much as possible locally, demonstrating that you don't consider it worth teaching the value of self-reliance and reintroducing a manufacturing base to the West. You haven't even come clean on the lack of exorbitant import taxes you kept wailing about - ones which you claim you had to pay precisely because this wasn't a finished end product, am I right? :-)

Re:go away, Broadcom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511445)

This. The project argued that they would import a finished product precisely so they did not have to pay certain import taxes (which they pretended to be impossibly high, but for any sort of electonics does not exceed around 15%). Now they claim that they regarded the product as unfinished and therefore exempt from CE markings.

It appears that the standards body called them on their duplicity - I guess that's not quite as bad as the tax man looking into you.

Re:go away, Broadcom (3, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511949)

it wasn't the standards body that "called them out", but the retailers who asked "shouldn't it have...."

The Pi devs thought it didn't need the CE mark because it is an unfinished product, not a consumer device (eg it doesn't come with a case). they thought this because the Beagleboard [beagleboard.org] is a similarly 'unfinished' product and it too doesn't have the CE mark.

The Pi people are going through the CE motions to make sure they're covered, and finding out if they really have to go through the compliance checks on the side.

ArsTechnica does a much better job [arstechnica.com] describing the issue.

Re:go away, Broadcom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512037)

And you think that an international distributor won't have confirmed that new products in its inventory have the appropriate markings at a much earlier stage? You think Broadcom, the project overseer and one of the foremost tech developers on the planet, never asked the appropriate questions to confirm whether this was needed?

Are you really that naive?

If Broadcom really thought it was an unfinished product then they'd have paid the taxes the avoidance of which they used as an excuse not to manufacture locally, wouldn't they?

Re:go away, Broadcom (1)

Vairon (17314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512935)

Broadcom does not oversee the Raspberry Pi Foundation or its products. Broadcom is the employer of a couple of the volunteers of the Raspberry Pi foundation. Broadcom's only business relationship is that of a supplier who sells the Raspberry Pi Foundation the BCM2835 mobile applications processor used in the Raspberry Pi Model A and B boards.

Next Up - GMO Testing (5, Funny)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511325)

Next they'll have to prove that a Raspberry Pi is not a Genetically Modified Organism.

Re:Next Up - GMO Testing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511801)

I don't know... They don't look like any raspberry I've ever seen, so it could be.

Re:Next Up - GMO Testing (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511987)

Nor any pie, for that matter.

Re:Next Up - GMO Testing (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513403)

It will all be fine if they clearly label their product with the warning: "May contain gluten".

Raspberry Pi foundation have given length of delay (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511393)

The foundation are saying they expect the delay to be about two weeks: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/european-technology/raspberry-pi-shipping-delayed-by-a-8220couple-of-weeks-8221/381

Yawn (1, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511421)

Been a week since the last Raspberry Pi post. Must make another one quick!

Next week "Raspberry Pi delayed because appropriate chicken was not sacrificed. Now waiting on God."

Re:Yawn (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512549)

I'll take it over yet another BitCoin article.

Re:Yawn (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512663)

As much as I think the Pi is a cool project, I'm beginning to put it in the same category as BitCoin. When I can actually order one and expect to receive it in anything approaching a timely fashion, I'll move it out of that category, for now, it's still "pi in the sky" to me.

Re:Yawn (3)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513603)

As much as I think the Pi is a cool project, I'm beginning to put it in the same category as BitCoin.

This is totally an unfair comparison. You can buy a BitCoin today, you can't buy a Pi!

Re:Yawn (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513647)

Touche

Re:Yawn (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515337)

I won't be interested until I can buy a rasberry pi with bitcoin.

Raspberry Pi already obsolete (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511485)

The Raspberry Pi is already obsolete. Rhombus-Tech [rhombus-tech.net] is coming out with a board based on the Allwinner ARM implementation, 3x as fast as the obsolete CPU the Pi crowd is using. "Mass-volume pricing (just for the CPU card, and therefore excluding tax, shipping, profit, a case and a power supply) looks to be on target for around $15:" They're also looking at reusing the BeagleBoard form factor (which is much like an Arduno) and coming out with a fast Linux board in that format.

