This is how Allwinner keep their promise for long term supply with Olimex

A13s

Today 39.6 K pcs A13 arrived to our warehouse. This is partial shipment of our 90 K pcs order placed in April, the balance is testing now and will be shipped this month. Allwinner produced these A13 SOC exclusively for us. As you can see from the label these left factory 27th of August 2019:

A13

A13-OLinuXino was our first board with Allwinner SOC.

We released it 7 years ago back in 2012.

Although A13 is officially discontinued from Allwinner web site, A13-SOM and A13-OLinuXino are still very popular boards among our customers and we supply them in large quantity.

This is example how working Long Term supply can be achieved with company from China. Note that Allwinner do not say that they will stop manufacturing A13 after 10 years, they will keep producing as long as their masks are OK and there is demand.

 

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 50 000 A10 SoCs from Allwinner looks like?

A10-CARTONS

A10 Cortex-A8 chip is the heart of A10-OLinuXino-LIME EUR 30 Linux Open Source Hardware computer. Allwinner start the production of A10 back in 2012 and at the end of 2014 decided to stop it’s production as none of the mass volume producers like tablet or Android IPTV dongle manufacturers wanted to continue to manufacture with it.

For our type of business though – embedded applications it’s not good to change your design every couple of years, so we asked Allwinner if there is minium quantity of A10 which they will be able to run custom production for us and they said 50 000 pcs. We placed our order in December 2014 and they shipped to us on 30 of March as we agreed. Now we have enough stock to keep producing A10-OLinuXino-LIME for a while, and if the stock is over we can make new order to Allwinner, this way we can keep the A10-OLinuXino-LIME production as long as there is demand for it.

A10-CARTON

As you can see these chips are fresh and left the factory 20/03/2015 🙂

How Long OLinuXino with Allwinner SOCs will be produced…again :) Now we know the answer – Forever!

A10-OLinuXino-LIME-1

We already blogged twice about this: here and here, but you know what? People keep asking this question again and again.

Lot of serious customers are concerned about the long term availability of Allwinner SOCs before put them into their product.

Until now we didn’t know what to answer, to ask Allwinner (which is 5 years old company) if they will produce their SOC A10 for instance 10 years seems not good idea as in Chinese culture is known that they never will directly say no, and will tell you what you want to hear 🙂

Well now I know already how it works. We got message from Allwinner that A10 processor volumes now are low (for they normal volumes and this is understandable as no one is producing Tablets now with A10 when there is A20 at about same price and with more power). So Allwinner decide to stop keeping A10 on stock.

So that is! A10 processor which manufacturing started in 2011 now in 2014 is retired, normal life cycle of 3 years is what you should expect for Allwinner products.

But here is the catch!

I asked them what is the minimum quantity which Allwinner will be interested to run lot of A10 for us and keep same pricing?
And the answer came today: 50Kpcs and 90 days production time. SO even if the processor is retired and Allwinner do not want to keep it in stock you still can order their processors and they will produce for you!
This means the problem with the longevity program is over!
We can keep producing Allwinner SOC boards as long as there is enough demand for them.

A10-OLinuXino-LIME EUR 30 board will be produced forever and ever as far there is same demand like it have now! We just placed 50K order for A10 processors which will be delivered in March 2015 and we have enough stock at our site to keep the production till then.

 

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.

How Long OLinuXino boards with Allwinner SoCs will be available?

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We get this question often from our customers.

We usually produce our boards as long as there is demand for them and we can buy the components which are used.

Our customers worry that if they put some of our OLinuXino boards with Allwinner SoC in their product there will be problems to source them later in 1-2 years ahead.

Frankly I do not know the right answer for this question.

We have not so much experience with Allwinner, we work with them since March 2012 this is about 16 months.

What Allwinner says is that they do not discontinue their obsolete processors and you can always buy them, they say they sell now even their old F20 series processors if one wants to buy, but we can’t try as we do not use them.

We all know that Allwinner is working in very dynamic market – tablets, phones, media devices where on every 6 month you either release newer, faster, cheaper SoC or you are dead and nobody remembers you.

This makes impression that once obsolete Allwinner will not produce these processors as they are focused on the newest SoCs which take the major sales.

Well when we started in March 2012 the high runner for Allwinner were A10, A13 and A10s, now the major sales they make are with A20 and A31, but we do not experience any problems to order any quantities of A13, A10, A10s although these are already behind their peak sales.

What will be the situation 2-3 years from now?

I dont know, but if Allwinner still sell their 5-6 years old F20 processors why they will not sell their newer A10-A10s-A13?