PI’S THE LIMIT
Premier Farnell launches latest version of its mini-computer for schools
PREMIER FARNELL has launched the latest version of its Raspberry Pi mini-computer, which has built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The Leeds-based firm said Raspberry Pi 3 will have twice the performance of the previous generation but will cost the same as its predecessor at £26.
Premier Farnell’s element14 division, which manufactures and distributes Raspberry Pi, said the new generation board is faster and more powerful than ever before and comes with built-in wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity.
Claire Doyle, global head of Raspberry Pi at element14, said that prior to the launch of Pi 3, customers who wanted Wi-Fi had to buy a wireless dongle.
“So Wi-Fi is already on board at the same price,” she said.
“Customers will get more functionality for their money.”
The launch of Pi 3 coincides with the fourth anniversary of the launch of the original Raspberry Pi mini-computer.
“When we launched four years ago Raspberry Pi was designed to get kids programming. It was marketed at a price point to make it affordable for kids. We thought we’d sell 10,000 units, but we’ve sold five million over the past four years,” said Ms Doyle.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is providing teaching courses for teachers and after school clubs to get children interested in programming and Premier Farnell is working with Leeds Beckett University and a number of schools in the local area.
“We’ve been working with a
It’s still $35 and it’s still the size of your credit card. Ebon Upton, chief executive of Raspberry Pi Trading
whole host of schools throughout the country,” said Ms Doyle.
Children have used the Raspberry Pi technology in thousands of different ways.
“A highlight for me was seeing a five-year-old programme his lego crocodile to make it remote controlled,” said Ms Doyle.
Element14 is running and sponsoring a ‘Wearables Technology Challenge’ with 10 local schools, with the finals on March 15 at Leeds Beckett University. A number of schools are sing
Raspberry Pi in their entries. the This can be in the form of a flashing badge or a skirt that flashes different colours.
Ms Doyle said that while Raspberry Pi was intended for children, it now has a far greater reach.
“We are also targeting the maker market – people who want to make stuff such as remote controlled devices,” she said.
There is also the industrial market where people are using the mini-computer as part of a finished product, such as boiler systems or fridges.
“We’ve identified 70 to 80 major segments. Raspberry Pi can be used by anyone for anything they want to do with it,” said Ms Doyle.
“It’s an amazing technology at such an accessible price point.”
The new board can be used with accessories such as the recently launched Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Display.
Raspberry Pi 3 runs at 1.20GHz, a significant increase from the 900MHz on the Raspberry Pi 2. It has improved power management and an upgraded switched power source to support more powerful external USB devices.
Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, said: “Four years ago, we launched the first Raspberry Pi with our friends at Premier Farnell.
“Today, we’re launching Raspberry Pi 3. It’s still $35 and it’s still the size of your credit card, but now it comes with on-board wireless LAN and Bluetooth, and 50 per cent more processing power.”
CLAIRE DOYLE: ‘It was marketed at a price point to make it affordable for kids. We thought we’d sell 10,000, but we’ve sold five million over past four years.’