The next generation of the Raspberry Pi -- the tiny, inexpensive computers popular with Linux and open source fans -- is apparently on the way. And in news that could please the IoT market, it will feature integrated wireless and Bluetooth support.
The Rasbperry Pi has not yet made major waves outside the open source community, but it has proven quite popular among people who want low-cost, open hardware that they can use for tinkering or to build embedded applications. With prices as low as $5, Rasbperry Pi devices fill a niche that few other consumer-oriented hardware can.
Now, Raspberry Pi fans can look forward to the Raspberry Pi 3. The Raspberry Pi team has yet to announce the device officially, but as the Register first reported, an FCC document shows that the device is in development. In addition, Reddit users have spotted an advertisement for the device, which gives away some more hardware information.
Most notably, it appears that the Raspberry Pi 3 will feature a 64-bit, 1.2 GHz processor, as well as a built-in wireless card and Bluetooth. That's significant, since previous Raspberry Pi devices required users to install external dongles to access WiFi and Bluetooth.
The updates are bound to excite open source fans who look forward to more hardware features as they build apps that can run on the low-cost Raspberry Pi 3 hardware. But more important -- at least from the channel perspective -- is the opportunity that WiFi and Bluetooth support creates for leveraging the Raspberry Pi 3 for commercial IoT applications.
In 2016, an embedded device that lacks built-in Bluetooth and, especially, wireless support is not especially useful, since it's hard to connect to the network or to peripheral devices. By integrating these features, the Raspberry Pi 3 developers will make it much easier to leverage the device as a controller for other hardware that can be connected over the network or via Bluetooth-enabled sensors.
In other words, the Raspberry Pi 3 looks to be the first Raspberry Pi that's truly IoT-ready -- not just for geeks who want to learn to program for embedded devices, but for anyone who needs an inexpensive, flexible hardware platform for building IoT solutions.