Scott Hanselman

The new Raspberry Pi 2 will run Windows 10 and run Universal Apps

February 02, 2015 Comment on this post [45] Posted in Win10
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I'm a huge Raspberry Pi fan. I've got three around the house, I use one for a Media Center, one for 3D Printing, and one for messing about. Now I'm gonna get a BUNCH more as the Raspberry Pi 2 has been announced and for a $35 computer that fits in your pocket this new version has some amazing things going for it.

  • Still tiny! Same size as a Raspberry Pi B+. My cases will still work. ;)
  • HDMI full sized! Ethernet! Camera port!
  • Still uses Micro USB for power!
  • BUT now it has...
    • A 900 MHz quad-core ARM Broadcom Cortex A7 with a BCM2836 system on a chip adds up to 3x to 6x the performance. Woof.
    • 1 GIG of RAM (shared with GPU)

Raspberry Pi 2I love using my Raspberry Pi as a "Dedicated Device." While it's clearly a general purpose computer, it's so cheap and powerful I'll use it for one thing and have it do that one thing well. Watch for water in my basement and text me if a sensor gets wet. A tiny Minecraft machine for my kids. A 3D Printing Print Server. A small games emulator. An open source media player.

And now it seems I'll be able to hack on a Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 while I deploy a Universal Windows App!

Windows 10 is coming to the Raspberry Pi 2

Not only did the Raspberry Pi Foundation announce the Raspberry Pi 2, but it seems that Windows 10 will support Raspberry Pi 2 and we can get it free for the Maker community through the Windows Developer Program for IoT coming later this year. Last year Microsoft announced the Windows Developer Program for IoT and put Windows on the Intel Galileo board. Today Windows gets even better for IoT and Maker scenarios by supporting makers on RPi2.

This means you could theoretically have a Surface Pro 3 running a Universal App. Then a Windows Phone also running that same Universal App. And finally a Raspberry Pi 2 (note there's no shell) also running a Universal App. I could make my little Raspberry Pi 2 a dedicated device that runs Windows 10 plus my App. I can write code for it using the same languages, tools and techniques that I already know.

It's pretty clear that the way to go with Windows 10 from a developer's perspective is Universal Apps. You get a great development experience, good API coverage, tooling that makes cross-compilation easy, and now you can go from Raspberry Pi 2, to Phones, Tablets, Xboxen, the cloud and beyond. I'm pretty geeked.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 02, 2015 13:10
That's awesome news!!

Now only we need to Xamarin.Forms to add support for universal apps to go complete: XBox, Windows, Windows Phone, IoT (Galileo and Raspberry) + iOS and Android.

Such an incredible moment top be a XAML and C# developer!!
February 02, 2015 13:23
I thought the headline was joke! That's awesome.
February 02, 2015 13:28
This is great news, not only is there more awesome pi, but now there is mainstream windows support for the most recent version. this can only help both platforms become even more ubiquitous which, in my opinion, is a good thing.
February 02, 2015 13:50
Wow, that's pretty cool. More awesomeness to the Raspberry Pi 2!
February 02, 2015 14:15
Do you know if Odroid-C1 will be supported as well?
February 02, 2015 14:23
That's awesome news, just saw the guys being interviewed, great news indeed, I have to get my Pi 2 as well.
February 02, 2015 14:51
Even if the board size changed, you could always just print a new case.
February 02, 2015 15:09
Here's hoping we'll also be able to host ASP.NET apps, if nothing else than by self-hosting ASP.NET 5 within a Universal app running headless.
February 02, 2015 15:55
So Microsoft can make this run Windows 10 but not 300$ tablet called Surface RT or almost 600$ Nokia 2520?!? Thanks money hungry...
February 02, 2015 16:38
@Kuukuna well, Windowss RT isn't the most powerfull tablet, but it may have the same performance as this one RPi 2...
February 02, 2015 16:54
So... am I right in assuming that this means it will be technically possible to stream my Xbox games to another TV in the house by just getting a Raspberry Pi? That's pretty cool...

I also wonder if the Xbox app will also enable TV streaming...again in combination with something like the Raspberry Pi it seems like a pretty good combination...

