The signs were there at the Raspberry Pi’s launch. The debut of the beloved little card-computer was marked by overwhelming demand, so much so that the Raspberry Pi Foundation, “punch-drunk” at the response, had to suspend orders temporarily.
Now, more than four years after the fact, 10 million Raspberry Pis have been sold and the demand shows no signs of slowing down. It represents orders of magnitude more success than project founder Eben Upton anticipated.
- Laid end-to-end, 10 million Raspberry Pi 2 model Bs would stretch from San Francisco to Portland, Ore., about 532 miles.
- Stacked atop one another, they would reach 130 miles into the sky, more than halfway to the International Space Station.
- They’re still far from the most popular gizmos out there – Apple just reported that it had sold a billion iPhones. At this rate, Raspberry Pi wouldn’t get there for four centuries.
“At the time, we thought our lifetime volumes might amount to 10,000 units – if we were lucky,” he wrote in a blog post. “There was no expectation that adults would use Raspberry Pi, no expectation of commercial success, and certainly no expectation that four years later we would be manufacturing tens of thousands of units a day in the UK, and exporting Raspberry Pi all over the world.”
In recognition of the milestone, Upton added, the foundation will start selling an official “Raspberry Pi starter kit,” which comes with an HDMI cable, a case, a power supply, an SD card with basic software, and a USB mouse and keyboard, so that all users will need to do is find an HDMI-capable screen to start using their Raspberry Pi. It’ll cost $131, and will become available in the U.S. “in the next few weeks.”
Manufacturing those 10 million Raspberry Pis is big business – Swiss conglomerate Datwyler recently bowed out of a brief bidding war to acquire one of the main companies manufacturing the device, Premier Farnell. Datwyler’s $815 million bid was eclipsed by American component maker Avnet’s $900 million-plus offer.
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