A round of applause for the U.K.-made Raspberry Pi microcomputer — which has just passed the 5 million sales mark, some three years after it was first launched with the over-modest goal of selling “a few thousand” Pi over its entire lifetime, as creator Eben Upton has said. How wrong can you be, and how good must that feel?
Having a tasty price-point — of $35 for the Model B Pi, and just $25 for Model A — has kindled remarkable interest in Pi-powered homebrew computing. Everything from DIY computers to robotics projects are being built with Pi at their core. Whole startup businesses have also found a use for a low cost credit card-sized microcomputer.
The original Pi mission was about getting more U.K. schoolkids coding, and it’s making progress there. But Pi’s influence has spread far further — it’s proved especially popular in North America, according to Upton. The Foundation also recently launched a fully fledged sequel: the Pi 2, which is around 6x faster and has double the memory but retains the $35 price-point.
The Pi 2 makes a decent entry level PC that much cheaper. No surprise that Microsoft is keen to make sure Windows reaches the people Pi will be reaching, announcing it intends to offer Windows 10 to Pi devs for free. The launch of the Pi 2 also doubtless helped bump Pi’s overall sales figures past the 5M mark. At the start of this month overall sales were around 4.5M, with gen-one Pi sales clocking sales of around 200,000 per month.
Tweeting its new sales milestone today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation suggested the Pi has now surpassed sales of iconic, U.K.-made home computers of the past — such as the Sinclair Spectrum and BBC Micro — which had themselves been an inspiration for the creation of Pi, having helped a generation of U.K. kids become coders. (NB: The Foundation was referring to the speed of Pi sales, rather than overall total. In a blog they note the Pi still has a way to go to pass Amstrad’s 8M total sales.)