You can now bake your own Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi: The board

You can now customise your own Raspberry Pi hardware thanks to an agreement signed by the company with its long time partner, Element14.

Various options are available for the bespoke service which will be initially targeted at hardware partners with a long term plan to potentially get individual orders shipped.

Element14 acknowledged that you would need to order at least 3000 units to benefit from the service and from its consultancy service.

More than seven million Rasperry Pi units have been sold to date according to Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry pi Trading with three million units sold in 2015 alone.

Initially geared towards the education sector, the Pi's popularity for industrial applications has been growing massively with around a third of orders (1m units) placed by businesses.

A variety of Pi's

Customising your Pi is not that straightforward though as it requires some technical knowledge; Upton mentioned that customers will probably have a prototype or a schematic of what they want.

Because of the custom nature of the service, he was not able to provide an example of how much a customised board would cost or how long it would take to be delivered.

You will be able to reconfigure the board layout, add or remove interfaces, headers or connectors and even change the configuration.

Customers won't be able to tinker with the DRAM routing, change the GPU and related software or the power supply setting. "Everything else," as Upton put it, is "up for grabs".

He also suggested that media players would probably be the most likely to benefit from the service as the Broadcom system-on-chip that powers the Pi is particularly adept at handling video content.

Raspberry Pi hardware will however still remain proprietary with part of the revenue generated from sales of the product line used to prop up the (open source) software.

Element14 confirmed that it will aggregate popular customisation requests with the reference designs shared to the community and potentially mass produced if there's enough demand.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.