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Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million 146

Eben Upton's reboot of the spirit of the BBC Micro in the form of the Raspberry Pi would have been an interesting project even if it had only been useful in the world of education. Upton wanted, after all, to give the kind of hands-on, low-level interaction with computing devices that he saw had gone missing in schools. Plenty of rPis are now in that educational, inspirational role, but it turns out that the world was waiting (or at least ready) for a readily usable, cheap, all-in-one computer, and the Raspberry Pi arrived near the front of a wave that now includes many other options. Sales boomed, and we've mentioned a few of the interesting milestones, like the millionth unit made in the UK and the two-millionth unit overall. Now, according to TechCrunch the Raspberry Pi is getting close to 4 million units sold, having just passed 3.8 million, as reported in a tweet. If you have a Raspberry Pi, what are you using it for now, and what would you like to see tweaked in future versions?
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Raspberry Pi Sales Approach 4 Million

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have a Raspberry Pi loaded with ROMs and emulators. I lay on my bed and play all the old classics. My Pi is hooked into a projector and I get a nice big picture to play on. I also sometimes turn it off and swap SD cards and stream movies from my PC over the projector. Sometimes I pack up the projector, the Pi, some PC speakers, and some controllers and take it out to the bar, where I hook it up and convince people to buy me beer for a go at their favorite game.

  • ...practical jokes at work (PIR sensor and speakers, LEDs and servo hooked up) and sometimes linux test box. Would like a camera that works more seamlessly with OpenCV though.
  • That's easy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @10:46AM (#48130819)

    what would you like to see tweaked in future versions?

    No closed-source binaries, obviously!

    • That means they'll have to go with Intel. I predict a noisy fan and a quadrupling of the price.

      • Baytrail/Atom chips can run fanless, and they are powerful enough to run full Windows 8. HP is going to be selling some 11 inch laptops for $200 in November, so cancel out the screen, case, battery, storage, and other components that don't come on a Pi, and you can probably get close to $80-$100 for just the board. More expensive than a Pi, but way more capable in what you can run. If you want really cheap and low power, go for something like the Arduino. If you want something you can run emulators, media p
      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        The latest Broadwell/Core-M processors are all fanless @ 4.5w.
         
        The raspberry pi uses 1.89w for the B model and 1.21 watts for the new/improved B+ model released this summer.
         
        By 2017 when the next model is due, Broadwell will be a three year old processor, and Intel's passively cooled Edison will be four years old..

    • And pray tell, what would you do with the custom language that the BIOS/GPU microcode is written in? There is no compiler for it or published hardware targets to even write a compiler for. For it to have any value at all they would also have to release an in-house compiler and publish API specs for internal components of hardware designs which they probably don't even own publishing rights to.

    • Also: stable USB and stable GPU, sort of like the BBB.

      I'll try to remember to ask again on the 3.9-million units ("almost 4 million", take 2) story.

    • by ssam ( 2723487 )
  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @10:46AM (#48130823)
    We're using it to do a web page-based UI for a commercial product. The RasPi people are looking for commercial users, so we decided to try it out. It's far less expensive than other commercial SBCs, and being Linux based, it's a known quantity (no nasty proprietary OS or API to deal with), and the RasPi has a large user base, so hopefully, no unannounced obsolescence. Only drawback is that we need a HDMI converter board between the RasPi and the bare TFT panel. We still come in at around $200 for the entire display subsystem.
    • If you don't require a high resolution you can use the SPI pins on the Pi's GPIO headers to directly interface with a TFT panel.

    • by maligor ( 100107 )

      We're using it to do a web page-based UI for a commercial product. The RasPi people are looking for commercial users, so we decided to try it out. It's far less expensive than other commercial SBCs, and being Linux based, it's a known quantity (no nasty proprietary OS or API to deal with), and the RasPi has a large user base, so hopefully, no unannounced obsolescence. Only drawback is that we need a HDMI converter board between the RasPi and the bare TFT panel. We still come in at around $200 for the entire display subsystem.

      If RPI Foundation is actually interested in commercial users, why don't you ask information on how to use the MIPI DSI port (flat flex connector above the SD Card, it's a video output) on the thing and see if you can cut the costs.

  • Alternative? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2014 @10:47AM (#48130839)

    What would be like RaspPi, but without the USB problem?

    I am building a word processor (a glorified typewriter), so I do not need for extra processor speed or memory, but USB packet loss manifesting itself as stuck(!) keys is a pain in the posterior.

    • by fhage ( 596871 )

      What would be like RaspPi, but without the USB problem?