By the time the Raspberry Pi crowd delivers, they'll be obsolete. Much like the OLPC.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511621)

you're saying that a product for which the 'schematics are currently being developed' might be better at some point
than a product on the verge of shipping?

thats amazing

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512375)

No it makes sense. What sucks is I just bought an ipad 3, which is of course obsolete due to the ipad 5.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511635)

The Raspberry Pi is already obsolete. Rhombus-Tech [rhombus-tech.net] is coming out with a board based on the Allwinner ARM implementation, 3x as fast as the obsolete CPU the Pi crowd is using. "Mass-volume pricing (just for the CPU card, and therefore excluding tax, shipping, profit, a case and a power supply) looks to be on target for around $15:" They're also looking at reusing the BeagleBoard form factor (which is much like an Arduno) and coming out with a fast Linux board in that format.

By the time the Raspberry Pi crowd delivers, they'll be obsolete. Much like the OLPC.

and when will this ship? 3 or 4 years after? =))

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (3, Interesting)

PremiumCarrion (861236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511649)

That's an interesting idea, but how much will it cost, it looks like it may be more expensive for the base unit since from the FAQ:
"Why is the price of the Allwinner A10 EOMA-68 Card $15?
It damn well isn't! We are getting a massive amount of misunderstandings about this. We have reported that based on estimates from the Reference Board supplied by the Manufacturer of the SoC that the MATERIALS COST is APPROACHING $15 in MASS VOLUME quantities of 100,000 units.
That is excluding a case, power supply (which as the unit can be powered by USB-OTG is not needed), packaging, tax, customs duty, shipping and, most importantly, a profit margin.
Any company has to make a profit, and a CIC is no different. Charities and Not-for-Profit Foundations can get away with not making a profit, but Rhombus Tech is not a Charity."

Also a PCMCIA card is going to be very much less convenient to use as a computer than a device which has the following ports: USB, Ethernet, DVI, sound out

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512491)

If it's the A10 you want ,you can buy the Mele A1000 today:

http://www.aliexpress.com/product-fm/532332455-Mele-A1000-TV-box-Allwinner-A10-hackable-device-wholesalers.html

That board has real sata (courtesy of the A10) and comes with a case for $70 + shipping.
Dealextreme has the same thing with a remote control included.

related:
http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/hacking_the_mele_a1000/

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (1)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512567)

The EOMA68 cards are not PCMCIA cards! They just happed to have the same footprint. The EOMA68 cards are the motherboard for devices like netbooks, laptops, set-top-boxes, carPC's etc etc. They don't plug into a PCMCIA slot as an accessory. They are the CPU, RAM, Flash, Ethernet, USB, SATA, SPI etc. etc. Controller/Host for the device they are plugged into.

The EOMA68 cards are COM "computer on modules" to allow OEM's to get to market faster without having to design a motherboard or develop Linux drivers. The OEM's just add a $3-$10 dollar I/O board with connectors with a simple 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 for $1 micro as an EC (embedded controller) such as an ST STM32. The main cost for the I/O boards are the connectors.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515095)

The OEM's just add a $3-$10 dollar I/O board with connectors with a simple 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 for $1 micro as an EC (embedded controller) such as an ST STM32.

I'm an OEM. If Rhombus thinks that OEMs will jump onto this product, they are quite optimistic. OEMs will be extremely careful with their product unless the card is uniquely suitable for some quick demo. Reasons being:

  • It is cheaper to buy an MCU from an established manufacturer and solder it to the board than to bother with PCMCIA connectors and I/O boards. Note that the connector requires its own length of free space on the carrier PCB for card insertion. This is a huge space requirement.
  • I don't think there is anything on the card that is worth paying royalties for. If you manufacture in volume you don't want royalties. Atmel has a whole eval board that runs Linux, if Linux is what you want. Often you want nothing, or maybe you want RTOS. A complex OS like Linux - that is not real-time - is not often needed.
  • New architecture. Most OEMs already have an MCU design that they are using. Here I have AVR8 and AVR32, with an option for Atmel's ARM. This is important because you reuse the knowledge, the code, the compiler, the programming tools, etc.
  • Connectors are trouble, always. If you can solder it, do so.
  • Dependability of supplies. I have issues sometimes with giants like IDT or Micron who are behind on shipping something. Rhombus can go mammaries up at any time; should I then cancel the product line and design a new one? Major manufacturers have a specific, well defined product life policy.
  • Reliability of the design. I cannot use a module if I don't trust the team that designed it. This particular team may have issues, that is evident from what they have on the Web page.
  • Where are the specs of their product? What is the temperature range (-40C to +85C please,) where are vibration requirements, humidity, etc.? You can't enter the industrial market without that, and if Rhombus has any hope of selling then that's their best bet. Industrial OEMs often design unique products in small volume.
  • There is a fierce competition in this market. On the high end $300 will buy you an Atom COM module that can run Windows 7 Embedded out of the box. And that board will be made by an established player. Conformal coating? Yes, they offer that; they know what it's for.
  • Low price is not necessarily a good thing.

