PI’S THE LIMIT

Premier Far­nell launches lat­est ver­sion of its mini-com­puter for schools

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - ROS SNOW­DON CITY EDITOR ■ Email: ros.snow­don@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @RosSnow­donYPN

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.”

PIC­TURE: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE

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.’

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