      The RaspPi model B+ with 4 USB ports. They've fixed electrical problems, added IO pins and greatly improved the physical layout.

      • usb is broken in silicon, there is a problem with resource sharing on internal busses

        • by fhage ( 596871 )
          I guess we're not hitting the broken silicon. We're gathering stills from a USB camera, crunching on the image and sending data via ethernet without issues.

          Many people reported having problems with USB hubs and power in early models. Those problems seem fixed in the B+. I've never experienced stuck keys, even when the USB camera is in use, the CPU is heavily loaded, ethernet is transferring the images to clients and I'm 'tar'ing up files onto a USB stick.

          However, there are reports where high rate, isoc

          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            I've seen the USB problem a couple of times but only in hard use. It's not power related because I use a powered hub and the pi runs off a 2amp cell charger (which solved a lot of problems I had originally with the cheap motorola charger.) I've been running an original Model B with the 256K memory as an XBMC media center with only a very occasional glitch. I use a high quality class 10SD card and it's been very good for watching movies. I have another, also an original B model, that I use for various pr

      • by rephlex ( 96882 )

        But the USB problem remains due to the buggy controller in the BCM2835 SoC itself. Board level fixes can't work around this.

      • What would be like RaspPi, but without the USB problem?

        The RaspPi model B+ with 4 USB ports. They've fixed electrical problems, added IO pins and greatly improved the physical layout.

        Yes the latest revision is much improved.

        The RaspPi as a teaching tool is unmatched.
        It is less expensive than most textbooks.
        Replace the SD card and it is a new OS or new test project.

        As a teaching tool any part from u-boot up to modern computer languages
        and multiple OS distributions are all possible. Multiple node MPI clusters
        are easy to assemble which allows distributed multiple noded distributed
        computation research to begin (they are slow as slugs though).

        At this price it is a computer any class can req

    • So you want anything that's not Pi.
      Need something available and supported, maybe VIA APC but I don't really know.

    • by smugfunt ( 8972 )

      What would be like RaspPi, but without the USB problem?

      Try a cubieboard2 [r0ck.me]. I've run a hard drive off the USB without any problem in Cubian (a version of Debian for cubie).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does Broadcom have any worthwhile chips? The RaPi is already slow compared to just about anything else. We're at a point where you can't give away phones with just 512MB and a single core ARMv6 processor, but that's what Broadcom had, so that's what the Broadcom engineers built the RaPi on...

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      You can give me one. I'll take it off your hands.

  • I use mine as a media server, running the Logitech Media Server (LMS) for four Squeezeboxes. I have a 64GB flash drive for the music. It also runs the Apache web server for a MySQL and Perl-based book-tracking database with an on-line interface that I and a couple friends use.
  • by laird ( 2705 ) <lairdp@gmail.cUMLAUTom minus punct> on Monday October 13, 2014 @10:59AM (#48130981) Journal

    I would have said that I didn't want to use HDMI cables to connect a display for embedded apps, since the cable is bulky and expensive. But now there are cheap displays that plug right into the GPIO lines, so that issue is gone. And four USB ports is plenty (on the new model), and the expanded GPIO lines mean you don't need to add in an Arduino just for I/O. So after that it's just the usual - faster and/or cheaper are always nice.

    The only real thing missing is quite hard - an ability to do realtime I/O control. That's not really in the Pi, but the Linux OS. If there were a good realtime option, then the Pi would be an awesome controller (e.g. for 3d printing, CNC, etc.). As it is, you need an Arduino control I/O so you have precise timing, which adds complexity as you have to program two devices to coordinate, which is much harder than one. Not impossible, obviously, but simpler/easier is better.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13, 2014 @12:01PM (#48131739)

      There IS a "a good realtime option" it's called RTOS and a port to the rPi can be found here: ChibiOS/RT on the Raspberry Pi [stevebate.net]

      • by laird ( 2705 )

        There's no such operating system as "RTOS". It's a description of a kind of OS - a Real Time Operating System. I know what an RTOS is, which is why I mentioned that the Pi could use one. I've built QNX apps - very nice OS. But it's not ported to the Raspberry Pi.

        I've never heard of ChibiOS/RT before - good to know it's there. Does anyone actually using it? I couldn't find anything on the project web site.

        How does it compare to FreeRTOS? FreeRTOS is a mature realtime OS, but it's not well supported on the Pi

    • The only real thing missing is quite hard - an ability to do realtime I/O control. That's not really in the Pi, but the Linux OS. If there were a good realtime option, then the Pi would be an awesome controller (e.g. for 3d printing, CNC, etc.). As it is, you need an Arduino control I/O so you have precise timing, which adds complexity as you have to program two devices to coordinate, which is much harder than one. Not impossible, obviously, but simpler/easier is better.