As I already mentioned, there are philosophical issues that may be relevant. For example, why do you want a Linux computer in your product? How many products require it? (Look around.) This is not something that's wrong with this board, but it is a factor in the whole business plan.

In other words, OEMs will be very careful with this product. Rhombus will have sales since their product has interesting advantages; however their competitors are numerous, and this is a race to the bottom. As an OEM, I made a few products with a Linux board [embeddedarm.com] inside. I know exactly what my requirements for that board were.

At this point Rhombus's market consists of only hobbyists. But no hobbyist can use their card due to the complexity of installing the PCMCIA connector. If I were in Rhombus shoes I'd sell the carrier card too. Maybe that's what they are already planning to do, I just don't know.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (5, Informative)

gmarsh (839707) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511745)

The $15 card you're describing is a PCMCIA card form factor. Feel free to explain how to power it, plug a keyboard into it and hook it up to their TV without another $15 card with all the connectors you need for a practical application.

Also, the Broadcom on the Pi is about as obsolete as the ATMega parts used on the Arduino card. It gets the job done in the application it's put in. God forbid it's slower than a high end Cortex-A8 processor...

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (2)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512789)

Well you could power them via USB-otg and plug a keyboard into them directly using a USB wallplug power supply for ~$1.

But an I/O board itself for something like a desktop PC would only require a simple PCB ~$1, with TV encoder $0.50ea, RCA jack $0.15, RJ45 jack $0.50 and some passives $1 plus a power supply $2. So under $6 so far.

Add a SATA connector $0.20ea (if you want a HD), and some extra USB connectors for another $1 and larger power supply and you're still under $10 including a somple case.

Fell free to ask me for quotes and reference designs for any types of similar products.

Sounds good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39513279)

Now, tell me how a 10yo child will put this all together?

Oh, and you forgot to say how the OS will be delivered. Pretty simple though.

Re:Sounds good. (1)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39514111)

A 10 year old child will plug the EOMA68 card into the EOMA68 slot in their device such as a netbook, set-top-box etc with the IO board already inside. This should also work for most 9, 7 or even 5 year old children depending on the development of their motor skills.

EOMA68 cards will also come pre-installed in products with integral IO boards.

There is also a Developer IO board and Developer EOMA68 card for people that like to dabble with hardware.

Linux can come pre-installed on the Flash in the EOMA68 card or on a SD-card a plugged into the EOMA68 SD card slot opposite the edge with the 68 pin connector.

Let me know if you need any further info or help with expansion board designs for the Pi. The Pi and the eoma68 cards aren't a competition. They are different types of products that have some overlapping applications.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514141)

Not only that but the $15 is a basis cost for materials when ordering over 100k.

Re:Raspberry Pi already obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511969)

By the time anything is delivered it is obsolete ... if you compare to what's coming down the pipe but not yet delivered. This is why Cairo and WinFS were such wonderful products compared to the then-current competition.

Where's the actual hardware (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512435)

Raspberry Pi have reached the step, where there's actual hardware, which has arrived in Britain (and so is alread under the hands of the makers, can already be tested/developped on/hacked with/whatever by the internal developpers) and just awaits CE certification before getting shipped to the end-users.

The EOMA-68 card is currently on the paper stages:

The prototype schematics are presently being developed.

It will be some time before it ship, too.

