It may have only been on the consumer market for a relatively short period of time, but the innovative Raspberry Pi device has already made an impressive splash. The machine, which is designed to encourage young people to develop basic computer skills, has become a common sight in schools in the UK and elsewhere since it was launched in 2012. And the success of the credit card-sized device has been underlined by the suggestion that a millionth copy has just been sold.
Although the team behind the device has refused to divulge specific figures, it is estimated that as many as one million copies have been sold to the consumer market. This is, of course, great news for the designers, who are sure to have made a fortune on the back of its popularity. As much as anything, though, the news evidences the fact that the wider public are curious to learn more about computing.
"The folks at element 14/Premier Farnell announced today that they alone have now made and sold more than half a million Raspberry Pis," a blog on the Raspberry Pi website explained. "They're only one of two official distributors; we don't have completely up-to-date figures from RS Components yet, but Farnell's news suggests that we're well on the way to having sold our millionth Raspberry Pi."
The Rasberry Pi device has been widely hailed as a true triumph for British engineering and is also one of the most impressive technological innovations of last year. In fact, its burgeoning status within the industry is emphasised by the fact that the Pi even has its own app store. The app has been widely hailed by people in the industry, many of whom have endorsed its 'tip jar' function, which allows users to donate money to apps even if they are free.
How can the engineering industry build on the success of the Pi? Also, what more can be done to encourage youngsters to study computing?