Long Term OLinuXino supply – How it works?

Screenshot from 2019-05-16 14-50-39

We got question from customer of ours: “We are using your A20-OLinuXino in our product and I’ve heard that you are going to stop the production soon, is this true?”

Most of our customers are industrial machine producers and they need long term supply from their vendors. They do certification for their machines which cost a lot and they can’t afford to spend more money every year because the Linux module is not produced or changed. We already wrote several post on our blog that we supply our boards until there is demand for them and that we have long term supply agreement with Allwinner, but some people spread rumors and I have to write it and make it clear again: We will produce OLinuXino boards until there is demand. It’s even included in our GTC.

When back in 2014 I posted that we can supply OLinuXino forever many people were skeptical (well yes it is exaggerated 🙂 ) and wrote back – do not believe Chinese suppliers, they will let you down etc. etc.

Allwinner though is keeping their promise and we can buy all Allwinner SOCs we use without problem. Our volumes allow us to meet their MOQ.

For instance A13 SOC is very old and Allwinner discontinued it several years ago, it’s even not listed on their web as product, but we still keep buying it and producing A13 boards for our customers. We have also many customers which used our boards as template to make their own variants and now we supply them with A13 SOCs so they keep manufacturing them. You will not find A13 for sale anywhere even in China, but we are expecting next lot of 90Kpcs A13 to come from Allwinner in few weeks. Yes we have to order such quantities as Allwinner need 3 month to produce the SOCs from the order to shipment.

Many customers ask can you guarantee 10-15-20 years of supply? I doubt anyone in industry can see so long ahead. Allwinner is young company, founded September 2007, i.e. less 12 years old. Who knows what they will do after 20 years? We see that Western companies with much more history change owners every year and no one knows what the new owner will decide to do, so no one can give you 10-20 years prediction or will simply intentionally or unintentionally mislead you.

For A13 and A20 this agreement works well last 7 years. Both we at Olimex and Allwinner has no reason stop production, which brings money to both of us. We got visit from Allwinner sales manager in March this year and he said that they never though they can sell A13 and A20 for so long time. Most of other SOCs they sell target consumer market where lifetime is 1-2 years top.

Linux and Open Source Hardware works well for them and prolong their sales.

How Long OLinuXino boards with Allwinner SoCs will be available II ?

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We already had blog post about this https://olimex.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/how-long-olinuxino-boards-with-allwinner-socs-will-be-available/

With the upcoming release of A20-SOM which is now on prototype stage and will be for sale end of September we have more and more customers evaluating possibility to use these A20-SOM in their designs and we got at least dozen of such questions, so we addressed them to Allwinner directly asking how long A20 will be produced.

Today we got Allwinner’s official answer. According to Eva Wu, the marketing manager in Allwinner the normal product life of Allwinner ICs is 3-4 years.

This means A20 which is released in 2013 will be active at least until 2017.

What Eva said is that if Allwinner decide to retire chip they notify their key customers (and Olimex is one of them) so they can make Last Time Buy for any quantity they want.

With this Last Time Buy option we at Olimex commit that we can stock the chips we need for year ahead and to notify our customers about this, so effectively we can prolong the availability to 5 years which is the standard life cycle which most of industry SoC vendors (Freescale, Texas Instruments, ST etc) do.

Same apply for all boards we have with Allwinner chips A10-A10S-A13-A20.