Microsoft Is Quick to Nibble on Raspberry Pi 3

No sooner is Raspberry Pi 3 announced than Microsoft releases a Windows 10 IoT Core update that supports the tiny new hardware.

Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 3, with built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and a faster 64-bit processor, was released yesterday. Not missing a beat, Microsoft announced a new early-access build of its Windows 10 IoT Core operating system that supports the new single-board computer. Microsoft is also carrying Raspberry Pi 3 in its online store.

An update to Windows 10 IoT Core Insider Preview extends the lightweight OS to the new, more powerful hardware. At $35, Raspberry Pi 3 is priced the same as its predecessor, but it offers a significant bump in performance and functionality. In addition to integrated 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1—formerly add-ons—the new board can run 32-bit applications up to 60 percent faster than Raspberry Pi 2 and 10 times faster than the original Raspberry Pi.

"The new Raspberry Pi 3 is faster, more powerful and the first out of the box IoT ready Raspberry Pi. We're thrilled to deliver the power of Windows 10 on the new board and your feedback continues to help us improve Windows 10 IoT Core," wrote Billy Anders, director of program management for Microsoft Windows IoT. The device features a quad-core, 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, replacing the 900MHz ARM Cortex-A7 chip, and a Broadcom BCM2837 system on chip (SoC) that shares the same basic architecture of its predecessors (BCM2835 and BCM2836).

Now, developers and hobbyists who have settled on Microsoft's OS for Internet of things (IoT) devices can include the new hardware in their projects.

"Optimized for connected things and smaller devices with or without a display, Windows 10 IoT Core brings the power of Windows, including enterprise grade security and servicing, automatic updates through Windows Update when connected to the Internet and the rich Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs that give apps easy control over system management features," stated Anders.

Raspberry Pi's growing popularity—the Raspberry Pi Foundation has shipped more than 8 million units and has grown from a handful of volunteers to 60 full-time employees—has also increased demand for custom and commercialized solutions based on Raspberry's hardware and Microsoft's software, said Anders. In response, Microsoft has teamed with element14, a maker community and marketplace.

"We are working with element14 to provide customers with the option to choose Windows 10 IoT Core as part of their Raspberry Pi Customization Service," Anders stated. "OEMs will now be able to build versions of the Raspberry Pi that meet their unique requirements, use the open source BSP that Microsoft has released and deploy with Windows 10 IoT Core."

The IoT, and its expected impact on the IT industry, is motivating tech companies to think in terms of "things."

In December, Freescale Semiconductor unveiled its new, ultra-thin Kinetis K22 microcontroller, an IoT chip as thin as a blade of grass. At 0.34mm thick, the company envisions that the chip can be used in wearables and implantable medical devices.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...