Where DIY PC boards are concerned, Raspberry Pi was an undeniable spearhead. As soon as the original unit came out, a flurry of competitors came to the surface, each with their own little twist. That's great for the consumer, but not great for RPi, which persisted for a couple of years without releasing a substantial update.
Well, with the just-released RPi 2, we're brought back up to speed (no pun), and there's more than one reason to get excited: RPi 2 isn't just faster, it also brings Windows 10 support. Oh - and because of the class of device this is, a copy of Windows 10 will be free.
On the hardware side, the biggest boosts to this second-gen RPi include the CPU and RAM. The CPU gets a ~6x performance boost over the previous B+ model, with the help of Broadcom's BCM2836, a quad-core clocked at 900MHz. As an ARMv7 CPU, this RPi can run a wide variety of Linux distributions, and with the power behind it, with good performance. Tying into that, the RAM density has been doubled, to 1GB - not a major jump, especially when you consider that the RAM is shared with the GPU, but it's leaps and bounds better than 512MB.
Like the B+ it's replacing, the RPi 2 is selling for $35.
One of the most interesting aspects about the RPi 2 is its support for Windows 10, because outside of Microsoft announcing it, it seemed that Windows RT was dead. Perhaps it is, at least by name. But with the RPi not having an x86 CPU, and instead an ARM one, it's clear that Windows 10 will have an RT-like version, even if it's not called that.
If you want to pick up the new RPi today, you're going to need some luck; some of its etailers are getting bombarded with traffic. Also, if you are worried that the older models are being discontinued, don't fret: given the fact that many still rely on them, they'll continue to be sold.