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TINKER TOWN

The Raspberry Pi 2 computer is six times faster—and still costs $35

Raspberry Pi product photo.
Raspberry Pi
Cheap, practical, and ready for action.
By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

This article is more than 2 years old.

The Raspberry Pi—the credit card-sized microcomputer meant to help people learn to program—just got an upgrade.

The new Raspberry Pi comes with 1GB of memory, twice as much as the previous version, as well as a new 900MHz quad-core ARM processor that Raspberry Pi said on its website can deliver up to six times better performance. All that new goodness comes with the same old price tag of $35.

The Pi, built by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation (and based on tinkering by some Cambridge University techies, led by Eben Upton) celebrates its third anniversary of sales next month. It has attracted a cult following of makers and tinkerers who have used it to build everything from a Pandora jukebox to a budget supercomputer. And in the process of all that tinkering, the non-profit sold 3.8 million units (as of Oct. 2014).

It’s unclear whether the people buying the Raspberry Pi, which was invented primarily to help schools and educational programs teach programming, are helping the cause. Back in April 2013, when just over one million units had been sold, TechCrunch reported that the vast majority of Raspberry Pis purchased had shipped to developed nations. As TechCrunch noted, that may have been because Western charities were buying the computers to take to developing countries, or because the device turned into a toy for software engineers to fiddle with in their spare time. Quartz has reached out to Raspberry Pi for updated regional sales numbers and will update this story with any response.

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