      I would add ADC would still be missing to make a complete controler wich is the other thing the arduino is doing on a 3D printer (for temperature measurement)

      • The things the RPi and the Arduino share is an endless array of add-on boards [abelectronics.co.uk] I would on the flip side say no, the RPi does not need ADC which most people won't use.

        If the RTOS for the RPi does the job then there's really nothing missing in terms of a 3D printer.

  • I will not buy this record, it is scratched.
  • Have 5 of them. 1 used for offsite backup to a usb drive, 1 to display server stats, others used for xmbc.

    I'd like to see a faster cpu, the loading times in xbmc on the rpi are annoying.

    All ARMs seem to be so different. I want distros to be able to release an ARM version that just works on all ARM devices. It seems like all ARM devices need custom builds. The smaller guys suffer for this. I want a cubox, but it seems like only software made by them works on it.

    • Have one, and it is used as an XBMC server for video streaming from the net. Run's mashup and some other 'unofficial' XBMC repo apps.
    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      I want distros to be able to release an ARM version that just works on all ARM devices.

      These are called x86.

      • I'm not sure what you're saying. I should use a device that uses the x86 ISA instead of ARM if I want a standard ISA?

        If you've come across a low cost, low watt/volt, quite, passively cooled x86 solution, I'd love to hear above it. All that I've seen are close to $200 and don't offer much more performance than the $35 rpi.

        • Intel Quark, Xcore86 (a variant of Vortex86DX with integrated VGA), Vortex86EX, Geode LX (too old)
          The performance may be around rpi but you get ethernet that's not on USB, a real COM port sometimes.

    • How did you disable screen blanking on the server stats display?
  • Just got PCDuino 3 nano last month for $39. 2 core ARMv7@ 1ghz, 1GB ram, gigabit ethernet, sata connector, better GPU. Looks promising so far...
  • For the first time in ages there is a computer that comes bundled with Mathematica and has shortcuts to programming IDEs on desktop. Contrast this with what modern mainstream OSes and even Linux distros like Ubuntu come bundled with. Even being 40 years old, I am tempted to learn how to make these cools 3D graphs and drive some from some simple sensors attached to GPIO pins. Say graph of daylight and its changes over seasons. For kids I think it makes a huge difference what you put in front of them and iPad

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or whatever they're going to call it now... Really did buy it expecting to use it to learn Python. But since I always wanted my own jukebox, now I've got it. Combined it with an FM transmitter kit from Ramsey Electronics, now I have my music anywhere in the house, controlled by iPhone.

  • by xonen ( 774419 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @11:34AM (#48131413) Journal

    Mine is currently actively used to fill a box which would otherwise be useless. I'm very happy for the box now having a meaningful purpose in life.

    For what i was planning to do, one plan did not work due to obscure compatibility reasons which boiled down to floating points and a buggy database connection. The other plan - using it as motion capture, did not work as the USB webcam driver / or webcam / would crash on occasion but definitively overnight. Might have to do with the bad USB power output causing instability.

    I would have used it as media player if the sound output wasn't of such bad quality.

    Overall, i think the project is nice and all but the hardware is of inferior quality. If you are serious about embedded devices or building robots or so there is, and existed for long, much better hardware.

    I admit the price is low. However, to me the key sales point is that it's a standardized platform with several linux distributions ready to roll. So, the community around it makes it great. But for any serious project the hardware s*x big time. I'd rather have that community and a slightly more expensive device that performs as expected (as in: proper USB, total open hardware without vague GPU blobs, more and better IO pins with for example a 12-bit A/D converter arduino style, quality audio in and out, etc etc).

    Nevertheless i'm impressed by the momentum. I also think newer generations might fix the hardware issues they have. But just in my view, just focusing on 'as cheap as possible' was a terrible design decision. Had all hardware be high-end, like USB conforming specs, then it would be golden.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would prefer DisplayPort instead of HMDI.

    If you start with DP you can convert over to HDMI passively, but going the other way, you need a powered convertor box of some kind. DP can also support multiple monitors per plug, whereas HDMI was designed around the one-display-per-plug idea.

  • by cdu13a ( 95385 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @11:50AM (#48131625)

    I originally bought one for the kids, but now I some how have almost a dozen of them.
    The Pi tends to be a great little problem solver. Between small size, cheap price, low power requirments, fairly easy to make use of gpio, and great comunity.
    So its very easy to go from a problem or a wouldnd't it be great if... to a solution.

