When Eben Upton and his colleagues introduced the first Raspberry Pi more than four years ago, they hoped the small, basic and cheap computer would convince more people to get into computer science and that maybe they would sell about 10,000 units.
Now the Raspberry Pi Foundation is manufacturing multiples of that every day and recently passed the 10 million mark. To mark the occasion, Upton and other foundation members decided to roll out an offering that may encourage even more people to start programming.
The group on Sept. 8 released the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit, which comes with everything from the latest version of the Raspberry Pi computer card to an optical mouse to the foundation's official "Adventures in Raspberry Pi" book, all delivered in an official case.
Not bad for a group whose primary hope was to jump-start an interest in technology in younger people and grow the number of those applying to study computer science at the University of Cambridge in England. The money from every Raspberry Pi board sold goes to fund the foundation's ongoing engineering work and such educational outreach programs as Code Club and Picademy.
"By putting cheap, programmable computers in the hands of the right young people, we hoped that we might revive some of the sense of excitement about computing that we had back in the 1980s with our Sinclair Spectrums, BBC Micros and Commodore 64s," Upton wrote in a post on the foundation blog. "At the time, we thought our lifetime volumes might amount to ten thousand units—if we were lucky. There was no expectation that adults would use Raspberry Pi, no expectation of commercial success, and certainly no expectation that four years later we would be manufacturing tens of thousands of units a day in the UK, and exporting Raspberry Pi all over the world."
The first computer was launched to give students, makers and others an easy-to-use system for developing projects or, in the case of students, to learn how to build technology and programs. It has since taken off, and has helped fuel what's now known as the maker movement, where people take tools like Raspberry Pi and use them as the basis for developing new devices and systems. Other tech vendors also are getting into the space—for example, Intel for the past several years has been equipping makers and enthusiasts with such development boards as Galileo and Edison, and most recently aired the first season of "America's Greatest Makers," a reality TV show on the TBS station where makers compete to develop the most interesting product based on the chip maker's Curie technology.
Upton is hoping the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit will get even more people interested in technology, device making and programming.
Included in the kit is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B compute board, an 8GB NOOBS (new out of the box software) SD card, a 2.5A multiregion power supply, a 1-meter HDMI cable, an optical mouse and a high-performance keyboard, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation book.
"This is an unashamedly premium product: the latest Raspberry Pi, official accessories, the best USB peripherals we could find, and a copy of the highest-rated Raspberry Pi book," Upton wrote in the blog post.
The kit, which will cost $131, can be ordered online now in the UK and will be available in other regions within the next few weeks.