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23 November, 2012 - 11:25 By Tony Quested

Raspberry Pi on cusp of nextgen product

Eben Upton

A nextgen model of the Cambridge-inspired Raspberry Pi micro-computer is set to start manufacture in the UK.

Eben Upton, the Cambridge entrepreneur behind the inspirational product, confirmed to Business Weekly that Raspberry Pi had exceeded all expectations and G2 was ready to roll.

Production has soared since the company ditched China and moved most of the volume manufacture to Wales.

Upton said: “We’ve hit the targets reported by Business Weekly recently: We went past 500,000 products shipped a few weeks ago and as forecast are now closing in on a million units shipped by our first anniversary.

“Most of the volume production is now handled in Wales and we're intending to start production of the cheaper – $25 – lower-specification (no Ethernet) version there quite soon.”

As previously reported here, the device is being used in such diverse projects as monitoring earth from space to wildlife observation in Antarctica, Kenya, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

While two-thirds of the early sales have been in America and Europe, Africa and Asia are catching on fast. Broadening applications for the Raspberry Pi only tell part of the success story.

Upton passionately wants to inspire school children to form waves of new generation computer programmers. He and the business’ only employee – his wife Liz – devote all profits to educational activities.

Raspberry Pi is modelled on the BBC Micro computer devised by Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry at Acorn but retails at a fraction of the price – a boon to communicators in territories like Africa and Asia where cash-strapped families can plug the device into an analogue television.

The lower-specced version of the technology will increase market spread still deeper into previously uncharted territories.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Eben Upton

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