Amazon Reveals How to Build an Echo Speaker With Raspberry Pi

Amazon wants to push its Alexa voice assistant as far and wide as possible, so much so that one of the company’s employees has released a step-by-step guide to building an Alexa-powered speaker yourself with a Raspberry Pi.

The DIY echo can be made using a cheap USB microphone, speaker and several other easy to obtain parts. The code is shared on the Github platform and was posted by Amit Jotwani, Amazon’s senior evangelist for Alexa. It’s his job to help developers and tinkerers. This in turn generates interest from a technical perspective and all of a sudden – millions of people are tweaking code, modding parts and making some really nice inventions with the Pi and Amazon’s software.

It would take some basic technical knowledge to assemble and make the echo work via the Raspberry Pi. However the guides are very good and it should be fairly easy for the average joe to make. The Echo is now on sale for $180 – it hasn’t been released in the UK as of yet.  There is one downside to running it off the Rasberry Pi, though, you can’t wake it up by saying “Alexa” and to run a voice command you have to press a button.

Rasberry Pi Cuts Price in Wake of CHIP

Raspberry Pi (R.Pi) is the humble DIY enthusiast computer that anyone could buy and program for under £50. This little piece of technology allowed users to design a multitude of items that would normally be too expensive to buy as a complete kit. This really took off thanks to its low price and high customisability.

Well in the past week, CHIP, a $9 Kickstarter creation has given the creators of Pi a bit of a shock. CHIP is somewhat a direct rival to the Pi, bringing a similar level of custom tweaking to an entirely new price point. This has now pushed the Pi creators to reduce the price of one of the latest Model B+ version down to £16; not great news for income or recent buyers, but good news for those wanting to buy one. The price cut is the result of ‘production optimisations’, but looking at the product images and specifications on the main page, we can’t tell the difference.

Back in February, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi 2. It was released in the same form factor as the B+ and cost around the same, but the features on the Pi 2 were far superior. The foundation says that the B+ model has “continued to sell very well” and will not doubt be widely accepted by the community.

I can’t wait for the price to be confirmed and we start seeing it hit the shops, I will be buying one for my planned projects. What do you think of the new price point? Do you think that the pricing needs to come down further to compete? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Free Version of Windows 10 For Raspberry Pi 2

Just this morning we saw news that the new Raspberry Pi would be released today and now we have something great to compliment that. Microsoft has just announced that they are to release a special version of Windows 10 that will run on the new Pi that will also be available completely free of charge.

Now why is this significant? Well to get Windows 10 for free on a conventional machine, you need an earlier version of Windows, whether it be Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 and since no new Raspberry Pi will already have a copy of Windows on it, that would mean paying for one of those old versions now or pay for Windows 10 when it arrives.

The other reason why this is significant is because the Raspberry Pi has a System-On-Chip architecture, meaning without some heavy tweaking, retail versions of Windows are unsupported on the system. However, Microsoft will be compiling a very special version of Windows 10 just to run on the Pi.

There’s currently no further information on what that will look like, but that we’ll hear more “in the coming months”. Microsoft really is being quite giving lately.

Source: The Verge

New Raspberry PI is Quad-Core and Features 1GB of RAM – Out Now

The new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B+ goes on sale today and it’s well worth its $35 price tag. This little beast is Quad-Core and comes with 1GB of RAM, making it a full-fledged PC for the first time.

The new model centres around its system-on-chip, much like the older models, but this time features Broadcom’s BCM2836, containing four 32-bit ARMv7 Cortex-A7 cores and 1GB of RAM. Talking to The RegisterEben Upton, the guy in charge of Raspberry Pi, says that he now believes the little machine can be considered a true fully-fledged PC.

“It’s a usable PC now. It was always the case that you could use a Raspberry Pi 1 as a PC but you had to say ‘this is a great PC in so far as it cost me 35 bucks’. We’ve removed the caveat that you had to be a bit forgiving with it. Now it’s just good.”

You can go and grab yourself one today, but be quick – only 100,000 will be available for the time being.

Source: Gizmodo

Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Sales Reach Two Million At The End of October

The co-creator of the Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi, expected to sell about 1,000 of the boards, an estimate that turned out to be rather conservative. At the end of October around two millionth Raspberry Pi boards were sold, having an estimate value of $35 million.

Liz Upton, head of communications for the foundation, stressed how far it had come since picking up the first pallet of 2,000 boards in February 2012.

“Getting the news about the 2,000,000th Pi at the end of last week, it struck us that every single Raspberry Pi in that pallet represents 1000 of the Raspberry Pis that are spread around the world today. “We never thought we’d be where we are today when we started this journey.”

W0hile it took almost one year to reach one million sales, it took around eight months to hit two million, a consistent increase in the Raspberry Pi sales market. The credit card-sized Raspberry Pi was designed as a low-cost, portable board that kids could plug in and start coding wherever they were.

By making it simple for children to program, the foundation hoped to inspire the next generation of programmers. With the two million boards sold, the Pi has now outsold the computer that inspired its creation, as just over 1.5 million BBC Micros are estimated to have been sold.

Raspberry Pi machines have found their way into schools and universities, with the foundation giving out 15,000 free boards to schools, but the boards have also proven to be very popular among the wider hobbyist community, who set about using the boards in projects ranging from robotics to home automation.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information