Coders, engineers, and makers of all stripes have made some pretty amazing things with the Raspberry Pi, a powerful-yet-inexpensive microcomputer. There was the ‘Glasshole’ Detector, which could kick invasive Google Glass devices off local wi-fi networks. The Super Mega Ultra Pi Boy 64 was a favorite classic video game fans. And the Comcast complaint-bot set Twitter ablaze.
But Claire Doyle, the global head of Raspberry Pi for Element14, says the best thing she ever saw made with a Raspberry Pi was a remote controlled Lego crocodile, programmed by a young child. “To see a five-year-old writing code to make his favorite Lego crocodile move,” says Doyle, “that was personally a tug on the heart strings.”
With Feb. 29’s announcement of the Raspberry Pi 3, there looks to be many more amazing inventions in store. Faster, more powerful, and packing on-board connectivity options, this next generation microcomputer will alleviate many pain points for innovative tinkerers. But most importantly, like previous models, the Pi 3 also won’t be a pain in the wallet.
Built on a quad-core Broadcom BCM2837 64-bit ARM processor, the 1.20 GHz Pi 3 offers a big speed bump over the previous generation 900Mhz Pi 2. The new Pi also cranks up the power with a 2.5-Amp power source.
“A lot of customers around the world had been plugging an increasing the amount of accessories into the Pi 2,” says Doyle. “So they need more power into the board and out of the board, to power those external USB devices.”
But they won’t need added electrical to power wi-fi or Bluetooth LE dongles, because those features are now embedded into the microcomputer, making it easier to connect Pi 3 to the web or other computers. “The connectivity is absolutely amazing on this board,” says Doyle. And these two additions also make the microcomputer’s low price — still $35 — even more impressive.
“We’re delivering this board at this price point time and time again, but giving customers a much better experience,” says Doyle. An official partner of Raspberry Pi, Element14 is the leading manufacturer and distributor of these low-cost, open source computers. To date, the company has sold more than 5 million Raspberry Pi devices.