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Raspberry Pi 2 supports Windows 10 because customers demanded it

Eben Upton, the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said today that the decision to add support for Windows 10 in their newly revealed $35 Raspberry Pi 2 was due in part to customer demand. He stated, "We've had people queuing up and saying they want Windows. I think there's a sense that 'you're a real PC' if you run Windows."

Previous versions of the super-cheap, and bare bones, Raspberry Pi could only use a version of Linux. However, the new Raspberry Pi 2 uses an ARMv7 processor, which also allows it to use the Internet of Things version of Windows 10. Upton spoke to The Register about what that means for the folks who buy the product:

"It's two versions of the ARM instruction set and architecture," says Upton. "There hasn't been Windows for ARM v6 for a very long time. There was no real appetite to port the Windows kernel to a whole new architecture just to get Raspberry Pi."In terms of whether we approached Microsoft, or Microsoft approached us, I don't think it was either, I think it was a conversation in a bar," he adds. "We've had a very good relationship with them for a long time, and it was just, we can do this now with ARM v7, let's do it."

Upton does state that people who get the PC with Windows 10 installed won't necessarily be able to use it in desktop mode or to run certain old-school applications. However, apps made for the PC will be able to access Azure cloud services, along with other APIs. Microsoft is expected to reveal more about their Windows 10 Internet of Things plans in the near future.