    Example
    Last year, had two major floods(one cause by a failed pump, one caused by a prolonged power outage) in the basement both times while out of town. Got to the point that the girlfriend didn't feel comfortable leaving the house for any large amount of time incase it happened again.
    A weekend worth of time a Raspberry Pi, and an assortment of parts most of which I had on hand. I now get updates to my phone about the status of the sump pump (is it running, how often, how much water, is my basement flooded), and the status of the power in the house.

    As far as future models go... It would be nice to see something lets say double the speed, double the cores, double the ram, double the gpio, for less then double the price. USB3 and gigabit ethernet would also be more then welcome as well.

  • home automation server aggregating 8x temperatures, 4x humidity, weather station, 6xPIRs, 2x NFC readers, 2x CO, 6x pressure, 3x cameras, and 1 relay for thermostat, about half of these are still running via arduino nano clones as I migrate to purpose-built ICs. presently also hosting 6tb of files, but it gets bogged down when 2 PIR activated cameras are recording while streaming 720p+ video so will likely offload this to a separate unit during next overhaul.

    have a separate one for building out things
  • I bought my RPi as the primary interface for my Tiki Bird [youtube.com]. Really enjoyed the project. Lot's of good open source stuff available. WiringPi for GPIO control. Vixen for sequencing. LIRC for infrared control.

    I also enjoyed doing autopsy on a Squawkers McCaw [flickr.com]. It's incredible the amount of sensing and control they packed into such a cheap toy.

    Remember, The Bird is the Word! [youtube.com]

  • Not bad for $50! (I bought an 8GB SD card preloaded with NOOBS and a case as well.) We're off grid here at Breitenbush, so the fact that it's easy on the power consumption is a big plus. I'm not sure if there's a daughtercard for this, but more memory would be nice. Mine uses aprx to act as an I-Gate for APRS and drives a TNC-X built from a kit (http://www.tnc-x.com/) and takes audio from the scanner from a USB Signalink (http://www.tigertronics.com/slusbmain.htm) which has a few extra features that make it

  • These are great little boards for industrial automation projects!

    I've used about a dozen of these in various configurations for everything from greenhouse controllers, to high end fish aquarium controllers, to data logging and serving up a web UI for a personal weather station. They've been an excellent price-competitive SBC. So cheap that it's often easier to just swap them out if they fail (I've fried a couple myself).

    I designed a small stack of boards that expands the Pi to include:
    - A base boar
    • by itzly ( 3699663 )
      I don't know if I would trust consumer grade hardware in an industrial environment.
      • by m2pc ( 546641 )
        Well, I was skeptical at first, but with enough checks and balances, it's been working great for over 2 years for some of my installations...
      • by m2pc ( 546641 )
        Granted, I wouldn't recommend the Pi in an extreme environment where an error could lead to loss of human life or cause severe damage, but as an inexpensive controller for small operations, it works great. A company I used to work for is using them for test automation, and so far they have been very stable and a great little SBC for that task.
  • Two nics would allow for many network related functions to be performed by the RaspberryPI. Currently the single nic is quite limiting if you have ~30+ MBit of bandwidth to your home.

  • Mine is a workhorse. It's a web/nagios server, a seafile server with an external drive, and my print server. Love it. I'd like more RAM and CPU... Of course.
  • 1. Put all the connectors on one side of the board.
    2. USB 3.0
    3. More ram.
    4 Faster CPU.
    5. Built in Flash.
    6. Fix all known problems.

  • by resfilter ( 960880 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @12:55PM (#48132589)

    the pi isn't that useful in itself, but it's great inspiration once you pick a device, say 'this should have a little computer in it', and go from there

    i bought mine as a 'spare cheap linux thingie', and after i did the usual nerdy tweaks and patches and automating maintainance junk that i always do, it sat there powered up for years not doing any good. i couldn't even run it as a time server (my initial plan) since i found it didn't have an RTC and i didnt' care to install one

    then i got the idea to build it into my car to do "something". i didn't really know what. music?

    regular car pcs aren't that interesting, but what the hell. i got a 12v to 5v power supply, got wireless working on it so i could manage it from my living room, and mounted it in my glove compartment.

    it ended up inspiring a chain of r&d packed with scope creep and overengineering that burned off many hundreds of hours of my boredom time:

