Hardware

​Raspberry Pi sales hit 10 million, on track to pass Commodore 64's record

I'm still amazed by the popularity says the board's co-creator.

starterkit.jpg

The new official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

Image: Raspberry Pi Foundation

The $35 Raspberry Pi has sold 10 million units, putting it on track to usurp the Commodore 64 as the third best-selling personal computer in the world.

Despite the co-creator of the British computer thinking they would sell no more than 1,000, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced today it has sold 10,000 times that figure.

On average, more than two million Pi boards have been sold each year since the credit card-sized machine launched in February 2012, putting the system on course to pass the sales record of the 1980's home computer, the Commodore 64 (C64), some time next year.

"We certainly have the C64 in our sights," Raspberry Pi co-creator Eben Upton told TechRepublic.

"Estimates vary, but the best ones I've seen based on serial number sequence analysis suggest they sold roughly 12 million units."

SEE: Raspberry Pi: The smart person's guide

The Pi is already the best-selling British computer of all time, last year passing the Amstrad PCW, which sold eight million units during the 1980s and 90s.

While the Pi is still some way from becoming the world's best-selling personal computer, Upton would like to see the board he helped create secure a place on the top table.

"Obviously the PC and Mac are way out of reach, but it would be nice to be number three," he said.

For his part, he still can't believe that a board designed with the modest goal of getting more students to study computer science at university has become a global success.

"[I'm] still amazed by the popularity. I think we've tapped into a latent demand for this sort of thing."

Helping to drive the board's sales has been its low price, with Upton and his partners in the Raspberry Pi Foundation committed to making a computer that was affordable to kids.

"Very early on, we decided that we would offer the bare-bones Raspberry Pi board without accessories: that way, cost-conscious customers get the lowest possible price, provided they can beg or borrow USB peripherals, a power supply and an SD card," he wrote on the Foundation's blog.

Today the Pi powers PCs, tablets, drones and even supercomputers, thanks to a never-ending stream of creative uses that Pi enthusiasts have found for the board. The Pi even took a trip into space earlier this year, where it was used to conduct experiments on board the International Space Station.

Three generations of Pi have launched to date, with the latest released in February this year. The Raspberry Pi 3 packs a smartphone processor whose performance is up to 50 percent faster than its predecessor, and includes 1GB of RAM and built-in Wi-Fi.

Also helping fuel the computer's popularity has been the diversity of Pi boards, which have appealed to tech enthusiasts of all ages and more recently to businesses. Over the years, eight different types of Pi have been launched, with notable releases including the tiny $5 Pi Zero and the Compute Module, whose slim profile is designed to sit inside appliances.

Next up for the Pi is a software upgrade to the board's official Raspbian OS, which Upton says will reinforce the Pi's credentials as a low-cost alternative to a desktop PC.

"We have an upcoming software release that we think starts to deliver on the PC-replacement angle," he said, adding to expect lots of changes to the UX on the OS. The update will most likely arrive later this month, he said.

To commemorate the 10 million milestone, the Foundation has also launched the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

The kit includes a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, an 8GB NOOBS SD card, an official case, an official 2.5A multi-region power supply, an official 1m HDMI cable, an optical mouse and a keyboard with high-quality scissor-switch action, a copy of Adventures in Raspberry Pi Foundation Edition.

The kit is available to order online in the UK from element14 and RS Components, priced at £99 excluding VAT, and will be available to the rest of the world in a few weeks.

Read more about the Raspberry Pi

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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