Almost exactly three years ago, a tiny, bare-bones computer hit the market and quickly took over the DIY world, inspiring tinkerers and makers to create projects both big and small, complex and simple. Within its first year, one million units of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer had been sold and over the next two years, various versions were released to complement the original, but until now, the creators -- The Raspberry Pi Foundation -- had never increased the processing power of the gadget.
That time has finally come. On Monday, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B was released for the same low price of $35 and it's what its fans have been waiting for.
The new model has a 900MHz quad-core processor making it roughly six times faster than the original Model B, 1GB RAM, which is twice the memory, and is completely compatible with the Raspberry Pi 1 for all of those complicated projects you've been dreaming up.
In the time since the first Raspberry Pi model was released, many competitors came to the market, most with greater processing power and a slightly bigger price tag. With those other options out there, the pressure was on Raspberry Pi to offer something similar, but the foundation was determined to stick to its affordable price point and its educational purpose.
The foundation said about taking so long to release a second generation model:
"Since we launched the original Raspberry Pi Model B, back in 2012, we’ve done an enormous amount of software work to get the best out of our Broadcom BCM2835 application processor and its 700MHz ARM11 CPU. We’ve spent a lot of money on optimising a wide variety of open-source libraries and applications, including WebKit, LibreOffice, Scratch, Pixman, XBMC/Kodi, libav and PyPy....Nonetheless, there comes a point when there’s no substitute for more memory and CPU performance."
The foundation was able to get a faster processor without having to change the other hardware, meaning all of the existing tutorials will still be relevant and accessories will still be compatible, so users can just unbox it and go. All of the connectors are in the same place and function the same way, and the board can still plug into a 5V micro-USB power adapter.
Microsoft is also working to provide Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi 2 in the coming months that will be free to makers.