The Raspberry Pi Foundation has officially announced the launch of the Raspberry Pi 3, which is the first Pi to come with built-in wireless capabilities and a 64-bit processor.
The Pi Podcast was able to get an exclusive interview with Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton on what exactly is the Raspberry Pi 3 and how it stacks up to the rest of the Raspberry Pi lineup. Here’s the takeaway from the interview.
New processor: The previous processor was quad-core 32-bit Coretex ARMv7 at 900mhz. The Pi 3 brings to the table a quad-core 64-bit Coretex ARMv8 1200mhz. This processor was picked not so much because it was 64-bit, but rather because it was a better 32-bit core, which will allow users to still run 32-bit images on the new Pi 3. With the new processor, the Pi 3 is expected to show a 50-60 percent performance improvement over the Pi 2, which is quite impressive given the release time of the Pi 2 to the release time of the Pi 3.
Wireless and Bluetooth: The Raspberry Pi Foundation has heard the cries from the public and answered them. The Pi 3 will come with built in 802.11 wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.1 and Bluetooth LE. One reason the Raspberry Pi Foundation had been holding off on wireless was because in the beginning it had been beyond the budget and the ability of the foundation. For the past two years, the foundation has been at the drawing board coming up with the most sound way to get wireless and bluetooth on board, and now those plans have come to fruition. Since both wireless and Bluetooth are connected to the Broadcom chip via a separate bus and not through a USB port, the Wi-Fi will be faster than using a Wi-Fi dongle.
Other changes: Now that wireless has been built into the board, the LEDs have been moved. Due to this, the foundation will be building a new official case. This new case will have a better overall look and feel than the old official case.
Not everything has changed: Memory is still the same at 1 gig. The Pi 3 will also still have a Micro-USB for power, Micro-SD for storage, 4 USB ports and an Ethernet connection. Things will still be the same for the Pi camera and touch screen. Also, the analog audio and composite video will still be there as well. Nothing has changed with the GPIO pins either.
Cost: The Pi 3 will be priced right around $35. The foundation does understand that price is an important factor and wants to keep the price at the same or right around the current cost of the Pi 2.
Production: Production of the Pi 3 has been underway since January and the foundation has 200–300 thousand units ready to ship. They are hoping to have 100 thousand units produced on a weekly basis going forward to keep up with the demand till they are ahead of the curve.
Future of the Raspberry Pi: The foundation is looking to improve OpenGL support for the Pi 3 and is expecting the driver support to fully be there in the coming months. Going forward, expect to see the foundation shift focus towards the memory footprint and work to increase the amount of available RAM to above a gig.
I’m extremely excited about the Pi 3. I have been one of the many Raspberry Pi users wishing for Wi-Fi and not only did the Foundation deliver, they also brought Bluetooth in as well. Using the Pi 3 as a PC, you will now be able to connect to a network wirelessly and have the ability to connect peripherals with Bluetooth. When using the Pi 3 as an embedded device, you now have the option to use Bluetooth sensors with an IoT hub.
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