why do you need to think twice before moving to the raspberry pi 4 in your next smart product ?
New Raspberry Pi is here, it's really exciting news for the Single Board Computers (SBCs) community and for the ones who just began developing a smart product with Linux inside. But sometimes going forward and using the latest available technology makes the development more difficult and complex than using the previous, yet stable option.
Let's try to cover up some important points when considering to use the new Raspberry Pi 4 in the next smart product development we are going in to.
It's true that the Raspberry Pi 4 brings significant upgrades compared to the previous versions of Raspberry Pi's SBCs. It's the first ready-to-use SBC to come with dual monitor support and USB-C port to power it up.
There's also an option to upgrade the RAM size on the board, Bluetooth 5.0, an upgraded ARM processor that can handle larger software tasks (3x performance compared to the last Pi 3 b+) , an 4k output capability and full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet.
But as we rifled through these new features and upgrades to embedded developers and project managers asking about the Pi 4, it was obviously clear for them that those aren't updates that Pi based project managers need to rush toward and prematurely ditch their old Pi for. At least for those who don't need an extremely powerful CPU and two monitor outputs.
That's to say the Raspberry Pi 3 b+ may still do what their developers want them to do very well, and the Pi 4 features don't necessarily pose much of a value proposition.
In some cases the Raspberry Pi 4 is even less suitable for the mission, the powerful hardware come in a cost of a high battery consumption which requires a bigger battery. Even Raspberry's industrial clients asked to keep producing the old Pi 3 b+ for exactly those reasons, and responded positively:
"We have a lot of industrial customers who will want to stick with the existing products for the time being. We’ll keep building these models for as long as there’s demand"
This of course not surprising at all considering the significant amount of smart product projects that uses Pi’s on a battery as the only power source of the product and can't provide 37% more amps compared to the Raspberry Pi 3 b+ battery consumption.
The battery consumption isn’t the only thing we should take in consideration when thinking of moving forward to the newest Raspberry Pi model, some developers already complain about overheating problems they experience and some already talking about charging problems they have with the new USB-C power socket.
The Raspberry Pi 4 is still a new "toy" in the SBC community and probably it will take some time until things get clear about other issues and tricks that can affect the production process of our products.