    - dissecting how the serial datastream from my car's ecm worked
    - learning about raw ftdi commands and eventually resigning myself to learing libftdi
    - writing a toolkit to manage the datastream in c
    - make the entire thing threaded and modular and have tons of crazy debugging and error checking features
    - learn how github works, just for a change over my other revision control choices
    - develop my own retarded configuration file format so it could be hacked to work with other cars (why? i have no idea)
    - trying to achieve the maximum throughput of requests/responses
    - hacking together a little ncurses dashboard of various engine parameters
    - writing a standardized datalogging interface that logged everything, all the time
    - interfacing it with analog signals to get more data (wideband o2 sensor input)
    - writing a decent datalog analyzer program to make use of the data to better tune the car, to the point of where i could just execute a binary and get new more accurate fueling tables handed to me

    if it wasn't for the pi, i never would have learned about all that junk in such detail, and my car wouldn't run so well!

    it was full of challenges, limited usb ports, hacking the usb ports so the wireless adaptor wouldn't overload the thermal fuses, the lack of RTC meant logging timestamps could never work properly (used a 'global time index counter' type thing), etc.

    i can keep going too, if i make this thing play music, i can rig it up so it becomes an inspired dj, plays slow calm tracks for crusing around, and hard fast tracks when i start driving harder.. i also plan to rig the GPIO up to my steering wheel controls to do nifty things like be able to control my idle speed with what used to be a volume control..

    money well spent for sure.

    if i had to hack a real car pc together, or butcher a laptop to build it into my dash, i probably wouldn't have bothered due to the initial cost and time investment. once it's there, you just can't resist hacking on it.

    • oh and the screen was on special for $20 on amazon as a 'backup camera'. it ended up only being good enough for ncurses with a big ugly font.

      there's a picture on here.

      http://fbodytech.com/aldlrpi.h... [fbodytech.com]

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @06:00PM (#48135581)

      Man you should write this up for the blog at www.raspberrypi.org People would love to read about your experiences. The community that has risen up around the Pi is what really makes it what it is. Thousands of people learning and teaching others. It's like the excitement of the old days when I got my C64 and started learning what you could do with 8bits clocked at 1mhz and 64K of RAM. And people think the Pi is underpowered.

  • I use mine for video playing primarily. It makes a surprisingly good low-power HD media center to hook to, say, a digital home theater projector, so long as your gear is all HDMI enabled and your video is all h264. Its really shit for anything that needs more bandwidth than a USB bus though; because that's all it has; a USB bus. Even a PC from 1998 can easily blow the doors off it for general I/O throughput to disk and ethernet due to this somewhat unfortunate limitation. If all the on-board parts were

  • I'm testing the RPi B+ as the CPU core of an industrial, optical sensor. We like it so far. We wish it had an on-board RTC.

    It would sure be nice to be able to program an alarm to wake the RPi from a suspended, low power state.

  • by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Monday October 13, 2014 @02:24PM (#48133561)
    I bought a Pi to stick into an old Sony Boombox that had a worn out CD player. I added a WiFi USB adapter andI loaded MPD/MPC on it and use it to stream music from the house server. I mostly use it in in the garage and the backyard. I added a USB sound adapter, and spliced its output into the boombox's CD input. Sounds great and now I can listen to any of the albums I've loaded on the server instead of having to carry CDs with the boombox.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not on its own of course, the onboard sound is lousy, but with a cheap add-on DAC it makes a good digital music source for hifi. The CPU and RAM is sufficient for the task, it's running headless so I don't care about the GPU, and at under 2W I don't care about leaving it permanently on. I have 2 SOCs feeding my hifis, one on an RPi and one on a CuBox (considerably more powerful). There isn't much to choose between them to be honest, the CuBox indexes new files slightly more quickly and the RPi doesn't need

  • Add two more GigE ports so it can run PFSense.
  • I'm using it to run a real-time machine learning algorithm for near chaotic combustion control. The ultimate goal is higher fuel efficiency with less CO2 emissions. Here's a YouTube video about the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • I'd like to see an RTC and a power switch/button on the next RPi.

    I'm not sure the project goals of giving kids "hands-on, low-level interaction with computing devices" have been met. Linux is just too powerful/complex an OS to offer that to kids. You can use python modules to program the GPIO pins, but as soon as you do that you're getting into electronics and might as well use one of the Arduinos (which have a lot less abstraction).

    It's a nice form factor at a nice price, and i have a few (doing va
  • How many times have you seen an old, embedded system with a bunch of proprietary electronics in it and thought, "well that sucks". There are people out the still selling this kind of solution for unreasonable sums of money, and the Pi can often do everything they do, and do it better. It can interface to practically anything, and it's so cheap you can keep spares on-hand to replace any failed units. Hell, you can even assign one unit to poll all the others and report failed units.
    Configuration is a dream to

  • I'd love to see USB 3.0 and gigabit ethernet on there. Hell, throw in onboard wifi while you're at it.

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