Raspberry Pi Zero Was Inspired by Google

The Raspberry Pi Zero, the tiny, £4 ($5) microcomputer from the Raspberry Pi Foundation which sold out in less than a day, would not have existed were it not for a timely intervention from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, revealed to the Wall Street Journal that, were it not for Schmidt, the company would have instead released a larger, more powerful $60 model.

“I told him we were thinking of making future Raspberry Pi’s a little bit more expensive, up at about $50 or $60, and a bit more powerful,” Upton told WSJ.

Schmidt, though, discouraged the move, with Upton adding, “He said it was very hard to compete with cheap. He made a very compelling case. It was a life-changing conversation.” That life-changing conversation, which took place about three years ago, led to the creation of both the Raspberry Pi 2 and the Raspberry Pi Zero. “The idea was to make a more powerful thing at the same price, and then make a cheaper thing with the same power,” he said.

“We really don’t think we’ll get any cheaper than this. We’ve gone from say, four lattes, to one latte. We’re not going to go below the cost of one latte,” Upton said.

But has Schmidt seen the microcomputer he helped birth? Not yet, according to Upton: “I don’t want to bother him.”

Raspberry Pi Releases First Official Case

One of the most curious aspects about affordable mini-computer the Raspberry Pi was that it came sans case, inspiring a generation of computer-philes to develop their own homebrew cases – often out of LEGO – if they didn’t settle for a third-party case. Now, the creators of the microcomputer have announced that they have developed their own official case, and it’s looking very sleek.

Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Software for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, spoke about the process on the official Raspberry Pi blog:

Two and a half years ago, I found myself sitting in a car with Eben Upton about three days into my new job at Raspberry Pi. We discussed – among other things – everything we wanted to do with the Raspberry Pi hardware and with the products around the Pi.

One of the things we discussed was an official Raspberry Pi case. We thought that it would be great to create something affordable, but with the kind of real beauty and design that our products try to encompass.

So to this end we began the search for a design company who were capable of understanding our requirements and had their eyes firmly fixated on creating a product that achieved those aims.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation hired award-winning design firm Kinneir Dufort to create the case, honing ideas from the following three prototypes:

The final design, with its gentle curve and simple colour scheme, fits the Raspberry Pi, in both form and as a representation of its functionality, perfectly.

The Raspberry Pi blog does a marvellous job of outlining the design and build process for the case, so be sure to check it out. The official case is priced £6 ($9), and is available from the Raspberry Pi Swag Store website.

5 Million-Selling Raspberry Pi Becomes Best-Selling UK Computer Ever

Since its launch in 2012, the Raspberry Pi microcomputer has sold over 5 million units, making it the biggest selling British computer of all time, according to a tweet from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

The Raspberry Pi has evolved beyond appealing just to hobbyists, with schools and universities adopting them as teaching tools, and home users adapting the system to become home media servers, gaming machines and storage hubs.

The Raspberry Pi’s nearest rival, in terms of top-selling UK computers, is the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer, which sold 5 million units during the Eighties.

Source: The Guardian

Creator CI20 From Imagination – the New Raspberry Pi Rival

 

The Creator CI20, developed by UK chip designer Imagination, is a microcomputer set to rival the Raspberry Pi. Although slightly bigger in size, Imagination’s project packs more processing power, more RAM, and its own onboard flash storage.

Like the Raspberry Pi, the CI20 can support various Linux operating systems, but, unlike its competitor, can run the Android 4.4 KitKat OS, too. It features on-board WiFi and Bluetooth functionality, compared to the Pi’s single Ethernet port. The Ci20 will cost slightly more than the Raspberry Pi, priced at £50 ($65). It is available for pre-order now, with the first models shipped in January 2015.

Source: BBC

Microsoft and Intel Release ‘Sharks Cove’, a Windows-based Microcomputer

Arduino and Raspberry Pi have apparently inspired everyone, including big name companies such as Microsoft. The corporate giant along with Intel and CircuitCo are said to have been working on their own little development board.

The outcome of their work is said to be a $300 / £176 board dubbed “Sharks Cove”, which is now available for pre-order. It is said to boast Intel’s Quad-Core Atom Z3735G clocked at 1.33 GHz and having a turbo speed of 1.83 GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space and a MicroSD card slot.

The board is said to be dedicated towards development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run on the Windows operating system. Devices such as smartphones, tablets and similar SoC might now have a small microcomputer building their new apps.

“At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike. That price not only covers the cost of the hardware but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove. When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.”

With all the excitement, did Microsoft and Intel ever consider the price? Coming in at $300, it is significantly more expensive than Raspberry Pi’s $35 / £20 board or BeagleBone Black’s $55 / £32 board. Even Intel-based MinnowBoard, compatible with both Linux and Android, is available on the market for just $99 / £58.

“The primary target usage of the Sharks Cove board is for development of subsystems for Intel Atom based Tablets and Mobile devices, but this development board can be used for any Windows or Android based system which uses the Atom processor,” cited on the Sharks Cove website.

While Microsoft, Intel and CircuitCo await for that audience, Raspberry Pi and Arduino will still be the primary choice for developers. The microcomputer might be a nice addition for Windows Phone developers, however a $300 price tag does tend to change your mind sometimes.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Wired