The founder of the Raspberry Pi has declared it the best selling British computer ever, as he unveiled the latest version of the credit card sized device today, February 29th 2016.
The Raspberry Pi 3 has been released to celebrate the computer’s 4th Birthday, and will retail at the same price as the current Raspberry 2 model, at £30.
Writing on the Raspeberry Pi blog, founder Eben Upton said: "Exactly four years ago, on 29 February 2012, we unleashed the original 256MB Raspberry Pi Model B on a largely unsuspecting world. Since then, we’ve shipped over eight million units, including three million units of Raspberry Pi 2, making us the UK’s all-time best-selling computer."
The latest incarnation has had something of an upgrade though. It now has a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, which the firm says gives it 10 times great performance than the performance of Raspberry Pi 1.
Critically, it now also has an integrated 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1. The upgrades mean that the Raspberry Pi users will no longer need to use peripherals connected by USB to hook the device up via wi-fi or Bluetooth. Given the limited number of USB ports the Raspberry Pi has, (there are only four,) this will give users significantly more flexibility in what they connect and how they use it.
The new Raspberry Pi 3 is also compatible with the older Raspberry Pi 1 and 2 devices, and the ports remain in the same place.
Speaking to the BBC, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton said: "The two main things that people do with their Pi are use it as a PC replacement or use it as an embedded computer. The Pi 3 is doubling down on both those things rather than going looking for new things to do."
Microsoft was also involved into today’s launch, as there will be a tie up between the two to use Raspberry Pi with Windows 10 IoT applications. The low powered version of Windows 10 will work on Raspberry Pi boards, continuing the Windows 10 Core compatibility that came with the Raspberry Pi 2. In this case, Microsoft worked with the British computer maker to ensure compatibility from the start.
On on the Raspberry Pi blog, Upton heralded the take up of the device, writing: "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has grown from a handful of volunteers to have over sixty full-time employees, including our new friends from Code Club. We’ve sent a Raspberry Pi to the International Space Station and are training teachers around the world through our Picademy program."
The device has always focussed on keeping costs low. In November 2015 it announced the Raspberry Pi Zero, a smaller version that sold for just $5.
As well as the usual retail outlet of Element14, the Raspberry Pi 3 can also be bought via the Microsoft Store, with Windows 10 preloaded on it from both outlets.