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Raspberry Pi and the future of computing

JINOY JOSE P | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 08, 2017

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Pardon my ignorance, what kind of a Pi are we discussing here?

Well, meet Raspberry Pi, the not-so-new buzz word in computing. For starters, it’s a mini computer (as small in size as a credit card). It’s low-cost, festoon-free and, yet, powerful enough to execute most tasks regular computers are capable of doing.

Interesting. Who’re the makers of this number?

The UK-based Raspberry Foundation, which was founded in 2009 by computer scientists from Cambridge University, started developing this series of small, single-board comps to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in poor countries.

The Raspberry team designed the Pi in 2011 and started selling their tiny devices from February 29, 2012. The first generation of Raspberry Pi went on sale and, reportedly, sold 100,000 units within a day — folklore has it that the founder never expected to sell more than a thousand devices at the start. Till date, the foundation has sold more than 12 million units , changing the way computing is done across the globe. Since 2015, the Pi has been the best-selling British computer.

Impressive, but what’s it comprised of, to start with?

Simply put, this is a small computer motherboard that carries an operating system(s) to which you can connect a keyboard, screen, and all those computing peripherals and make it perform specific computing tasks. For one, you can use a Raspberry Pi to turn your plain vanilla LCD TV into a smart TV by enabling in it features such as wireless, browsing and so on.

That’s cool!

Isn’t it? That’s one of the many reasons Raspberry Pi got immensely popular among geeks and regular computer users alike. In fact when the Raspberry Foundation released its first models, they became far more popular than many thought they would. It found several hundreds of unexpected users, such as those in, say, robotics.

Lovely. But why we are seeing the future of computing in this now?

There are many reasons but let’s start with how the smartphone industry will benefit from this. It is a fact that today’s phones are more powerful than computers of, say, a few years ago and they integrate many features, from photography to financial services to healthcare assistance. Juxtapose this with the potential growth in the Internet of Things, which basically means connecting appliances to the web and controlling them via the internet.

Yes, IoT.

Research firms Gartner and IDC estimate that, by 2020, more than 25 billion devices will be connected to the IoT world. Experts say this will be an era where technology becomes simpler, smaller and bewitchingly low-cost. And this is where Raspberry Pi is going to leave a solid imprint. This small computing device has proved, beyond doubt, that we don’t need super computers or power-packed workstations to perform many mundane IT tasks. These customisable, ultra-flexible, easy-to-build, bare-essential motherboards can make a big difference in an all-connected world, which is what we all are walking into, sooner or later.

Can’t agree more.

That’s why several smartphones such as OnePlus3 uses the Pi, giving many premium, high-end devices a run for their money. The success of Pi has prompted several useful clones such as the Orange Pi. Seeing a bright future, the Raspberry Pi team is now focusing on enhancing its software mettle, even as the Pi is revolutionising new sectors such as gaming, education, fintech, wearables, publishing and more.

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Published on March 08, 2017
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