February 02, 2015 17:46
This is pretty cool - but the proof will be in the pricing. Will a Win10 Pi 2 also be $35? I'll bet it will be more like $235, making it useless. :\
February 02, 2015 17:48
Oh - I should learn to read. - curious to read the details on how this will work. :)
February 02, 2015 18:31
Note: Windows 10 on Pi 2 will be an IoT platform, not a desktop OS.

You'll develop your app in Visual Studio on a Windows PC and deploy it to the Pi.

Raspbian will continue to be the main supported OS.
February 02, 2015 18:31
I can't help but chuckle whenever I see "Universal" ... +1 for Xamarin.Forms support for "Universal" apps, so they can join the "Multiverse" of platforms out there. ;)

Good to see Xamarin.Forms get the mention it deserves!
February 02, 2015 19:01
can one indeed make headless universal apps currently?
February 02, 2015 19:28
The Windows 10 good keeps on coming !
February 02, 2015 19:51
Sounds intriguing, but what about ability to muck around with hardware on the low level? Universal apps are sandboxed, no?
February 02, 2015 20:32
This sounds like yet another Microsoft lock-in gimmick. Right now, it is possible to write code on the RPi under Linux UNRESTRICTED, meaning that software developers can write code to make the RPi do whatever the developer wants RPi to do.

This UNRESTRICTED platform creates implicit understanding between developer and user. It says:

"I, the user, own the device. You the developer, write code for the device. You, the developer, may write code to make my device do whatever either you, or I, or both says it should do."

This is what Microsoft probably has in mind:

"I, the user, own the device. You, the developer, write code for the device. When you write code for the device, there is this big, hulking, software company called Microsoft, that will intervene between me, the owner, and you the developer, and any code that you write will have to be approved by Microsoft by going through Microsoft's "app store", where Microsoft will take a cut of any revenue. If you do not like this situation, tough. No Windows. But Microsoft will lie to everyone so, using words like 'community' and 'open' and 'universal' and ego-inflating babble like 'empowering' to make everyone think that they are getting something good, when in fact, is is more of the same - the .NET Diaper, running an interpreted version of one of their lock-in platforms."

We will see if this is true.

If Microsoft offers the NATIVE WINDOWS API on RPi, then I am wrong.

If Microsoft offers nothing but .NET interpreted layer of fat on RPi, I am right.

February 02, 2015 21:20
Franke - You're wrong, and you're also super negative.
February 02, 2015 21:33

I suppose we've earned that kind of thinking based on the past, but you're making a fair number of assumptions.

This is specifically Windows targeting tiny devices. It's Windows on the hardware, not some layer over Linux. It's free. It's very maker and education friendly, and will have some differences from other Windows 10 SKUs in order to support that. It'll run on the Raspberry Pi 2 you buy today. At Scott showed, it will run universal apps, just like phone, desktop, tablet, Xbox, HoloLens and more. It will benefit from all the other work going on in Windows 10.

Give us a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

But, if you decide you don't like it, or you aren't interested in our development tools and languages or operating system, run Raspbian or Ubuntu or any number of other distros supported on the Pi. The Raspberry Pi is still a great piece of hardware at a great price, and those are also excellent operating systems.

In fact, I just ran an internal hackathon last week for our field in Redmond (and in December in Miami and Prague). What did we use? Raspberry Pi B+ running Raspbian, showing how it can connect with our Azure services (in a business context in this case), because we want to support all customers, not just those running Windows.

February 02, 2015 23:56
Scott, what exactly do you mean by "note there's no shell" and that it will support Universal Apps? Does no shell mean no GUI? If so, how can universal apps be supported?
February 03, 2015 0:06
Hey Scott,
What sensor did you use to watch for water in your basement? is there a repository of sensors that i can search for
February 03, 2015 0:08
Great news !!! A couple of hours ago I think I saw a nice pic in this post of a win10 device, a win10 phone and the Raspberry Pi. The image is gone, so my guess is the integration will be similar to the one with Galileo? I think this makes a lot of sense ... ;)

February 03, 2015 0:16
Scott is it confirmed that universal apps will run on the Windows 10 version that runs on the Pi 2? Even full GUI apps?

I ask because in the Hackernews comment thread Ben from the Raspberry Pi Foundation says the version of Win 10 for the Pi will be for IoT apps and not a full blown Win 10 desktop: This makes sense since the Pi is pretty low resource and there would be lots of weird licensing issues (i.e. can the public even buy a retail version of Win 10 that runs on ARM?). However I'd love to understand how a universal app would run in this presumably desktop-less environment. Are there restrictions on what APIs you can use?

