A recent survey of the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter.com shows that there were 23 live projects looking for funding around the Raspberry Pi platform and were 97 focused around the Arduino platform. That is because if you have hopes of taking your design into production you will want to make sure you not only make it through design but that prototypes and scalability to production are possible as well. The Raspberry Pi uses an ARM1176 based SoC from Broadcom and even though there are still licensees for the ARM11 core most licensees have moved past the classic ARM® architectures to the more modern Cortex™ devices. Even ARM recommends looking at Cortex A5 based devices for newer SoC designs (see “Considering an ARM1176-based design?”). Additionally, all the alternatives to Raspberry Pi have multiple versions to exercise the specific peripheral set of the particular MCU family member they feature. To date, there are only two versions of the Raspberry Pi and the only difference is memory configuration, number of USB ports, Ethernet connectivity, a reset circuit, and a mounting hole. Overall functionality remains pretty consistent between the two Pi platforms.
So what else is out there? This is why there is no better time to be a designer. Companies and communities have spent millions of dollars making sure you can find what you need and support you all the way through production at the lowest cost to entry ever imagined.
Digikey doesn’t sell the Raspberry Pi or accessories, etc.