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Raspberry Pi joins the brick-and-mortar brigade

The Raspberry Pi Foundation was formed in 2009. (Source: YouTube/Raspberry Pi)
The Raspberry Pi Foundation was formed in 2009. (Source: YouTube/Raspberry Pi)
The Raspberry Pi Foundation opened its first shop earlier this month, at the Grand Arcade shopping center in Cambridge, England. The move to a brick-and-mortar presence for the previously online-only Raspberry Pi gives enthusiasts a chance to physically browse through the products the charity has been working on, including the Pi 3A+ and Pi 3B+.

It worked for Apple, and now it could work for Raspberry Pi. Although many online retailers eschew the opportunity to have a brick-and-mortar presence, it seems Raspberry Pi does not want to be among those ranks. The people behind the immensely popular single-board computers have decided to bring their wares to the people of Cambridge, which is where the Raspberry Pi Foundation has its headquarters.

Is Raspberry Pi going to survive in the cutthroat world of brick-and-mortar retail? Well, you would have to say the chances are strong, considering the various models of the Raspberry Pi general purpose computers are now the best-selling British computers ever, racking up sales of over 19 million and counting. The new 64-bit Pi 3 models have been doing especially well in luring buyers with their novel wireless connectivity – over nine million units sold according to Eben Upton, one of Raspberry Pi’s founders.

With some details of the Raspberry Pi 4 starting to trickle out, and the move to a brick-and-mortar presence that sells computer-related products and unrelated branded goods (bags, mugs, badges, “Babbage Bear” soft toys, etc.), it could be a satisfying year for the charity. If you’ve just picked up a Raspberry Pi computer (you can get a Pi 3A+ with 512 MB RAM for £23 or US$25), you might be wondering what to build with it. A personal seismograph, pet monitor, barcode reader, and fart gun machine are just some of the many applications Pi users have come up with.

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Daniel R Deakin, 2019-02-17 (Update: 2021-09-28)