Raspberry Pi 3 Brings More Powerful Features in a Tiny Package

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-03-01
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Raspberry Pi 3 Brings More Powerful Features in a Tiny Package
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    Raspberry Pi 3 Brings More Powerful Features in a Tiny Package

    Because the Raspberry Pi 3 is more powerful than its predecessors, users should be able to create new uses for the hardware. Here's a look at its features.
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    The Price Is Right
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    The Price Is Right

    One of the reasons the foundation has sold more than 8 million Raspberry Pi computers over the past four years is its unbeatable price. The affordable Raspberry Pi 3 doesn't break from tradition and costs just $35. The device is available now.
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    There's an ARM Processor Inside
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    There's an ARM Processor Inside

    The Raspberry Pi 3's key ingredient is its processor. The device has a 1.2GHz, 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor. According to its own benchmarks, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says the chip is 10 times more powerful than the processor in the first Raspberry Pi. The organization said that "real-world applications" will see a performance boost of between 2.5 times to more than 20 times compared with the first-generation device, depending on what applications users run on the device.
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    It Runs Basic WiFi
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    It Runs Basic WiFi

    Likely in an effort to save some cash, the Raspberry Pi 3 doesn't come with the latest wireless technology. Instead, the device runs 802.11n WiFi rather than the latest version of the wireless networking technology, which should be fine for most applications for this mini PC.
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    A Helpful Hand on Bluetooth
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    A Helpful Hand on Bluetooth

    The foundation didn't skimp when it comes to Bluetooth in the Raspberry Pi 3. The computer features Bluetooth 4.1, meaning it will work with the faster Bluetooth-compatible devices on the market. Look for that critical module to play an important role in the design of devices based on the Raspberry Pi 3.
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    It's Fully Compatible With Raspberry Pi 1 and 2
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    It's Fully Compatible With Raspberry Pi 1 and 2

    It's nice to hear that the foundation isn't turning its back on the Raspberry Pi 1 and 2. In fact, the company said that anything users create with the Raspberry Pi 3 would be fully compatible with its predecessors. In other words, it will be possible for people who developed software or peripherals for the earlier Pi models to run them with the latest model.
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    The Tutorials Will Still Apply
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    The Tutorials Will Still Apply

    Tutorials have proved to be a critical component in the Raspberry Pi's popularity over the years. But rewriting the tutorials out there may not be worth the effort to coders who want to help the community. Thankfully, the foundation has reassured would-be owners that they won't need to wait on coding tutorials: The Raspberry Pi 3 is fully compatible with all lessons available now. For novice users, especially, that's an important selling point.
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    It's a Fine Option for Students
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    It's a Fine Option for Students

    The Raspberry Pi Foundation is pitching its latest device as an appealing computer for students. In fact, it has partnered with the Code Club to promote coding among children aged nine to 11. The foundation has championed childhood coding since its founding, and its partnership with Code Club, coupled with the Raspberry Pi 3, could be critical to enhancing that effort.
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    It's a Great Option for Tinkerers
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    It's a Great Option for Tinkerers

    Like previous Raspberry Pi devices, the Raspberry Pi 3 is designed for those who like to tinker. The whole idea behind the Raspberry Pi is to offer coders a cheap computer from which they can create interesting inventions. The Raspberry Pi has been used in the past to track a person's health, create video games, deliver light shows and even act as a media center. Now with more power, the Raspberry Pi 3 could unleash even more interesting and innovative concepts from the foundation's loyal community.
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    It's Not Replacing the Old Models
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    It's Not Replacing the Old Models

    The Raspberry Pi Foundation was quick to note that while the Raspberry Pi 3 will be the most powerful option for consumers, it's not the only model to buy. In fact, the foundation isn't planning to phase out the elder models. Instead, customers will be able to buy the Raspberry Pi 3 alongside the Raspberry Pi 1 and Raspberry Pi 2. That's important to expanding Raspberry Pi's popularity—and the connectivity between devices—over the next several years.
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    What to Know Before You Buy
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    What to Know Before You Buy

    The Raspberry Pi 3 is now on sale for $35. However, there are some things to know before you buy. The device is only available through resellers, including Element14 and RS Components. To run the device, users will need a recent version of either New Out of the Box Software (NOOBS) or Raspbian, a variant of Linux-based Debian. The device can also be used with third-party operating system images, including Ubuntu MATE and even Windows 10 Internet of Things.
 

To celebrate its fourth birthday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced on Feb. 29 the Raspberry Pi 3, an improved version of its popular and highly affordable single-board computer. The Raspberry Pi 3 is notably more powerful than its predecessors, but keeps the same $35 price tag as the Raspberry Pi 2. Like the earlier versions, the Raspberry Pi 3's focus is simple: to deliver an appealing configurable computer to people of all skill levels who want to create something interesting with technology. Earlier models have been used as embedded processors, as a basic PC replacement or for educational purposes to teach programming skills. The third version should enable people create more powerful and versatile devices. This slide show covers the key components that should make the Raspberry Pi 3 a popular upgrade for computing novices and advanced do-it-yourself device designers. The technology isn't groundbreaking, but it has enough new features to ensure that people will find new ways to tinker with the computer and create new uses for the hardware.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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