The Raspberry Pi Foundation has starting building the new revision of its credit card-sized computer in Wales, shifting production away from the Chinese factories thanks to a new deal with Sony UK. As part of the deal, Sony will assemble as many as 300,000 of the new revision 2.0 boards proudly stamped with "made in the UK." The move will create 30 new jobs at Sony's Pencoed factory, which also produces professional broadcasting video cameras.
"The Raspberry Pi Foundation encompasses our view on developing young people's knowledge of the technology industry. Organizations like this one help build the technologists of our future by inspiring the next generation," said Steve Dalton, the managing director of the Sony UK Technology Centre in a statement.
A separate agreement with electronics distributor Premier Farnell will result in a majority of the boards shipping to eager customers through its sales network. Production started a few weeks ago so customers are now beginning to receive the UK-built computers.
"It's a fantastic day for us. This has been in the pipeline for about six months after we visited the Sony site," said Eben Upton, the foundation's executive director. "It is so good to see that we can still do this sort of thing in the UK."
In the beginning, UK tax costs and production logistics forced the non-profit to seek Chinese factories. UK factories couldn't do the work for the same costs and they weren't willing to gamble on an unproven product. That's no longer an issue as the Raspberry Pi has been a runaway success. "We'd hoped we might sell about 10,000 in the first year -- so far it's been 400,000. People love it," Upton added.