The Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller and its RP2040 chip were the surprise electronics news of 2021. Not just because this was the first foray into microcontrollers for the company, but also because they came at an eye-opening price (launched at just $4 for the board and $1 for the chip) along with a surprise amount of power. Plus, in a year of massive chip and component shortages, these were actually available.
Numerous outside vendors quickly adopted the RP2040 chips into their own designs, and the company has managed a balancing act of using them in their own Pico and supplying them to other manufacturers. Now, to make that process even more efficient, they announced Raspberry Pi Direct, a new tool to enable bulk orders of their RP2040 chips in reel configurations, at discounted prices — putting the chip well below a dollar each.
From their announcement:
Raspberry Pi Direct is an online storefront, which currently sells exactly two products:
• Reels of 500 RP2040 chips, with a unit price of $0.80
• Reels of 3,400 RP2040 chips, with a unit price of $0.70
Simply create an account, add products to your basket, and check out as you would do in any online store. We’ll contact you to arrange payment by bank transfer (Raspberry Pi Direct does not support credit or debit card payments), and ship your products once funds clear.
The number of boards employing the RP2040 chip is impressive — over 60 and counting as of last fall. From the major board makers like Adafruit, Arduino, and Sparkfun to independent hobbyists, the variety of creations powered by this new chip, in such a short amount of time, has been very impressive. You can learn more about the RP2040’s inception in our recent interview with Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton.