Raspberry Pi turns 12!

29th February 2024
Kristian McCann

The Raspberry Pi marks a significant milestone as it celebrates 12 years of innovation, having been launched on the 29th of February, 2012. This revolutionary series of small single-board computers, developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in collaboration with Broadcom, has surpassed sales of 61 million units worldwide. 


The journey from an initial run of 10,000 boards, created to help university students understand computer science, to becoming a cornerstone of technology enthusiasts, educators, and professionals alike, underscores its profound impact on the digital landscape.

Beginnings and evolution

Originally, the Raspberry Pi was designed to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries. However, its low cost, modularity, open design, and adherence to the HDMI and USB standards catapulted it beyond its intended educational market. From its first model in 2012 to the latest Raspberry Pi 5 introduced in 2023, the Raspberry Pi has seen several generations, each more powerful than the last. The series boasts a range of models, including the budget-friendly Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller, highlighting the foundation's commitment to accessibility and innovation.

Breaking records and fostering innovation

With total sales reaching approximately 61 million units, including 57 million Raspberry Pi computers and four million Raspberry Pi Pico microcontrollers, the platform has undeniably left its mark on the tech industry. The Raspberry Pi 3 series, introduced between 2016 and 2018, emerged as the best-selling models, reflecting significant advancements such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth integration, Power over Ethernet, and improved Ethernet capabilities.

The Raspberry Pi 4, enduring as the flagship model from 2019 until the late 2023 release of the Raspberry Pi 5, exemplified the brand's resilience amidst a global chip supply shortage. This period of innovation introduced features like dual-monitor support, increased RAM options, and USB-C power delivery, further cementing Raspberry Pi's status as a versatile and powerful computing solution.

Impact beyond sales

Beyond the impressive sales figures, the Raspberry Pi's real success lies in its broad utility spectrum. From powering complex industrial automation systems and innovative robotics projects to serving as the foundation for educational tools in classrooms around the globe, its influence is vast. The Raspberry Pi Foundation, through the creation of Raspberry Pi Ltd, has not only contributed to the field of computer science education but has also fostered a global community of hobbyists, educators, and engineers.

The Raspberry Pi also played a pivotal role in democratising computing, making affordable, programmable computers available to a wide audience. Its role in promoting coding and computational thinking among young learners has been instrumental in shaping future generations of technologists.

Looking to the future

As the Raspberry Pi enters its next decade, the future holds promising advancements and broader applications. The introduction of the Raspberry Pi 5, with its enhanced hardware and software capabilities, signifies a leap forward in performance and usability. This evolution hints at the Raspberry Pi's continued role in driving innovation, from education to professional development, and its potential to tackle more complex computing tasks.

Raspberry Pi's journey from a modest educational tool to a globally recognised computing platform is a testament to its enduring appeal and adaptability. As it evolves, the Raspberry Pi remains at the forefront of technological innovation, continuing to inspire and enable creators, learners, and professionals to explore the limitless possibilities of computing.

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