The makers of the Raspberry Pi mini-computer, which has taken the tech world by storm, are bringing out a new version which promises to be six times faster with double the memory.
The Raspberry Pi 2 will cost the same as the original version at £23 and distributor element14, part of Leeds-based Premier Farnell, believes it will sell three million of the credit card-sized computers a year.
The original Raspberry Pi was designed to teach children the basics of how computers work in an age when many are so accustomed to high-tech computers they have no idea how to fix them when they go wrong.
The makers likened these children to car drivers who have no idea what to do when their car breaks down – they lift up the bonnet and don’t have a clue how it works.
Claire Doyle, head of global Raspberry Pi division at element14, said when the original version was launched the group believed it would sell 10,000 units.
However global demand has led to the shipment of 4.5 million of the original units since the launch in 2012 and of these it believes that 3.5 million are in the hands of children.
Raspberry Pi 2 will have 1GB of RAM to run bigger and more powerful projects and will boot up in less than half the time of its predecessor.
Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, said the firm hopes to sell three million Raspberry Pi 2 computers a year after selling around 2.5 million of the original version last year.
A lot of existing Raspberry Pi users are expected to buy the latest version to use as a second computer in the home.
“Over the last year we’ve been looking at ways to produce a follow on,” said Mr Upton.
“We really can’t wait to see what people will get up to with it.”
The firm has made an initial 100,000 Raspberry Pi 2 units and is geared up for strong demand following the launch this week.
Element14 said it has seen strong take-up of associated products such as cameras and wireless adaptors as people look to expand Raspberry Pi’s capabilities.
The launch is expected to boost traffic to the element14 website, thereby boosting sales at parent company Premier Farnell.
All previous Raspberry Pi projects will be compatible with the new Raspberry Pi 2.
The makers said other benefits of the new version will include faster gaming which can be achieved through less lag and a more seamless experience.
The element14 community is now the largest online community for design engineers to share ideas, knowledge and solve challenges.
It currently has over 280,000 registered users.