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article imageRaspberry Pi 2 unveiled; updated minicomputer now runs Windows 10

By James Walker     Feb 2, 2015 in Technology
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched an updated version of its acclaimed credit-card sized computer featuring upgraded hardware and much more power than its predecessor, giving it the ability to run a version of Windows 10 later this year.
Available now for $35, the same price as the existing previous-generation Raspberry Pi Model B+, the new version is equipped with a 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor that provides around six times greater performance than the 700MHz single-core chip in its predecessor.
The important detail here though is that this processor is based around the ARMv7 architecture. This allows it full access to modern desktop computer operating systems, including Linux distributions like Ubuntu Core and, more importantly for many, Windows 10 when it launches towards the latter end of this year.
Windows 10 will be available for free to the community for use on the Raspberry Pi in its "Internet of Things" form. Eben Upton, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, explained the move as allowing the company to feel like it was a "real PC." He said "We've had people queuing up and saying they want Windows. I think there's a sense that 'you're a real PC' if you run Windows. In terms of whether we approached Microsoft, or Microsoft approached us, I don't think it was either, I think it was a conversation in a bar. We've had a very good relationship with them for a long time, and it was just, we can do this now with ARM v7, let's do it." If you buy a Raspberry Pi 2 today, you will initially have the choice of an updated Raspbian or NOOBS OS to run on it alongside a new version of Ubuntu built specially for the ARMv7 core.
The Raspberry Pi 2 has also seen noticeable improvements to other hardware on the board. It can now decode 1080p full HD video at 30fps and has support for MPEG-4 AVC encoded files. More importantly for many, it now features four USB ports instead of a meagre two.
The Raspberry Pi 2 is going on sale now with an initial production run of 100,000 units for $35. The original Raspberry Pi will continue to be available alongside the new product. With the ability to run Windows 10, the Raspberry Pi could become a cheap entry point into computing for many who were previously daunted by the Pi's custom build of Linux, Raspbian. Three years after launch, Pi is back and continuing its mission to educate the world about computers and code.
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