It also has one big advantage over similarly priced alternatives — a community and a track record. There are so many Pis out there that it has a stability that any IoT developer will find reassuring. Thus when the Pi Zero at $5 was announced it was a knockout blow for many of its competitors.Suddenly other previously attractive devices simply looked less interesting. The $9 C.H.I.P, the $20 CodeBug and even the free BBC MicroBit lost some of their shine and potential users.
But the Pi Zero sold out.
The Pi Zero was supposed to be available from November 26, 2015. It is now the start of February and all of the stockists, including the Pi Swag Shop, are still showing out of stock. That's two whole months, and counting, of restricted supply which is more than an initial hiccup.
Of course you would expect enough to be made available initially to meet the expected demand.
The Pi sells something in the region of 200,000 per month so what do you think the initial run of the Pi Zero actually was?
The answer is 20,000 units. Of which 10,000 were stuck to the cover of MagPi and "given away" leaving just 10,000 in the usual distribution channels. And yet Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, commented:
"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,"
Well yes, you really would think that they might be used to it by now and perhaps even prepared for it.
At the time of writing the Pi Zero is still out of stock and when it is briefly in stock customers are limited to one unit.
A victim of its own success, yes, but the real victims are the Raspberry Pi's competitors.