Raspberry Pi 3 hits with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth after four long years


This morning, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the third generation of its popular microcomputer. Four years after releasing the original Pi Model B, also on a leap year, the latest iteration has upgraded specs, new wireless connectivity and complete backwards compatibility with prior generations. More below.

Since releasing the original Pi Model B, this microcomputer has seen over eight million units sold according to the press release. The latest rendition continues on with the classic all-in-one design but adds improved specs alongside industry standard wireless connectivity.

Perhaps most notable is the new 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU from Broadcom that includes a “33% boost” in speeds over the previous generation. The jump to a 64-bit architecture will also provide a “50-60% increase” in performance over the Pi 2.

The Pi Foundation also made the move to include wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity in the newest model. Previously, skipping a hardwired connection meant purchasing an add-on dongle and thus occupying one of the USB ports. While locking users into a 802.11n radio may go against Raspberry Pi’s fully customizable roots, freeing up an extra port is likely a welcome a trade-off. The board is still capable of being powered by a 5V microUSB source but a 2.5A adapter is recommended if you’re operating more robust devices via its ports.

Another key piece to the puzzle is backwards compatibility. There are plenty of eBooks and DIY guides on how to build Raspberry Pi-focused projects. The newest version is identical in terms of layout and functionality to the first two generations, so the project building process should feel very familiar.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is available for purchase today at official partners and resellers online such as Amazon for $35. You’ll still be able to find the Pi 1 and 2 for sale for the foreseeable future. Get started with one of these clear case kits or complete bundles with HDMI and wireless dongles included.

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Source: The Raspberry Pi Foundation

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