64-bit Raspberry Pi 3 is 50% faster, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth -- yet still only $35

Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton is as understated as ever

Raspberry Pi has a new offering, and it’s fab’lous, lookyou. The Cymru-built Pi 3 gets a 64-bit chip, with wireless LAN, Bluetooth, and double-clocked GPU, yet it’s backwards-compatible with older models, plus they’ve kept the price at a mere $35—as they say in Wales, anghredadwy!

It’s as much as 50% faster than the previous Pi, and about ten times faster than the original 2012 offering. The team seems especially proud of their new baby, born as it is on the fourth anniversary of the initial Pi release date. But they’re rather less proud of Britain’s politicians, with their lack of support for the project.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers blow out the candles. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 4:49 am and 8:10 am PT with more comment]

What’s the craic? Lester Haines manually reports—Raspberry Pi celebrates fourth birthday with fruity version 3:

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is celebrating...with the release of the Pi 3. [It] is a supercharged version of the 2 Model B...with welcome wireless capability.

In anticipation of the expected geek stampede...there are around 200,000 units already produced, with capacity [for] 100,000 per week. ... So, it's a very happy birthday indeed to the diminutive Brit computer.

Where’s the beef? Jon Brodkin puts it all into this headline—Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 64-bit chip, still just $35:

In previous versions, the Pi needed USB adapters to get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. [It] will be on sale Monday from “all the usual resellers.”

The Raspberry Pi 3 upgrades to a 64-bit ARM Cortex A53...quad-core...at 1.2GHz. [It] is expected to be about 50 percent faster, [being] capable of speeding up both 32-bit and 64-bit operations. [But it] has 1GB of RAM, the same amount as last year.

Pi 3 also has a graphics upgrade, using Broadcom’s 400MHz VideoCore IV. [It] will support 1080p video at 60fps. ... H.265 support [is] limited to 1080p at 30fps.

Shake the sauce bottle. Eben Upton dribbles:

Exactly four years ago...we unleashed the original 256MB Raspberry Pi...on a largely unsuspecting world. ... Broadcom have supported us with a new SoC, BCM2837. This retains the same basic architecture.

A 33% increase in clock speed [and] architectural enhancements...provide a 50-60% increase in performance in 32-bit mode. ... And the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter.

Is it physically backwards-compatible? David Meyer is fortunate—Super-Cheap Computer Gains Very Useful New Features:

The most popular British computer in history is the Raspberry Pi. ... Until now, those wishing to add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality to the Pi had to buy separate dongles.

Otherwise, the new Raspberry Pi has almost exactly the same form factor...meaning it should fit into the same cases. ... The only notable difference is that the LEDs have shifted.

Built-in Wi-Fi should make IoT applications easier. Or so Natasha Lomas thinks—With An Eye On IoT, Pi Foundation Outs 50% Faster Raspberry Pi 3:

It’s being positioned for out-of-the-box IoT development and as a powerful IoT hub. ... As well as having more built in connectivity options and more processing clout, the Pi 3 has improved power management.

[It] doubles down on the growth in IoT devices...following on from the Pi 2, which was capable of running...Windows 10 IoT; formerly called Windows Embedded. ... The Foundation said it has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure full compatibility.

Update 1: Well done. But Will Dunn illustrates why governments need to get out of the way of successful ventures-Raspberry Pi was turned down for funding:

In its Technology Manifesto of March 2010, the UK government claimed it would focus on technology and engineering in schools. ... But at the same time it was turning down Eben Upton...for funding assistance on his Raspberry Pi project.

"We applied...for a loan guarantee. [But] they said there was no market. ... Basically they were saying, these products don’t exist, [which] is proof that there’s no market for them."

"It has left me very sceptical about any government attempt to do industrial support. ... We sold 4.5 million Pi 1s in three years, and 3 million Pi 2s in one year."

That the government failed to see the Pi's potential has not stopped it claiming credit. ... Last year...Minister Jo Johnson visited the Raspberry Pi plant [saying] "this is the kind of expertise we are supporting to safeguard the future success of our economy." 

Update 2: So why 64-bit? Isaac Carter adds some handy insight-It’s Official:

The Pi 3 brings to the table a quad-core 64-bit Coretex. [It] was picked not so much because it was 64-bit, but rather because it was a better 32-bit core.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has heard the cries. ... The Pi 3 will come with built in 802.11...Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth LE. ... Both wireless and Bluetooth are connected to the Broadcom chip via a separate bus.

The foundation will be building a new official case. [It] will have a better overall look and feel.

The foundation is looking to improve OpenGL support. ... Expect to see the foundation shift focus towards the memory footprint and...increase the amount of available RAM.

And Finally…

Matthew Timmons-Brown wraps it all up

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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