They say that every human year is equal to about 7 for a dog, so a 5 year old dog is about the same as a 35 year old person. Now imagine how that ratio applies to computers, especially when it comes to mobile computers like tablets and phones for example, with the seemingly relentless release of new models on a schedule that appears to be getting faster each year you could be forgiven for thinking that a human year might be closer to a century in the world of technology.
When the Raspberry Pi foundation released the latest model a few weeks ago the product brief contained a very interesting little note that proudly proclaims ‘The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ will remain in production until at least January 2023’. At first glance that doesn’t mean much, until you stop for a moment and consider that they are committing to 5 years of continuous production for a device that is essentially a minor upgrade of the model 3B, one that has already been around since February 2016.
There’s much more to producing a board than just the manufacturing, there is the logistics of supplying the components that go on the board. The 2023 commitment means that Raspberry Pi also have to be certain Broadcom will supply the SoC for the duration, that memory supplies will be available as well as peripheral chips such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LAN, that’s no small undertaking given the speed at which things change in the technology industry.
But there is also a huge plus in this commitment for all of us who seek to use the Raspberry Pi as the basis for creating gadgets, certainty, the confidence that we can design things today and invest time to develop projects knowing that the core component will be available next year, the year after and the year after that for at least the next 5 years.
Many people seem to be waiting, wishing and hoping for the Pi 4 to arrive as soon as possible, while the next release of the Pi will no doubt bring with it exciting new possibilities it will also bring uncertainty and delays while every other part of the Pi ecosystem is updated to support it.
Right now we have 5 uninterrupted Pi years ahead of us so let’s make the most of it, after all if you were a dog it would be almost half your lifetime.