Source: The Register; Via: Neowin

75 Comments
  • Wow Affordable price tag!
  • Indeed, and microsoft wants to give developers for the paspberry pi 2 free windows 10. https://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/Windows-Developer-Program-for-IoT
  • This is not Windows as most people think of Windows.  This is IoT Windows, which is for hobyists who want to control robots and the likes. If it ever gets the desktop, it's ARM based so will be like Windows RT - no x86 applications here, but some fun perhaps.
  • You know, this may well be the answer to what Microsoft does with the Surface and Surface 2, as well.
  • I love Raspberry Pi, hope that it's support for Windows will be great and we can find awesome stuff to do
  • Yay
  • I'm really looking forward to this.  I have a ton of uses for a device like this, but current options are either slightly too expensive to deploy permanently (I feel the need to reuse the hardware for another project) or too much of a pain in the ass to develop for when doing gimicky little projects (not enough free time) due to limited hardware/OS. I think the combination of Windows 10 IoT and very capable hardware for $35 will be perfect.
  • I believe this will be the evolution of RT
  • I was thinking the same!
  • Not at all, this version of Windows 10 will have its roots in Windows CE or embedded.
  • I don't think so considering the Windows kernel powers smartphones and tablets that are also ARM based so it will be the evolution of Windows RT not Windows CE. CE has gone the way of dodo now and, thankfully, won't be coming back.
  • You are wrong, Windows CE has not gone the way of the dodo.  CE lives and still is being updated, supported and used because CE has RTOS capabilities and RT and WinCore do not.  There are still devices that need embedded RTOS capability which Windows 10 will not support. Q: Does this mean Windows Embedded Compact (Windows CE) is dead?
    A: Nope! Windows Embedded Compact remains an important part of our broad IoT offering. It remains Microsoft’s only real-time operating system and is the operating system with the broadest set of ports including numerous levels of ARM and x86 architectures. At Build 2014, we announced updated tooling and increase WiFi stack performance for Windows Embedded Compact 2013. We’re committed to continue serving our customers in this space. http://ms-iot.github.io/content/WelcomeAndFAQ.htm
  • Alright name one popular device, something everyone has in their home, that actually uses Windows Embedded Compact?
  • Survey equipment, retail handhelds, bank machines, and maybe even the Microsoft Band. All to name a few.
  • Exactly, either it's specialised equipment or things that not everyone has in their home. CE is dead when it comes to consumer products.
  • But it still has its uses and is not as dead as you think.
  • Makes no sense for Microsoft to go back to CE when Windows Phone 8 was all about dumping the CE kernel in favor of the NT kernel.
  • I love it. I've been using my first Gen pi as a dsp for certain telecommunications applications, using the gpio, USB and an external set of oscillators, amplifiers and d/a's. With Windows 10 this will be awesome.
  • So Windows RT will live in the Raspberry Pi?
  • No, Windows 10 for IoT
  • If it runs universal apps, might as well compare it to RT
  • How can it be compared to RT if it doesn't have a GUI?
  • That GUI is nothing more than an application running on the actual OS.
  • I would assume it can run the Universal apps, correct?
  • Ok so Superbowl is over.... But my phone is still boring...... Better not be weeks from now. That'll suck
  • Maybe the problem is not in the phone. Just food for thought.
  • Hahaha that's just what the doctor ordered
  • So...who is going to figure out how we can turn this into a sweet, cheap subscription-free DVR by adding a microSD card for storage? ChannelMaster wants $249 for theirs. I would love to think this could be sub-$100.  
  • I don't know about that, but both plex for rt/modern and VLC should be portable to PI.
  • Cool
  • super cheap wooo
  • Niiiiice
  • super cheap woo
  • Love my Pi's.
  • I'm just ready for everything to come together. Sooo ready for everything to be completed...
  • That is awesome! Will definitely buy a kit.
  • So the pi 2 costs $35. With windows 10 installed?
  • No Windows atm, only their own Linux distribuiton
  • Sounds good I'm really looking forward to windows 10. Seems like its going to really open up a number if devices and dev possibilities.
  • Is that price tag for real? We won't get a low end spec'd android device with that price tag!
  • Because it's not a device. It's just the board (With CPU and memory) You have to provide storage and peripherials for input/output
  • You also have to provide a case for it as well.
  • That's good. I'm waiting to see what will be available on that specific edition of Windows 10. I hope people won't have wrong expectation. Very often they buy a 100$ machine and then complain it's slow. Each machine and budget has a specific purpose
  • This seems fun. But can someone tell me 5 things I can do with this? I dont need a $35 paperweight.
  • Search what can I do with a raspberry pi. And you'll see there's a ton of things you could do. One could be a cheap HTPC, an emulator etc..
  • You could use it to run a home security system, I use it to run a media centre
  • You could use it to run Microsoft Office apps...
  • A match made in heaven
  • Interesting, given that the current Windows IoT build (for Intel Galileo) is meant for headless setups (i.e. no GUI) and supports only a subset of native Win32 x86 apps using C++, not WinRT or managed C# etc. If they plan to have a GUI and universal apps on the Pi 2, then this would essentially be Windows RT-- but that appears to be dead, and probably too heavy for an "IoT" OS. That said, the current Windows IoT platform doesn't make much sense -- too much focus on Arduino compatibility, very few tools for Internet stuff (i.e. the I in IoT- yet you have to manually use sockets to access a network), too heavy (1 GB image), and no integration with the rest of MS' dev platform -- so hopefully they'll have big improvements on that soon. In general a stripped IoT build makes more sense for the Pi, but if people expect a full PC experience, that'd require the equivalent of Windows RT.
  • My point exactly.
  • You didn't watch Steve Teixera's demo (http://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/Windows-Developer-Program-for-IoT): easy connection to his cloud service without mucking around with any low-level socket services. Granted he was using a Galileo, but no reason why the same won't work on a Raspberry Pi.
  • A lot of people are saying this is Windows RT but it's more likely to be a flavour of Windows 10 ≤8" Phones/Tablets instead. There will be no support for legacy software because its running on ARM and the RT OS is too bloated with ported legacy drivers from Windows 95-7 for IoT where the available storage is just several GBs.
  • So it's RT minus desktop stuff... still looks pretty much RT to me. And I don't see the bloated legacy drivers on RT. As much as I liked otherwise, there are many legacy hardware which either runs with basic functionality or doesn't work at all on RT (mobile broadband dongles as example)
  • If you are still using the bloated legacy drivers, you are doing it wrong. Throw away those install disks (IDK why device manufacturers still insist on cranking out that bloatware crap, other than to get the unsuspecting user to get "free" cloud storage they will never use), and let Windows handle finding current drivers for your devices.
  • So Upton and Nadella were drunk when they came up with this.
  • Lel,,..
  • Windows 10 Lite.....
  • so now RT tablet can be upgraded to windows 10 as well ? 
  • Only if you demand it.
  • RT tablet is arm based too ... so will it work ? I have one the msft crappy rt tablet
  • Not this version in the article. But W10 for arm is in development, after all small tablets and phones get it. But some asshole decided it is not available for surfaceRT and surface2, and apparently the owners of these tablets are not demanding enough to change this. All they are is unhappy.
  • Wts raspbertty ?
  • Google is your friend
  • Okay il Bing it
  • Again it's one kernal for all... X86 or whatever.
  • Perfect. Now I'll buy one and write code for it. Assuming .net works
  • All Arm devices will be able to run the windows 10 kernal.... All... Even those with A8 processors. Just no desktop. Been saying this since Sept.
  • Sooo, this gets Windows 10 for ARM but my Surface 2 doesn't. Lovely.
  • Who said it doesn't? It will get 10 just not the desktop....
  • Isn't it funny that "nobody" wanted a Surface RT (Windows running on an ARM chip), but there is "customer demand" for basically the same thing when it only costs $35?
  • Okay, I think WPF will be native in Windows 10 and can run in PI 2. Great news.
  • Another distraction for MS. Wow!
  • I will buy, and I know everyone will...only people I see mad are the Linux idiots. I have yet to meet someone in person that use it, and not on tech blogs.
  • Scientific community, international space station and medical industry all use Linux for supposed better security and closed systems. Always been windows myself but I definitely agree with your tech blogger comment, majority are just recycling/modifying others posts and don't really know shit... Oh wait that's all they know lol
  • Because customers demanded it? Yeah that's why they did it...