Raspberry Pi 2 runs free Windows 10, costs $35

Microsoft is making a free version of Windows 10 that will run on the updated, quad-core microcomputer.

The Pi 2 packs much more power, its creators say. Luke Westaway/CNET

Microcomputing fans take note -- there's a new Raspberry Pi in town.

The all-new board brings a host of new hardware, including a Broadcom 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. Those upgrades, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says, make the Pi 2 Model B a much more powerful computer -- not just a good computer for its $35 price.

The Raspberry Pi is an extremely simple computer that can be yours for very little money. It looks and feels very basic, but can be built into any number of geeky projects, and is designed to get youngsters interested in coding.

"It's been successful beyond our wildest dreams," said Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton at the London launch of the Pi 2 Model B, noting that since launch, 4.5 million Pi boards have been sold to date.

"Over time it's become clear that there is interest among children in learning computing," Upton said.

The Foundation says it won't be discontinuing the other Raspberry Pi boards, with the A+ board -- introduced back in November -- still the cheapest way to get your mitts on a Raspberry Pi.

The Pi 2 Model B is the sequel to last year's B+ , and keeps the same tempting $35 (just AU$38 in Australia and roughly £23) price tag, going on sale today from Element 14 and RS Components. The Foundation says the new board is six times more powerful than its predecessor, and will make it strong enough to run Windows 10, as well as the more usual Linux operating systems.


Windows 10 version

Raspberry Pi is on a collision course with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 operating system. "For the last six months," the Raspberry Pi Foundation writes on its blog, "we've been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers."

"It runs," Upton said at the board's launch. "I've seen it running."

"We are excited about our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and delivering a version of Windows 10 that supports Raspberry Pi 2," Microsoft writes on its website.

A note of caution -- the version of Windows 10 that the Pi 2 ends up running could be quite different to the normal, consumer-centric version of Windows 10 that most computers will be running. The Pi-compatible edition will be part of Microsoft's Windows Developer Program for IoT (Internet of Things), which is concerned with bringing Windows development tools to small devices. "This is Windows 10 for IoT applications," Upton said.

As such, Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi is unlikely to appeal to ordinary consumers looking for the familiar Windows OS, but could appeal to geeky types who love the thought of delving into Microsoft's developer tools. Microsoft says it will be divulging more information in the next few months, so stay tuned.

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