People Are Starting To Buy Those $US35 'Raspberry Pi' Mini-Computers

Over 2m Raspberry Pi computers have been sold globally since going on sale for around £30 in February 2012.
It took a year to sell the first million of the card-sized barebones computers, but sales accelerated in 2013, with the 2m milestone being reached in the last week of October.

“It took us almost exactly a year to sell the first million Raspberry Pis,” wrote Liz Upton from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “Going on that basis, we calculated that we might, if we were lucky, reach the second million around January 2014, or slightly afterwards — we were confident we’d get there by the end of February 2014.

“It was a bit of a shock at the end of last week when we got the latest sales figures and discovered that the 2,000,000th Raspberry Pi was sold in the last week of October,” Upton continued.

A basic computing platform for hobbyists, teachers, pupils and corporations alike

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized, bare-bones computer that uses a smartphone-like ARM processor to provide a basic and extensible computing platform for hobbyists, teachers, pupils and corporations.

The small computer has USB ports for a keyboard and mouse, an Ethernet port, a SD card slot, and an HDMI port for connecting to a monitor or a TV. It runs a variant of the free open-source operating system Linux, which powers many web servers and Android smartphones.

Nearly 40,000 Raspberry Pis produced a week in Wales

In October, it was announced that 1m Raspberry Pis had been manufactured in Britain.

The initial batch of the computer were made in China, but a partnership between the Raspberry Pi Foundation, RS Components and Premier Farnell saw all Raspberry Pi manufacturing moved to a Sony-owned manufacturing plant in Pencoed, Wales, in September 2012.

Since June 2012, production of Raspberry Pis at the Pencoed factory has been ramped up from just 204 a week to nearly 40,000 in April 2013.

‘More work to do to ensure that schools are ready for this new wave of mini-computers’

The Raspberry Pi has often been hailed as the affordable, programmable computer for schools, and while it certainly is a step in the right direction, school IT infrastructure isn’t keeping pace.

“Since its launch last year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been on a mission to transform the education experience for students, but is it delivering? The reality is that there is more work to do to ensure that schools are ready for this new wave of mini computers,” explained Nick Williams, senior product manager at networking specialist Brocade.

“Whilst the devices on offer to schools have taken a quantum leap in affordability and accessibility, schools still exist with 20-year-old networking technology and the sums just do not add up,” Williams said.

• In November, an affordable 9in high-definition screen for use with the Raspberry Pi smashed its funding goal in just 50.5 hours

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