When I read the spec sheet for the Raspberry Pi 3, I was both excited and slightly disappointed. Excited because the Raspberry Pi Foundation continues to release Raspberry Pis with ever increasing CPU performance, so it is actually usable as a computer now. Also they have continued to add features, for example the on board Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. But disappointed because there is still no USB 3.0.

And this leads me onto my point.

There is a limit to how much further they can go with the current architecture of the Broadcom chip they use on the Pi. So surely this means there will be a point were to add more features (USB 3.0), they will have to use a newer architecture? And if this point is reached, would projects made on older generation Raspberry Pis be supported?

  • 3
    This question invites a lot of speculation, and I'm not sure it's possible to give a really good answer without comment from the Pi Foundation. That said, the Pi Foundation appears to be extremely conscious of backwards-compatibility issues, and have committed to continuing to sell older board models as long as people continue to buy them.
    – goobering
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Looking around you can find different comments from interviews and articles which indicate both new features and new products as well as stability in established products.

From an article in makezine we get specific mentions of USB3.0:

The future of Raspbian

I think a lot of people forget the Foundation’s educational mission, and the importance it places on backwards compatibility with the 8 million Raspberry Pi’s already out there. When you’re dealing with computers in a classroom, not making all your teaching materials out of date overnight is vital.


The future holds new boards

I’d like to see USB 3.0 added, as it really is the universal solution for adding peripherals — especially higher bandwidth ones like disk drives, network interfaces — and removes the requirements for things like SATA” — James Adams, Director of Hardware Engineering, Raspberry Pi

But while I think any hypothetical Raspberry Pi 4 may well have USB 3.0 at this point, I also think the new Raspberry Pi 3 will almost certainly have a longer life than the Raspberry Pi 2. Perhaps two, or maybe even three, years rather than the one that the Raspberry Pi 2 survived. So don’t hold your breath waiting.

As for the frequency of major hardware updates we can look at TechRepublic:

Can we expect a new Raspberry Pi each year from now on?

Upton is adamant that the foundation is not about to start bringing out new Raspberry Pi boards each year. The rapid release Pi 3 is something of a one-off, he said, made possible by a combination of technical and cost factors. The earlier work the foundation completed on designing the Pi 2 paved the way to begin using the more powerful chipset found in the Pi 3. This technical readiness coincided with a reduction in the cost of producing the board, which allowed wi-fi and Bluetooth support to be added without increasing the price.

"We're kind of at the end of that particular roadmap. I would expect a longer pause, a couple of years at least, before any kind of major bump to the platform," he said.

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