Raspberry Pi Gets Custom Manufacturing

October 28, 2015 by Dave Haynes

raspberrypi1Web traffic tells me there are a lot of people out there interested in using Raspberry Pi micro-computer boards as digital signage players, since it is possible to put together a player for less than $100.

That crowd will be interested in news that the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s commercial subsidiary, Raspberry Pi Trading, will offer the main Raspberry Pi board to third-party original equipment manufacturers, who can create customized versions of the device to sell themselves. This may involve things like reconfiguring the layout, adding new interfaces, or boosting the memory on the boards.

The initiative is a partnership with Element14, which has been building Raspberry Pi devices since 2012.

Reports Venture Beat:

… the latest shift is all about catering specifically to a new market. “We’ve seen increased demand from industrial customers around the world who want to use Pi in end product designs,” said Claire Doyle, global head of Raspberry Pi at Element14.

For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi was created three years ago as an easy entry point for programmers, though it was also pitched as an affordable means of “hacking” new technologies in emerging markets. It’s come a long way since its launch, too — it initially supported only a handful of operating systems, including Linux. But a recent processor upgrade allowed it to support Windows, which effectively transformed the credit card-sized contraption into a capable machine.

Whether a Raspberry Pi – the original, newer one or a custom version – is “capable” for digital signage is a subject that could be debated endlessly. Companies like Silvercurve in the UK have developed a gaming graphics engine that sits on top of the Pi system and taps into the acceleration, but that takes R&D time and money.

On its own, the little Pi does pretty basic work, like slideshows and full-screen video. The device itself costs $35-$45, but once you add the various needed bits like an enclosure and power supply, the actual cost is closer to what it costs for Android players and even some low-end x86 PC sticks.



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