Each time that some small scale, partially or fully open maker wants to put hardware on the market (be it Pandora console, OpenMoko FreeRunner phone or its newer GoldenDelicious motherboard, OLPC, Raspbery Pi, Always Innovating's SmartBooks, and countless other project), there are delays.
Because these aren't done by large-scale constructor with lots of expertise in designing circuit and who can leverage their big numbers of mass order to get priority for components. (Big names like Asus have experience. Big names like Apple get prioritised when ordering 4mio CPUs)
On the other hand, as these process are publicly documented, newer projects will learn from the mistakes of older ones.
So you can expect that: when the next ARM-based gizmo gets announced, there will be delays, but fewer than with previous projects, and the device will be less likely to be obsolated, or ridden with un expected bugs. (See the difference with the first OpenMoko phones, which went thourgh several problems, and took longer to complete, and the newest motherboard from GoldenDelicious which was produced with a much shorter delay).

Maybe in 5-10 years, such projects will have collectively cumulated enough experience so they can avoid common pitfalls, share some design elements, designing experience, and so on. And thus most projects of this kind will be really faster to reach end-users.

But currently, the kind of delays that the Raspberry Pi expirienced are normal, and will probably still be seen with other similar small scale projects.

is this coming someho to an end? (1)

scafuz (985517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511677)

it's starting to feel like Duke Nukem Forefer neverending saga. really don't like it, every week ther's some delay for things that obviously could have been correctly addressed way long before even starting the production, but noone took care of, speechless

Anyone still uses CE? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39511937)

I would think Xp embedded and the new Windows Mobile is the prefered platform from MS. CE is or in the process of being depreciated. No sense installing it for new devices as it is being retired.

Re:Anyone still uses CE? (1)

Christian Smith (3497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512031)

In case you're not joking:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_mark [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anyone still uses CE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512181)

They should just use the "China Export" version and start shipping already.

Re:Anyone still uses CE? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512903)

you can run ce on beagleboards ;)DD

It's a carrot on a stick at this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39511991)

I'm starting to wonder if the thing actually exists, or if it's the biggest fraud since Bernie Madoff or ENRON.

Re:It's a carrot on a stick at this point (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512199)

If each of the 10k initial batch were sold at $70 and they oversubscribed by 10:1 during pre-orders that's a take of $7M over a two year long con. Yeah, not approaching Enron or Bernie Madoff levels.

Madoff was a $18 billion (with a B) scam, Enron was an $11 billion scandal.

So try being a little less sensationalist since unless part of the contract with RS and Farnell includes cash up front the Raspberry Pi Foundation hasn't seen a dollar in their pockets yet except for the couple hundred dollars in stickers a few months ago.

Shady. (5, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512095)

I'm confused how the Pi folks thought they could claim the device is both unfinished and finished to avoid the import taxes and CE certification? It kind of makes me question their competence.

Re:Shady. (1)

FrozenFood (2515360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512297)

you know what, that is a very good point

is the rPi another Phantom console?

Re:Shady. (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512521)

Maybe the legal definition of a finished product with respect to import taxes is different from the definition with respect to CE marking...

Re:Shady. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512937)

that's the most insightful thing I've read all day. mods for you. I had forgotten they were tax dodging with that. this could very well be the reason. they tick a box saying it's a finished product and bam distributors start wanting ce certification on it.

Re:Shady. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514507)

Ah, that's just because you're presuming national tax bureaus have same definition of "finished" as a regional bureau mandated with "EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements.

Right, not bloody likely. Hence outfits use the definitions as they apply, and where it profits them they may make a product that achieves one and not the other.

Re:Shady. (4, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39514651)

Because import taxes and CE dictate different definitions of finished product.

This might imply your questions of competence should be directed to them instead, but bear in mind the respective organisations have quite different objectives and anyway the term is clearly a subjective one. It's not justifiable to burden one with the requirements of the other just so that the definition is consistent.

The thing that leads you back to questioning their competence may be that if they knew what they were doing they probably would have done it even if not required. It's common practice to do it just because it makes it a lot easier for anyone down the line who is turning it into a product that does require CE. Open a complex consumer product (your PC, for example) and you'll find CE stickers on about everything in there.

But it's a classic victim of it's own success. Basically all their strategy and decisions assumed a niche/enthusiast type product and their resulting actions may well have been perfectly appropriate had that been the case.

Raspberry Pi held Up By CE Certification (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512145)

"Raspberry Pi Foundation previously believed certification will not be necessary" reads the article. everything from electric pencil sharpeners to dishwashers goes through a CE certification so why wouldnt this? its roughly the same as UL in the states, and basically keeps things like toasters and tea kettles from murdering users.

