GMMK PRO Possible QMK Compatibility Impacts from Global Chip Shortage (Updated 8/21)

Glorious HQ

April 22, 2021

Update (8/21):

Several months ago we announced that there was the possibility we would have to switch our ARM microcontroller to a new chip. This was primarily due to the fact that the ST32 microcontrollers in our boards are very difficult to source at scale right now given the current state of the supply chain (I’m sure you’ve read a lot about the global chip shortages already). In the event we had to switch over the chip, this would have potentially resulted in a temporary loss of compatibility with QMK/VIA until we were able to complete the firmware development.

Fortunately, we have thus far been able to source enough ST32 chips to continue production with them for the foreseeable future. This has also fortunately given us plenty of time to finalize development of QMK/VIA compatibility for the new chip in the event we have to switch over sometime next year, so there should not be any loss of compatibility on production units.

So in summary, we no longer expect any outages of QMK/VIA compatibility in new boards.

What Is The Situation?  

You may have read there is currently an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor microchips. This is affecting supply chains across a huge range of industries, from automotive to computer manufacturing. As a result, the ARM microcontrollers we use to power the GMMK PRO firmware are in extremely short supply.

While we have been able to source enough of the MCUs to produce GMMK PROs so far, there have been repeated delays and difficulties getting a hold of enough to meet the level of production demand. Fortunately, our engineers have identified a more widely available chipset that can be used as a replacement.

We have enough of the current MCU to support production through Q3 (July) 2021. If we cannot source enough of the current MCUs, we plan to switch to the new chip from Q3 onward.

How Does This Affect QMK Compatibility?

This new chipset does not support QMK compatibility by default. Our team is actively working on developing this functionality, but this process will take some time. At this point it is unclear if we will have QMK support ready by the time keyboards are being produced with the new chip.

This means there may be a period of time when new GMMK PRO boards do not have QMK support out of the box. To be clear, we 100% intend to make this functionality work, but for some users it may need to be added via a software/firmware update at a future date.

Unfortunately, we cannot give any exact dates due to the fluid nature of the situation. We will continue to update our social media channels and our blog to keep you informed.

Note: To clarify, this compatibility would only possibly affect boards produced in Q3 onwards. This would not affect existing boards in customers hands or those already in production.

There is also a chance that we’re able to get a hold of enough of the original MCUs that this won’t be an issue. At this point we’re planning for every precaution.

When a new reservation is placed, customers will be given a prompt to indicate if their unit may possibly be affected by this change. If you didn’t get a prompt, then your board will not be affected.

Why Is This Happening?

The global chip shortage is being fueled by many factors coming to a head, causing supply crunches across industries ranging from cars to planes to home appliances to computers (and of course, keyboards).

Like so many issues these days, COVID19 is at the heart of the problem. Throughout the pandemic, many consumer products which use these chips have seen unprecedented levels of demand. And as global economies recover, this demand is continuing to surge.

And because over the years many chip manufacturers have opted to invest into expanding production into newer, more expensive technologies, rather than the mass-market chips which are in highest demand right now, they haven’t been able to keep up.

Making matters worse, fires at chip factories, trade disputes, COVID shutdowns, labor strikes, and more have confounded the problem. It has been a perfect storm that has ripple effects throughout the entire world’s supply chain.

Unfortunately, since it takes a lot of time and money to expand production at these high-tech production facilities, it's not something that can be solved overnight. At this point there is a lot of uncertainty how long it will last.

Lucky for us, Glorious is still a relatively small company, so we’re able to adapt on the fly to these rapidly changing conditions.

For more information, check out this article on the subject from Nasdaq.


gibe keborb:

Ordered Nov 14th 2020 still no news.

April 30, 2021

Anthony Y Lyons:

I haven’t gotten my confirmation to fulfill my order and I placed my order back on December 14th 2020. I’m part of the Flex Batch as well. Checking my email every day for updates but nothing so far. Will mine also lack the chip or compatibility?

April 29, 2021


I agree with Fair, as I would really like to know where I am in line and if it’s viable to cancel or switch from the White Ice to the Black variant

April 29, 2021


Given this dilema, I really feel you should find a way to let flex batch reserves know where they stand in line with their reservation. Well for one I know you guys are shipping on a rolling basis. But knowing what the current situation it would be nice to know if I need to cancel my order or if it would be viable to keep my order.

April 28, 2021


My sentiments reflect John’s, I bought board because of QMK/VIA compatibility. Feels like I have been ripped off.

Glorious, please just release the specs/schematics of the board and let the open source community take a whack at it. Developers already know the MCU and infer the layout of the keyboard switches to the MCU from current QMK code, but the LED driver is unknown and how the LEDs are connected to it. Give the open source community the driver chip name so they can get the datasheet and work on the RGB support. They will know the chip if you ever put in RGB support, so why not just help them out now to help you out? Free labor from the open source community, then you can work on the Core software which I’m sorry to say is super really awful.

Don’t get me wrong, I personally like the GMMK Pro but like I said earlier, I feel ripped off with the way it was advertised. Right now I can’t in good conscience recommend to friends (a coworker asked me how it is and I had to be brutally honest and said given a second chance I would not get right now, but even worse now with this news of no QMK in future).

April 27, 2021


Curious as well. When are the next flex batch boards going out? I haven’t had any kind of email update yet.

April 27, 2021


Fair enough. Thanks for coming forward with this.
Yet, you have not addressed the fact that the initial design doesn’t use one of the integrated circuits for Lightning (LED Matrix, RGB Matrix or RGB lighting) supported by QMK or the hardware abstraction layer of the underlying real time operating system (ChibiOS).
This is something that you knew was missing when you announced the keyboard, yet you still included QMK and VIA as part of the features announced. I wouldn’t have reserved of not for these features.
Then, at the time of starting the sales, you didn’t make public that this product was feature-incomplete as compared with the announcement – as it is impossible to drive the LEDs with QMK (or otherwise remap keys).
Maybe, if you made public the details required to get the RGB lightning working some users the community could help to make it happen.
But I suspect that the RGB driver chip that you are using (as well as the new MCU selected for future keyboards) are not supported by ChibiOS. I’m that case, Glorious will have to commit to own the integration of those new chips into ChibiOS. That will give Glorious the opportunity to give back to the keyboard open source community that is driving their current business bubble.

April 26, 2021


Where is my flex batch board???

April 26, 2021

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