In general there needs to be a lot more clarity from MS on what Win 10 on the Pi 2 will provide. I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of disappointment when people realize it's just writing some services in VS and sending them to run on a Pi 2 (which is still pretty cool IMHO).
February 03, 2015 2:39
This is pretty awesome! I'm just wondering - How do you get the universal apps onto the device? Did they make it as easy as Android to side-load apps yet or do you have to publish your app in Microsoft's app store first? Thank you.
February 03, 2015 9:24
That's awesome news. Now in country like india where people can't afford computers can have very cheap computer running on windows.

Thanks for sharing.
February 03, 2015 14:24
How is the performance of Windows 10 on a rasp pi 2 going to be acceptable?

The original couldn't read/write to a usb attached disk faster than 3Mb/s, and since the ethernet was dangling off the usb controller anything extra (like network traffic) slowed this down even further...
February 03, 2015 15:27
I still can't get over the fact that it's a quadcore with 1GB of Ram for only $35!
February 03, 2015 17:03
That's cool!

But I still has a nightmares since my last RPI I owned that simply destroyed every darn recommended memory card I used with it, so I let it feel the power of a baseball-bat.
February 03, 2015 19:25
I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft, but one OS to rule them all - this is what gets me sold! One OS which can run on almost any device, this is what the future is. For example the JVM - it's not the best platform out there, but the thing that you can run it anywhere is one of it's biggest pluses (by no means I don't want to start a flame war, I just use other technologies and please don't be offended :) ). If the MS guys play their cards right, Win10 could be a game changer. And I believe they will. They somehow are able to learn from their mistakes:

Win98 was a hit. Win 2000 was not.
WinXP was a hit. Win Vista was terrible.
Win 7 was a hit. Win 8 not so much, but they've fixed some of their mistakes with Win 8.1.
Win 9 is skipped. Win 10 could be it :)
February 03, 2015 20:56
Does anyone know if Netflix will run on it? I'm assuming there is a Netflix universal app for Windows 10.
February 03, 2015 22:08
I agree with Tony and Eivind: we're getting mixed signals on what Windows on the Pi actually is.

I had assumed it would be similar to Windows on Galileo: command-line only, which is fine for IOT usages (like a basement moisture sensor).

But, based on this post, it sounds like it will be a full GUI. What does "note there's no shell" mean - only GUI, no command line? That would be pretty disappointing to me - I run my Pi's headless, since they are serving as IOT devices, not desktop PCs. I really don't want to hook up a $$ HDMI monitor to my sensors.

Nonetheless, this is great news. Given that Windows on Galileo seems to have been (undeservedly) overlooked by makers, I was worried that Microsoft would quietly abandon the Developer Program for IOT. Now that Microsoft is doubling down, it would be helpful to provide a forum for makers to discuss their projects and ask each other questions. The lack of such a forum has hampered the Galileo project: Microsoft Connect is too limited, and Stack Overflow too intimidating to hobbyists.

February 04, 2015 11:04
I agree with Dan. The original post by Scott seems too broad in that the Pi 2 will run universal apps; perhaps a subset. I can't believe Microsoft would abandon IoT - and don't forget about the .Net micro framework. But I'm not sure Microsoft has solidified it's direction in this area, which I believe has held back some developers from utilizing Microsoft technologies for IoT. I signed up some time back to the IoT Developer Program and I think I've received only one email. I do think integration with Azure will be a key. It will be interesting to see where all this goes.
February 04, 2015 14:40
I think the nice thing about this is that for those of us who are .Net developers we now have a pretty decent amount of choice about the platforms we decide to target, regardless of the type of app that you want to build.

.Net is slowly becoming more and more platform agnostic, and thanks to Xamarin and open sourcing .Net and projects like Omnisharp we're no longer constrained to just working with Windows, and this can only be a good thing.

As for the Raspberry Pi at the moment details are a little "thin on the ground" other than it will run the version of Windows 10 designed for IoT devices, but then again Windows 10 isn't out yet, and we don't have a firm release date at the moment, so I'm expecting more information to come out as we get closer to the Windows 10 release.

