Raspberry Pi Steams Ahead With 14 Million Units Sold Despite Competition

Raspberry Pi Manufacturing by Sony UK.
Image: Sony UK Technology Center

Earlier this week, Sony’s UK Technology Centre announced that it has manufactured more than 10 million Raspberry Pi SBC’s over the last five years, bumping the total number of Raspberry Pi’s out in the wild to 14-million units. This is a huge milestone for both the Raspberry Pi foundation (http://www.raspberrypi.org)  as well as Sony UK who was initially contracted by Element14  to manufacture 10,000 units per year back in 2012. Raspberry Pi has been such a success for Sony, that it has since ramped up its manufacturing capabilities to be able to produce more than 15,000 units per day, with a maximum peak capacity of 100,000 units per week. . 

Sony UK TEC Managing Director Steve Dalton OBE said: “The last five years has seen unprecedented growth across our Pencoed facility, something we are understandably incredibly proud of... Our growth has been intrinsically linked to the success of the Raspberry Pi and we are delighted to reach the 10m manufacturing milestone. This is a significant achievement for everyone involved in its production, especially our devoted Sony Team, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and distributors Premier Farnell.” 

Raspberry Pi Foundation founder, Eben Upton said: “The last five years has been extremely exciting for us as we watched the Raspberry Pi become Britain’s best-selling computer of all time. When we initially began manufacturing it here at Sony UK TEC we could never have imagined it would be the soaring success it has become – and for that we are entirely grateful to Sony and our distribution partners.” 

Raspberry Pi 3

“We are particularly delighted that the Pi has set the benchmark for utilizing innovative and progressive manufacturing right here in the UK, as it was always our wish to make the computers in this country,” he continued. “Thanks to Sony UK TEC’s unparalleled manufacturing standards, comprising the latest techniques and the very best in engineering talent, we were able to create a product which has become a global best seller – with 14million sold, two thirds of which has been built in South Wales.”

Part of the Raspberry Pi’s success is its ever growing community which seems to fully embrace the “open source everything” mentality that made Arduino so popular. If you have a project in mind that utilizes a Pi, chances are that someone has a tutorial, source code, and sometimes even an ISO of the OS ready and waiting to give your project that jump start it may need. When you combine the massive power of the maker community along with the continued development and support from all entities involved, SBC’s like the Raspberry Pi thrive and become somewhat of a modern day classic. 

This is what so many of the Raspberry Pi’s competitors fail at. There are a lot of different SBC’s out there, but none seem to gain much traction outside of very small sects of makers who like to buck the trends and try something different. Boards like the Orange Pi, Intel’s Edison and Galileo, Banana Pi, and Asus’ Tinker Board struggle to gain market share due to the lack of pre-built libraries and readily available tutorials from trusted voices in the community. This truly is an example of the “If you build it, they may not come” risk that comes with less innovative products. All too often, a new SBC will hit the market with a lot of marketing hype and bought fanfare only to fall flat on its face just a few weeks later when consumers realize that adding more RAM, and a faster processor simply is not enough, and that the $35 spent on a Raspberry Pi goes a lot further thanks to the tremendous community support behind it.

With more than 14-million Raspberry Pi’s manufactured, it's quite clear that the Pi is here to stay, and will continue to be a major player in the microelectronics education space as well as remaining popular with makers worldwide for the foreseeable future. With the Pi 3 now the defacto SBC chosen by makers and educators throughout the US, UK and Canada, as well as the overwhelming success of the Raspberry Pi Zero W, I am positive that we will see the 20-million unit milestone reached within the next few years, if not sometime in 2018. That’s going to wrap up this one, remember to #HackTheWorld and #MakeAwesome! 


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