The global semiconductor shortage

You may have noticed that some products like cars and electronics have been harder to find recently.

A shock to the system

When COVID-19 shut down large parts of the world economy in 2020, this led to rippling effects on the supply chain of silicon chips used everywhere from cars to gaming consoles.

An unprecedented shortage

This turned into an intense, global shortage of silicon chips, and almost anything remotely containing silicon has been affected.

What does it mean for altimeters?

Unfortunately, we use the exact same chips in our altimeters - MEMS barometers, microcontrollers, GPS modules - so we have also been severely affected by this shortage. The Brilliant Pebbles has been less affected because it uses fewer parts, but hardly any X2s have been sold in 2021 due to this issue.

Surely you can get anything at the right price?

Theoretically, yes - but AON2 is a small company, and if companies like Apple can't even secure enough chips, we stand no chance. The automotive industry alone is expected to lose around US$100 billion due to the shortage.

So when will it end?

When the shortage first hit, we expected it to last until the end of 2021. Unfortunately, that was clearly wrong - it's now 2022 and the shortage is more intense than ever. Manufacturers such as Intel have indicated that the shortage will last at least until the end of 2022 and possibly into 2024 when more factories (currently under construction) start producing more chips. (Update, 27/04/2022: reports are now indicating the shortage will last until 2024)

So what happens now?

We searched high and low for parts and we have finally managed to manufacture ONE batch of X2s at the end of 2021! But this has cost a LOT of money, so unfortunately we have been forced to increase the price of the X2.

In any case, we don't think we'll be able to put another manufacturing run together until 2024 at the earliest. So if you want to get an X2, don't delay! Demand for the X2 is extremely high and we don't think it will stay in stock for very long.

What about Project Obsidian?

While Project Obsidian is still under development, we have taken a risk and acquired all needed components for ONE limited production run this year. This will be an extremely small batch and stocks will be very limited.

It will be the same situation as for the X2: if you don't get one from this batch, we don't have any timeline for when the next manufacturing run will be - our suppliers are indicating it will be in 2024.

I want to buy one, so what do I do?

For the X2, we're finalising quality checks and hope to restock them on our store soon. For Project Obsidian, we will also be opening for preorders soon. To get notified, please subscribe to our mailing list and/or follow us on social media so you can buy one as soon as they become available!

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