“The two main things that people do with their Pi are use it as a PC replacement or use it as an embedded computer. The Pi 3 is doubling down on both those things rather than going looking for new things to do”
Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Eben Upton in an interview with the BBC on the Raspberry Pi 3
Raspberry Pi now has a third act. It seems the third time is a charm as the Raspberry Pi has cut all the wires and gone wireless.
Introducing the US$35 Raspberry Pi 3 (Whitney, 2015, February 29), which has gone wireless with built in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, specifically Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 802.11n.
According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation blog post, the newly upgraded Raspberry Pi 3 went on sale on Monday February 29th 2016 and was being sold by Think Allied, RS Components and Element14 (Brodkin, 2016, February 29), their approved distributors.
Global head of Raspberry Pi at Element14, Claire Doyle (Tilley, 2015, February 29), points out the fact that the new Wireless features means no more dongles plugged into the USB ports, a boon to hobbyists, developers and students seeking to use the Raspberry Pi in IoT projects, quote: “The Raspberry Pi is more outofthebox ready for the Internet of Things. Users no longer need to add on a Wi-Fi dongle or accessory. It’s ready to go”.
So what other upgrades has the Raspberry Pi 3 received that makes it worth another US$35?
Raspberry Pi 3 – Citius, Altius, Fortius
The US$35 minicomputer is a favourite with hobbyists, developers and students, which is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (Deer, 2015, February 3) and the Raspberry Pi launched four (4) years ago on February 29th, 2012, is also bristling with new specs.
It’s powered by a 1.2GHz, 64-bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, a serious upgrade over the 900MHz, 32-bit Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU used in previous models. This makes the Raspberry Pi 3 twice as fast as the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and 10 times faster than the original Raspberry Pi.
The US$35 Raspberry Pi 3 is identical to the US$35 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, with ports and pins all in the same places. The Raspberry Pi 3, however, has 1GB of RAM, upgradable to 4GB, at which point the 64-bit aspect of the Raspberry Pi 3 becomes relevant.
Finally, the GPU also got an upgrade to a 400MHz Broadcom VideoCore IV, a step up from the 250MHz version found in the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B.
Ok, so what else can the Raspberry Pi 3 do?
Raspberry Pi 3 – Support for 1080p, Linux and Windows 10 for IoT
The Raspberry Pi 3 still supports H.265 and can play back 1080p video at 30fps.
Albeit Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 802.11n are present, freeing up the four (4) USB ports and the Ethernet port, the Ethernet port is still included and is capable of handling speed up to 100MBps. Basically this is a mini-computer on the same level as the (Deer, 2015, January 22) CompuLab’s MintBox Mini.
It also support Raspbian, the custom made OS as well as third party flavours of Linux such as Ubuntu and Fedora. This upgrade comes to the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (Deer, 2015, February 3) and not the US$5 Raspberry Pi Zero (Deer, 2015, November 27) which was geared towards Hobbyists, developers and students (Lomas, 2015, February 29) interested in making individual IoT connected devices.
Hobbyists, developers and students may rejoice but for Jamaican high schools, the US$35 Raspberry Pi 3 may be a godsend. Aside from the cost of a computer screen, the US$35 Raspberry Pi 3 presents the real possibility of teaching programming to high school students (Deer, 2015, April 12) as part of the Tablet in Schools Project at a price many schools may be finally able to afford.
- Brodkin, J. (2016, February 29). Raspberry Pi 3 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 64-bit chip, still just $35. Retrieved from http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/raspberry-pi-3-has-wi-fi-and-bluetooth-64-bit-chip-still-just-35/
- Deer, L. (2015, April 12). 700 Tablets for East Kingston and Port Royal Primary Schools – Why Raspberry Pi Zero Great for Jamaican Secondary Schools. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com.br/2015/12/700-Tablets-East-Kingston-Port-Royal-Primary-Schools.html
- Deer, L. (2015, February 3). US$35 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B to run Windows 10 – Why Windows Developer Program for IoT is Microsoft ‘s IoT Push. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2015/02/us35-raspberry-pi-2-model-b-to-run.html
- Deer, L. (2015, January 22). US$295 CompuLab’s MintBox Mini – Great start to a MintBox Mini Dynasty of Linux PC’s. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/us295-compulabs-mintbox-mini-great-start-to-a-mintbox-mini-dynasty-of-linux-pcs/
- Deer, L. (2015, November 27). Why the US$5 Raspberry Pi Zero is perfect Programmer’s Gift for New Year’s 2016. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/raspberry-pi-zero/
- Lomas, N. (2015, February 29). Raspberry Pi 3 Launches — 50% Faster, With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/29/with-an-eye-on-iot-pi-foundation-outs-50-faster-raspberry-pi-3-with-wi-fi-bluetooth/
- Tilley, A. (2015, February 29). Raspberry Pi Finally Goes Wireless. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2016/02/29/raspberry-pi-3-brings-bluetooth-to-the-tiny-computers/
- Whitney, L. (2015, February 29). Raspberry Pi 3 arrives with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth baked in. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/raspberry-pi-3-debuts-with-wi-fi-and-bluetooth-built-in/