Arm invests in Raspberry Pi to cement influence over IoT developers

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Arm has announced that it has acquired a minority stake in Raspberry Pi, the popular maker of low-cost, credit card-sized computers. The investment aims to strengthen Arm’s ties with the developer community building IoT edge devices.

“With the rapid growth of edge and endpoint AI applications, platforms like those from Raspberry Pi, built on Arm, are critical to driving the adoption of high-performance IoT devices globally by enabling developers to innovate faster and more easily,” said Paul Williamson, SVP of Arm’s IoT business group.

Financial details of the investment were not disclosed by either company. Raspberry Pi has relied on Arm processors in its devices since the nonprofit launched in 2008 with a mission to promote computer science education.

Originally intended for students, Raspberry Pi computers have become a staple tool for hobbyists and professionals developing IoT prototypes and products. The company has sold over 40 million units globally, including its latest Raspberry Pi 5 model with a faster Arm-based processor unveiled last month.

More than half of Raspberry Pi units sold in 2020 went to industrial and commercial customers, up from the education sector that previously dominated sales. The shift towards professional usage likely attracted Arm’s interest, as it aims to grow its presence in the IoT device market.

“Arm technology has always been central to the platforms we create, and this investment is an important milestone in our longstanding partnership,” commented Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi.

“Using Arm technology as the foundation of our current and future products offers us access to the compute performance, energy efficiency and extensive software ecosystem we need, as we continue to remove barriers to entry for everyone—from students and enthusiasts, to professional developers deploying commercial IoT systems at scale.”

Arm’s timely investment comes just before the annual RISC-V Summit in Santa Clara next week. The open-source RISC-V instruction set architecture has gained traction as an alternative to Arm designs for embedded and low-power applications.

While not currently a major threat, Arm acknowledged in its IPO prospectus that the rising adoption of RISC-V could lead customers to use the royalty-free architecture over Arm’s proprietary designs. The new partnership with Raspberry Pi helps solidify Arm’s footing with IoT developers as competitive pressures mount.

(Image Credit: Raspberry Pi)

See also: Google prepares Android for the RISC-V era

Want to learn about the IoT from industry leaders? Check out IoT Tech Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. The comprehensive event is co-located with Digital Transformation Week.

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