The Raspberry Pi is putting a cherry on top of its 8th anniversary cake by offering its popular top-of-the-line computer module for just $35. It’s a remarkable offer for a company that thrust itself onto the computer scene in 2012 with a credit-card sized Raspberry Pi 1 that featured a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 256MB of RAM. The price back in 2012: the same $35.
With a birthday falling on the quadrennial Leap Day, Feb. 29, Raspberry now offers its top selling product, the Raspberry Pi 4, and it is by leaps and bounds more powerful than its debut offering in 2012. Compared to the Pi 1, the Pi 4 offers 40 times the CPU performance, eight times the memory, 10 times the I/O bandwidth, four times the number of screen pixels, two screen connectors instead of one and dual band wireless networking.
The Raspberry was introduced eight years ago as a low-cost microcomputer that permitted hobbyists of all ages, especially school children, to learn the basics of programming using languages such as Scratch and Python. From the start, the Raspberry Pi was capable of performing basic computer tasks such as web browsing, word processing and spreadsheet creation.
As more sophisticated and more powerful Raspberry versions were developed, a growing corps of fans designed creative projects incorporating facial recognition, motion detection, wireless light switching, garage openers, infra-red camera tracking, weather stations, wearable cameras and even a home brewery.
By February 2015, more than 5 million units were sold, making Raspberry Britain’s No. 1 selling computer. By the end of last year, Raspberry unit sales topped 30 million.
Raspberry officials say that plummeting RAM chip prices allowed them to offer the Raspberry Pi 4 with 2GB RAM for $35 beginning Feb. 29. The special price will be permanent, officials say. An alternate 1GB model, also priced at $35, is expected to appeal mainly to firms that already have a lineup of the lower-powered models and require compatibility with those existing units. Otherwise, there is no reason not to purchase the 2GB model at the same price. A 4GB version Pi 4 costs $55.
Pi stands for Python Interpreter. Its developers followed a traditional of naming products after fruits: Raspberry followed on the heels of such brands as Tangerine Computer Systems, Apricot Computers, Cherry Corporation, Papaya Studio, Acorn, Blackberry and, of course, Apple Computer.
The specs for the Raspberry 4 are: 1GB, 2GB or 4 GB RAM, a Broadcom BCM2711 SoC with four 1.5GHz Cortex A72 CPU cores, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3 ports, two USB 2 ports, a headphone/composite video jack, and two micro-HDMI ports capable of powering two 4K monitors.
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