The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a longtime cult favorite among the DIY pocket computer crowd, has just stepped up their game.
The company, which just celebrated its fourth anniversary, has always taken what might be considered a rogue approach to tiny tech. And for their latest news-making anniversary special, they opted to debut the nearly 60 percent faster, Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled Raspberry Pi 3. The cost of the latest and greatest product in their line? Exactly the same as the first product they debuted four years ago - $35.
The Raspberry Pi 3, with all its newly upgraded bells and whistles, is the first in its line that can truly be considered a viable replacement for a PC. Onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have long been at the top of the most-wanted list for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, and their inclusion in the latest model open up a world of possibilities. These new features open the door for smart home automation and a bevy of IoT devices, not to mention the opportunities afforded by a cloud-based system. This means that not only can you now use a wireless mouse and keyboard with your Pi, but it will also be able to collect data from various sensors and devices without having to be wired to them. The Raspberry Pi 3 also got a major boost in the processing department, and now comes with a new 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor (all previous versions have been 32-bit). While it offers the same 1GB of RAM as its predecessor, it has gone from 450MHz to 900MHz. Even the VideoCore IV graphics received a little power bump, up to 400MHz from 250. And to keep everything running smoothly, the newest Pi boasts improved power management as well as an upgraded switched power source.
The notion of upgrading and adding to a product generally stems from the motivation to sell more of them, and for more money. But that’s just not how the Raspberry Pi team thinks. According to Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading (the charity’s commercial arm), pulling off this feat really came down to a matter of timing. First and foremost, they had to wait for the price of the components themselves to go down so that the company could maintain their commitment to offering affordable pocket PC’s, the vision that helped to make them famous in the first place. Once that happened, it was up to Raspberry Pi Trading to build a team that could handle the new workload. “That stuff was maybe beyond us in the previous generation, when we did Raspberry Pi 2,” Upton says, referring to last year’s release. Now, with nearly double the staff that they had at last year’s release, the timing seemed right to debut the Pi that may actually see some success in functioning as a full PC replacement.
A few hundred thousand units of the Pi 3 go on sale this month and if history is any indication, those won’t last more than a week. If you don’t happen to be one of the lucky few hundred thousand to get your hands on one, the company has assured that they will continue to produce roughly 100,000 Raspberry Pi 3 devices each week until the demand has been met.
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