The makers of Raspberry Pi are celebrating their fourth anniversary with a new version of the $35 computer packing several key updates, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Raspberry Pi 3 is about the size of a credit card but comes with endless possibilities for everyone from programmers looking to create fun new projects to students learning about programming in the classroom. With the additions of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the Raspberry Pi 3 is able to be used as a central hub to connect smart home devices and sensors.
The updated computer also includes a 64-bit processor, making it 50 percent faster than the Raspberry Pi 2.
Popular projects with Raspberry Pi include connecting the computer to home devices to create an "Internet of Things" ecosystem, building an inexpensive robot and creating games.
"The two main things that people do with their Pi are use it as a PC replacement or use it as an embedded computer," Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi, told the BBC. "The Pi 3 is doubling down on both those things rather than going looking for new things to do."
The Raspberry Pi 3 goes on sale today from element14, RS Components and various other resellers, according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
The Raspberry Pi team had another surprise release last Thanksgiving with its Raspberry Pi Zero, a $5 computer that's about the size of a stick of gum.
"The original Raspberry Pi Model B and its successors put a programmable computer within reach of anyone with $20-35 to spend," Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi, wrote in a blog post last year celebrating the release. "Since 2012, millions of people have used a Raspberry Pi to get their first experience of programming, but we still meet people for whom cost remains a barrier to entry. At the start of this year, we began work on an even cheaper Raspberry Pi to help these people take the plunge."
Despite its cheaper price, the Raspberry Pi Zero runs the Raspbian operating system and various applications including Minecraft, Sonic Pi, which allow users to play with code to produce new sounds, and Scratch, the programming language that lets people create their own stories, games and animations.
The computer comes with a 1Ghz chip, a micro SC slot and micro USB ports for data and power , allowing a user to connect to the Internet with a Wi-Fi dongle.