Raspberry Pi sales edge towards four million

Raspberry Pi sales are likely to top four million units before it reaches its third year of availability.

Sales of Raspberry Pi, the small Linux motherboard dreamed up to teach kids programming, have reached 3.8 million units, according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Sales of UK-designed Raspberry Pi continue to move at a steady clip and should crack the four million mark before the year's end if the pace set over the past year continues.

Sales have blown past initial estimates, which Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton told ZDNet in January last year , were thought, at best, to reach 10,000 units. At the time, 700,000 of the $35 motherboards manufactured by RS Components and Premier Farnell had been sold since launching in February 2012.

Since then sales have continued to climb. In July, Upton said three million units had been sold by June of this year — a million more than had been sold nine months earlier in October.

In July the foundation released the Raspberry Pi B+, bumping up the number of USB ports from two to four and expanding the number of GPIO pins along with other refinements to the design of its predecessor, the Model B.

Hobbyists and tinkerers have used the small Linux board to build everything from DIY tablets , smartphones and wearables to private clouds .

Earlier this year, UK-based education startup Kano put Raspberry Pi at the heart of its kit to make it easier for kids to start programming with a pre-packaged set of peripherals for Pi, including a keyboard, cables, a speaker, help guides and the Kano OS. Kano landed $1.5m in funding during its Kickstarter campaign and, in an update last week, said it's now shipped over 17,000 kits to 86 countries

While riding the wave of interest in building devices for the "Internet of Things", the low-cost, bare-bones computer has also helped spawn a new generation of devices for hobbyists, including a similar though pricier effort unveiled by Microsoft earlier this year called Sharks Cove .

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