The Raspberry Pi Zero, a $5 microcomputer for those building Internet of Things devices and robotics, sold out within 24 hours, and some who got them free with magazines are looking to make a quick profit by selling them through eBay at huge markups. Launched Thursday, about 20,000 copies of the microcomputer were sold with all copies of the MagPi magazine that each came with a free copy of the computer, which is the size of a pack of gum. There are a number of Raspberry Pi Zeros listed for sale via eBay, with one seller looking for $150 for a copy of MagPi magazine.
Addressing what she calls scalpers on eBay, Liz Upton, head of communications at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said Zeros would be produced as long as people were demanding them. "We will continue to make Zeros for as long as you guys want them. It looks like demand will continue to outstrip supply for a while if yesterday's rush is anything to go by, but we're doing our very best to keep channels open, and we advise you not to buy from scalpers on eBay, because ... karma."
Upton's husband, Eben Upton, the founder of the foundation, told Wired that despite previous rushes for earlier versions of the microcomputer, the interest in the latest model still took him by surprise:
"You'd think we'd be used to it by now, but we're always amazed by the level of interest in new Raspberry Pi products. Right now, it appears that we've sold every individual Zero we made and most of the 10,000 MagPi issues with cover-mounted units; people are scouring the country for the last few Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury and Smiths branches that haven't sold out."
Upton said that within 12 hours of the magazine going on sale the publisher had reached what is known as a "technical sellout," meaning at least 80 percent of copies were sold, something that last happened in the U.K. in the 1970s with a female version of Playboy magazine.
— Richard Hancock (@CanaryWorf) November 26, 2015
The original Raspberry Pi was launched three years ago at $20. Several iterations since have seen the technical specifications of the microcomputers improved while the price has remained hugely accessible. The new version is even smaller -- the size of a stick of gum -- and while it is less powerful than the Raspberry Pi 2, it still offers sufficient hardware to run everything from the video game "Minecraft" to the visual-programming tool Scratch.
Those who have managed to get their hands on the new microcomputer have been sharing just what tasks they have assigned to the Raspberry Pi Zero:
— Astro Designs (@AstroDesignsLtd) November 27, 2015
— PenguinTutor (@penguintutor) November 27, 2015