What’s Raspberry Pi you ask? Raspberry Pi is a low-cost single-board computer, first available for sale on February 29, 2012. This month marks the three-year anniversary of the introduction of one of the hottest products to hit the tech world in years, with over 5 million of these credit card-sized devices having been sold. For a mere $35, the latest version, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B+, features a Broadcom BCM2836 SoC, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and a VideoCore IV dual-core GPU; 1GB RAM; 4 USB ports and an Ethernet port; full HDMI support, all running off a single Micro SD card. After formatting or purchasing a pre-loaded SD card with the free Debian and Arch Linux ARM distributions, one needs only to add a keyboard and mouse, connect to any HDMI-supported display or television and they have a very functional computer at their fingertips. For more advanced projects, also included are a camera interface (CSI), a combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video, and 40-pin GPIO header are also included.
Created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK, it was built to “promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.” The familiar raspberry-style logo was selected from an open competition, and the design is based on a buckyball. With the amazing acceptance and success in such a short time, the organization boasts that it is “the biggest selling UK computer manufacturer ever.” Along with that success has seen the device used in numerous personal projects, multiple commercial successes, and the rise of several special interest and user groups worldwide such as the Raspberry Pi User Group on Facebook, one of the largest with over 18,000 member worldwide.
Along with the addition of more powerful version of the Pi comes a new twist in OS with Microsoft “delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2.” A Raspberry Pi 2 and Microsoft’s free copy of Windows 10 will allow one to effectively build a full PC for as little as $35.
The Raspberry Pi is a clear shift in paradigm, creating a computing device for the masses, accessible to all. We are sure to see its numbers continue to rise as it finds a home not only in the educational arena, but also on the desks of enthusiasts and embedded in products the world over.