As a couple of comments have already said there are a few things that will be key:

1. How to get the apps onto the raspberry pi? Will they be side-loaded or will they have to come down from some form of central repository (something like chocolatey for IoT devices or an IoT marketplace).

2. What sort of capabilities will be have within the apps. Will the app be able to integrate with extra sensors, cameras, bluetooth, wifi, or any other connected "thing" that we might want to plug into the Pi. That's the joy of the current generation Pis... There are so many different "things" that can be plugged in that the boards can be adjusted to just about any imaginable purpose. If MS are targeting the maker community with this release then I'm certain there'll be some way of interacting with these sensors but I'm guessing we'll just have to wait.

3. I'm assuming that the Pi 2 will have the same remote debugging capabilities are Windows Phone, but what about an emulator so we can debug the apps before we start remote debugging? Again it's still early days but I'm sure we'll hear something about this soon. MS has always done developer tools well (just look at VS) so I'm pretty sure they'll have this covered in some form or another.

Personally I can't wait to get my hands on Windows 10 on a Pi, like Scott said "I'm pretty geeked."
February 05, 2015 16:29

I have a couple of B+ units myself, but I also have two Netduino+2 units for sensing. I get all of the .NET and VS goodness in a decent package. Would you consider changing up your IoT sensor projects from RPi to Netduino? Give MS stuff some more love?
February 07, 2015 4:16
"[–]steixeira 118 points 4 days ago
We actually are running real Windows 10 on the Raspberry Pi 2. This free version of Windows 10 is optimized for Maker-class boards, so it doesn't include the full Windows experience. We'll have more detail to share in the coming weeks. Thanks! Steve Teixeira, Microsoft"

Not sure what Steve means by the full windows experience, but I'm guessing it has something to do with start menus. ;)

bring it!
February 07, 2015 6:22
A quad core 900 MHz machine with a gig of RAM running a modern OS.
Wait, what now? I thought Celerons were what I was being punished with for living a bad life. I certainly did not sign up for this.
February 08, 2015 15:40
"No shell" probably means no Start menu, no desktop, no control panel, no Store, no Charms bar, no GUI except the GUI of the app it's running. You install an app onto the device by connecting it to a PC, and then it only runs that one app fullscreen (on top of a minimal Win32 and .NET runtime) and loads that app on startup.
February 11, 2015 20:58
It would be cool to have IIS / ASP.NET / MVC apps running on Raspberry PI 2.
February 12, 2015 17:11
The Pi 2 is simply awesome and I look fowrard to seeing all the cool projects which will be unveiled over the next few months.
February 23, 2015 22:43
I've been using the galileo with Windows Developer Program for IOT and am hopeful that the new OS will be improved. Lots of things in the current Windows Developer Program for IOT for Galileo that make it almost un-bearable at times. Such as, when you try to do anything regarding security like importing/exporting certificates or not having a firewall etc. Also, it does not use NTFS only FAT32. Hoping that they can do a bit more polishing with this next release. and it should also have WiFi support.
April 02, 2015 3:34
a Raspberry Pi 2 (note there's no shell) also running a Universal App

(emphasis mine)

Oh dear, I hope you're wrong about the "no shell" bit. That would be terribly disappointing if true. I know that everyone is expecting there to be no GUI, but to not have some kind of GUI on a device with an HDMI port seems really, really silly, to me.

I'm not looking for a fully working Windows install or anything, I mean it's a quad core ARM, so it can't replace a desktop PC or laptop in any way. I guess I don't see the harm in a graphical shell on such a limited platform.

Hopefully there will be enough API on there for the community to develop a shell, I guess. Otherwise I see absolutely no advantage over the Galileo, or even a NETMF device. IoT devices don't need the CPU above what the Galileo offers, and arguably they don't need that much, either. I have lots of IoT devices deployed away from electricity, away from infrastructure, running C++ on 72MHz processors, happily reporting all kinds of stuff over WiFi, so if there's no shell, I don't see the appeal of Windows on the RPi whatsoever.

And, of course, I realize that the RPi is not a target for Microsoft's desktop empire, but COME ON, no shell?!
April 03, 2015 22:56
Jeremiah - I didn't say no GUI, I said no SHELL. That means no Explorer/StartMenu. But UI apps, sure.
April 27, 2015 20:19
Any idea when the RPI version of Windows 10 will be available? I'm ready to dig in :)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.