Re:Raspberry Pi held Up By CE Certification (1)

Vairon (17314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513081)

Many other dev boards don't have CE certification either. Look through digikey.com or sparkfun.com at dev boards and you'll notice many are without CE certification. The RPF always planned on getting CE certification later this year before the educational release of the Raspberry Pi was made. At that point it would have also had a case and a manual. The only reason it's getting a CE cert now is because their distributors want it.

Re:Raspberry Pi held Up By CE Certification (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513479)

Many other dev boards don't have CE certification either

Yeah, but the Arduino UNO is CE and FCC certified...

Re:Raspberry Pi held Up By CE Certification (1)

Vairon (17314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513961)

Yes it is after 7 years of releasing their development boards. The original Arduino was not CE certified though. The Raspberry Pi Foundation was also planning on their original boards not being CE certified and subsequent boards getting CE certification.

A formality? (3, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512203)

The Raspberry Pi Foundation expects the sticker to be a formality

CE tests are more strict than FCC. If they have a leaky oscillator on the board - which is extremely likely if the board has poor ground or no shielding - then they are finished. I usually test prototypes on the bench, using a spectrum analyzer and a field probe. If that looks reasonable then the board goes into the chamber for measurements of real values.

It is not easy to meet those requirements. They are not liberal. The field will be measured up to several GHz, and the passing criteria is hard to meet if you have any sort of fast switching logic in your design. R-Pi has that.

They will be even testing for the noise that the switching power supply feeds back into the AC power. They better pick a good power supply. But wires are always a problem - they radiate as hell. That's why you often see ferrite beads on power cords - they are there not because the OEM decided to splurge on unnecessary stuff.

Re:A formality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512545)

1) when did ./ become oldnews.com? This has been known for a solid week. It's a development board which is not REQUIRED to get a CE mark, but the distrubutor is requesting it.

2) The rasberry pi does not contain an AC power supply, they would be testing with a DC input, which should be much easier. Of course this is exactly why they dont require a CE mark on development equipment.

Re:A formality? (2)

maxfresh (1435479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513227)

The Raspberry Pi is not a development board, no matter how much its fanboys repeat that same false assertion.

A development board is marketed and sold to companies and engineers to facilitate their research and development of finished end products based on the architecture embodied in the development board.

In contrast, the RPi is being marketed, sold, and hyped to death, as a very low cost general purpose computer, based on a proprietary and IP-restricted Broadcom SOC, to be used by school children (and hobbyists) to learn basic programming and micro-controller principles. None of the customers buying the RPi will be using it to design other finished products based on the RPi architecture.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the Raspberry Pi foundation's next excuse is that all of the boards are in Gregory Blepp's briefcase, and will be shipped out to customers just as soon as he returns from his vacation to never-never land.

Re:A formality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39513435)

This. Not only are they marketing it towards consumers, they are also using "it's not a development board" as an excuse whenever someone asks for hardware documentation or wants to do something slightly unusual with it.

Re:A formality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39513457)

the first 10k IS a development run. It was intended toward developers, (primarily) for the purpose of developing the additional software stack, case etc. neccicary to to a proper CE marked run for education.

The first 10k was NEVER been marketed, NEVER been hyped any more then word-of-mouth. They have done exactly 0 spending on marketing. No matter how much twits on /. claim otherwise.

At this point I'm expecting the poster here to be claming Eban is in league with the devil to get hopes up but never deliver.

Re:A formality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39514749)

LOL fanbois are so funny.

Re:A formality? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515071)

CE tests are more strict than FCC.

I thought it had been harmonized so everyone just uses EN55022.

The field will be measured up to several GHz

The latest EN55022 2006+A1:2007 version goes to 6GHz. The most problematic ranges I've seen for small devices like this are still in the 30-300MHz range.

Re:A formality? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515315)

I thought it had been harmonized so everyone just uses EN55022.

The last official testing that I was part of (about 8 months ago) involved different methods for FCC and CE marks. I don't have the folder with results with me, though, can't say much more. The last time I worked at the large company, they had special people who were responsible for tracking all these legislative changes.

The most problematic ranges I've seen for small devices like this are still in the 30-300MHz range.

