Raspberry Pi 3 creator hopes for Windows 10 desktop OS support

Windows 10 desktop support is feasible, but the final decision is in Microsoft's hands

Raspberry Pi was originally aimed at students and hobbyists, and it can now function as a Linux computer.

And if support for Microsoft's Windows 10 desktop OS is added to the latest Raspberry Pi 3, it could become a viable computer for millions of PC users who are not technically savvy.

Support for Windows 10 desktop is on founder Eben Upton's wishlist for Raspberry Pi 3, which shipped in February. The mini computer already supports Windows 10 IoT Core, a stripped-down version of the OS for Internet of Things devices.

But that decision is not in Upton's hands. It's feasible, but not now contemplated as part of Raspberry Pi's relationship with Microsoft, Upton said.

"It's a Microsoft decision," he said. "I would love it if Microsoft would do that. I'd love to see it."

The Raspberry Pi 3 is already being used to make smart devices, robots, drones, media streamers, and thin clients like ViewSonic's SC-T25.

In the meanwhile, Raspberry Pi is taking other steps to make the computer user friendly. Raspberry Pi 3 is widely considered a computer for enthusiasts, but Upton wants to "grandma-proof" it so it's easy for everyone to use.

Raspberry Pi 3 has entry-level PC features with a 64-bit ARM processor, Wi-Fi, and a high-definition graphics processor. An intuitive user experience with a graphically attractive OS and standard software is needed to make Raspberry Pi a viable PC alternative, Upton said.

To that effect, Raspberry Pi is moving to make Chrome a standard browser in Raspbian, the official Raspberry Pi OS. Other Linux distributions like Ubuntu can also be installed on Raspberry Pi.

Windows 10 desktop is compatible with only x86 chips. The mobile version of Windows 10 can serve as a desktop-like OS in a pinch, but it is compatible only with Qualcomm-based ARM chips. Microsoft would have to make one of the Windows 10 versions compatible with the 64-bit Broadcom ARM chip in Raspberry Pi for the OS to work on the device.

Microsoft is relying on Raspberry Pi to expose its Windows 10 IoT Core to the growing community of enthusiasts making smart gadgets and IoT devices. The partnership has been successful, and Microsoft's Azure cloud provides the middleware needed for makers to connect devices to services, Upton said.

Raspberry Pi is also being used in IoT implementations, and it is becoming difficult for Upton to track how the boards are being used. He's seen them used in networking and storage equipment, and "homebrew" devices designed by companies for internal use.

The industrial sector is the next big push for Raspberry Pi, Upton said. There's a growing demand for industrial IoT devices and computers to operate industrial equipment, and Raspberry Pi could meet both needs.

The first Raspberry Pi shipped in 2012 as an inexpensive computer to help students learn to program. The board has since sold in the millions, inspired look-alikes, and spawned a cottage industry of small companies developing components and connectors.

In the speedy growth, Raspberry Pi hasn't lost its primary educational focus. Next month, the book "Learning Computer Architecture with Raspberry Pi," written by Upton and Jeffrey Duntemann, will be released. It will provide an in-depth look at the Raspberry Pi hardware architecture and will be a reference book for students and hardware enthusiasts.

"We're still having fun. When we stop having fun, we'll stop making it," Upton said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Raspberry Pi

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?