Raspberry Pi Will Be Baked In The UK
Designers say they always hoped this would happen
Official worldwide Raspberry Pi distributor Premier Farnell has announced a partnership with Sony UK Technology Centre that will see the miniature ARM-based computer made in Wales.
The device was designed in Britain, but previously manufactured in China, due to cheaper production costs.
Raspberry Pi, created by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, is a basic computer that can be connected to a TV or monitor via HDMI. It can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, including office work, Internet browsing and high-definition video playback – all possible through a circuit board the size of a credit card, which costs just over $25 (£16).
The device was designed primarily to get children interested in programming, and inspire a new generation of British innovators.
Now, a multi-million pound deal will see Raspberry Pi manufactured at the Sony Technology Centre in Pencoed, Wales. The factory will start off by producing 300,000 units for customers around the world, creating around 30 jobs in the process.
Sony will be investing in additional equipment to fulfil the order requirements, including machinery needed to execute the technique called package-on-package. This process allows the processor and memory to be stacked on top of each other, reducing the distance that high-speed signals need to travel, and possibly changing the familiar look of the board.
“When it came to reviewing our manufacturing strategy we were always keen to bring the production of the Raspberry Pi to the UK,” said Mike Buffham, global head of EDE at Premier Farnell.
“From the outset Sony UK Technology Centre demonstrated its enthusiasm for the product as well as its expertise in manufacturing. Their site is highly impressive and I am very confident that the team in Wales can deliver, providing us with a high-quality product, within our designated timeframe, all within budget,” he added.
“When Pete Lomas and I built the first Raspberry Pi’s for testing last year, we never dreamed it would become so popular so quickly,” commented Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. “The Raspberry Pi was built to develop young people’s skills in computer programming and electronic engineering; we had always intended and hoped that the Raspberry Pi would also be manufactured within the UK.”
“By bringing the production of a UK product back into the country alongside its development and distribution, we can help support our economy and demonstrate the capabilities the UK has in terms of technological innovation, invention, and manufacturing.”
Raspberry Pi contains a 700MHz ARM11 processor, VideoCore IV GPU and 256MB of RAM. There is no hard disk on board; the computer uses an SD card instead, and USB connectivity can be used to provide a storage port. Other available connections include an HDMA port, RCA video port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. The computer can work with any of the Linux-based operating systems, such as Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu or Fedora.
Earlier this week,University of Cambridge had launched a free online course designed to help programming enthusiasts write their own operating system for the miniature computer.
And last month, a researcher at Nokia had managed to run Mozilla’s Firefox OS on Raspberry Pi, proving that Linux isn’t the only choice available to device’s owners.
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