Eben Upton: Why it’s a long road to the Raspberry Pi 4

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Technical limitations are the greatest challenge to developing future devices like the Raspberry Pi 4, according to Pi creator Eben Upton.

But while the foundation will not move away from hardware, the Raspberry Pi creator told us that physical limitations will make it difficult to continue the same pace of development on the next generation of devices.

“We’re kind of at the end of the road for 40 nanometer,” he said. “There’s not much more you can do in that process, because ultimately you’re limited by thermals. In the end, you can add as much silicon area as you want, because if you can’t afford to toggle the transistors in the silicon because the thing will cook, then you can’t get any faster.”

According to Upton, the projected lifecycle of the Raspberry Pi 3 is around three years, meaning that there is likely to be at least two more years until the foundation releases a new iteration of its single-board computer. “It’s a long road to get to Pi 4,” Upton said, “but we’ll get there eventually.”

In the meantime, the Raspberry Pi Foundation will spend more time focusing on its charitable endeavours and community projects, which include supporting out-of-school computing education via its 5,000 Code Clubs and launching a teacher training magazine called Hello World. It will also focus on its Pixel operating system that was launched late last year.

The foundation celebrated the mini computer’s fifth birthday last week, having sold a staggering 12 million of the devices. “It’s good to have got to that number and to have got to that number so quickly, and the curve has been steepening up this past year,” Upton said.

Five years on from the Pi’s debut, Upton’s enthusiasm for the foundation’s products has continued unabated, stoked particularly by the Raspberry Pi Zero, which was updated for the fifth anniversary to include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. “I want to do more Zero,” he enthused. “I’d love to do more tinkering.”

Picture: Eben Upton, credit: Adam Shepherd/IT Pro

This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk



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