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Raspberry Pi hits 1 million sales milestone

One of 2012's top gadgets, the Raspberry Pi mini-computer, is thought to have sold one million units since launching in February 2012.

One of the device's official distributors, UK-based component specialist Premier Farnell, has announced that it has produced and shipped some 500,000 units, an impressive figure that - if matched by the Pi Foundation's other partner, RS Components - should put shipments of the credit-card sized computer over the one million mark in less than a year.

While the exact figure is still to be confirmed, the Raspberry Pi Foundation seems confident it has reached - or is very close to reaching - its first major sales milestone.

"They're only one of two official distributors; we don't have completely up-to-date figures from RS Components yet, but Farnell's news suggests that we're well on the way to having sold our millionth Raspberry Pi," wrote Liz Upton on the Raspberry Pi blog.

The single-board device, which was designed to help stimulate interest in computer programming at schools, has also proved a massive hit with hobbyists due to its über--portable size, myriad uses, and affordable pricing.

"The younger generation has demonstrated significant intrigue in learning how to build and program their own computer device. I have seen projects from Twittering chickens to home beer brewing kits being created using the Raspberry Pi and its accessories," commented Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

To celebrate its achievement, the Pi Foundation released an infographic (see image, top), showing how sales of the credit-card sized computer compare to other iconic entities: apparently, the 500,000 units shipped by Premier Farnel would be taller than New York's Empire State Building if stacked end-to-end.

Based on ARM architecture, the Raspberry Pi features a HMDI socket, video output, two USB ports, Ethernet, audio output, and a SD card slot. Power is provided either by a battery or via a mobile phone charger, and the latest iteration of the gadget features 512MB of RAM. It costs just £25 and is available worldwide.

Reaching the platinum milestone is the latest watershed moment for the successful not-for-profit project. Back in September 2012, the organisation scored a sizeable coup when it succeeded in bringing Raspberry Pi manufacturing operations back to the UK from China via a deal with Sony.

More recently, the Foundation opened the Pi Store app distribution platform, while the computer's first major accessory, the 5-megapixel Pi Cam, was shown off at a November 2012 event and is expected to enter production later this year.