We love the Raspberry Pi. Who wouldn’t? The £30 Raspberry Pi was initially created so more children could learn computer science at school. It’s cheap, it’s credit card-sized, and ideal for tech hobbyists who need a tiny computer for projects including robots, retro games consoles, and even cat flaps that tweet. We love writing about our favourite projects and creating our own.
Today marks the fourth birthday of the Raspberry Pi, the UK’s top-selling computer of all time. The Pi has seen a few iterations over the years including an even tinier Raspberry Pi Zero released last year for just £4. To mark the four year anniversary, the next full-size model has been announced. The Raspberry Pi 3 delivers some of the features most requested by the community: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
As usual for Pi updates, the Raspberry Pi 3 is more powerful than its predecessors. The 32-bit, 900 MHz processor of the Raspberry Pi 2 has been replaced with a 64-bit quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, which should make the whole computer feel smoother. The new built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are welcome additions as the previous models required an ethernet connection to get online. Most Wi-Fi dongles are compatible with the various Pi models but it meant losing a valuable USB port.
The Raspberry Pi 3’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity means it will have easier internet access; easier connection of peripherals such as keyboards; and improved possibilities for hardware projects. The Pi can now transfer data wirelessly between sensors or motors meaning the Pi doesn’t have to be physically attached. This opens up new possibilities for DIY tech and science projects using the Pi. At a time when home automation and the Internet of Things are on the minds of most tech manufacturers, the Pi could be a powerful tool for tapping into the connected devices around our homes.
The creation of the more capable Raspberry Pi 3 and the absolutely tiny Raspberry Pi Zero suggests that the charity sees a divergence where the full-size Pi is more commonly used a full computer (e.g. in classrooms) and the Pi Zero becomes the default Pi for use as a controller in DIY projects.
The Raspberry Pi has been an overwhelming success since it was launched on this day four years ago. Most schools can afford computers now; people in the developing world can more easily obtain their own open PC; and the Pi has even been used in space. The team created a video to celebrate the adventures and shenanigans that have used the Raspberry Pi over the years.