I have seen harmonics up to 3 GHz. It all depends on what your product is, what oscillators it has, etc. I have a 250 MHz LVDS oscillator in the schematic on my screen right now; where would you expect its harmonics to be?

It is also much easier to radiate at high frequencies because the traces become matched, efficient, full height antennas, and general purpose (not $1/1 from ATC) decoupling capacitors nicely resonate there, only further tuning your undesired radiators. Never forget to stagger your decoupling - 100 pF, 10nF, 10uF. Was it done on R-Pi?

That's why I don't suggest looking at emissions testing as a formality. You never know what you got until you measure it. An experienced engineer can build a product that passes on the first try; the question then is, was the R-Pi board laid out for EMI compliance? Like, you know, multiple ground layers, well decoupled power planes, no ground loops, traces with dirty signals buried into the stackup - that kind of thing?

Re:A formality? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515777)

...they had special people who were responsible for tracking all these legislative changes.

No doubt. Sometimes the continuous changes seem like a full employment program.

I don't suggest looking at emissions testing as a formality.

Sound advice. I've seen and shed plenty of tears after a great functional design gets sent back to meet ever shifting regulatory requirements.

CE Approval (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39512261)

If they think getting the CE Certification is just a matter of filling out a formal application, then they are in for a rude awakening.

Just put the Chinese Exports CE mark on it :-) (3, Funny)

ze_jua (910531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39512661)

As the Raspberry Pi Foundation failed to produce these first boards in the UK ( see this article [raspberrypi.org] , previously linked on Slashdot [slashdot.org] ), the just have to put the China Exports [wikipedia.org] CE mark. :)

Someone dropped a bollock (1)

residents_parking (1026556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513113)

What if it needs board mods to meet ESD - what'll they do with 10000 units? Muppets.

Yeah and maybe Farnell are being stupid just because CE marking covers safety too.

USA Shipments Impacted? (1)

Jophiel04 (1341463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39513147)

The articles I've read about this are not very clear about whether or not this holds up the shipments destined for the United States. I don't understand why the retailers would be worried about having EU approval for the lots destined for the US, unless I'm missing something. As a side note, damn Newark, they pushed back my ship date to August without even sending an email notification.

Re:USA Shipments Impacted? (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515501)

I don't understand why the retailers would be worried about having EU approval for the lots destined for the US, unless I'm missing something.

You may be missing this [hackolog.com] . Can't sell to general public without FCC compliance of some sort. It's not CE, the rules are slightly different, but you have to test for that. There are many resources on the Internet about that, all confusing to uninitiated.

If R-Pi was never tested for CE then it's virtually guaranteed that the board never saw the inside of an anechoic chamber for any reason. Usually tests for both FCC and CE are cheaper than one test at a time.

Update on testing and shipping (1)

boley1 (2001576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39515591)

Quote from Element 14 (one of the two distributers) Full FAQs Here [element14.com]

The current situation is:
2000 Raspberry Pi’s are now in the UK. Pictures are posted here for anyone who doubts their existence!
The compliance teams of element14, RS and Raspberry Pi are working round the clock with the testing houses to assess the product now. Any issues that are identified (hardware or software) will then need to be rectified and we will ensure this happens as quickly as is humanly possible.
There are different compliance standards around the globe and we are focused on meeting all of those as quickly as possible. However, some may take longer than others.
As soon as these initial 2000 Boards are compliant to at least one set of required standards, we will receive our share of this first batch from Raspberry Pi. We will ship on a first come, first serve basis to countries where compliance standards have been demonstrably met. So, customers who ordered first in countries where compliance standards have been met, will receive the product first.
Regrettably, we cannot give any firm delivery commitments on Raspberry Pi’s until this testing is complete. Please be assured we will provide this information as soon as we can.
Once the product is fully compliant our manufacturing partners have the necessary stocks of components to ramp up production very quickly, so despite these frustrating, initial delays we are confident the picture will improve and lead times for new orders will reduce.

Lets do this politely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39516173)

First read this

Electronics Weekly reports on the Raspberry Pi CE testing process [electronicsweekly.com]

You know you can, its not difficult, you're supposed to be technically proficient.

Now, given this information, any of you care to retract your cretinous speculations? Hmmmmmm????

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