I’ve had several people mention some other low-end hardware platforms to me recently — of course the beagle bone series, the intel galileo and edison products, and a couple others. All nice looking hardware with nice features.
And I am not spending any time with them. Because they lack the two most critical features of the Raspberry Pi — price and availability. If I need 100 Pis tomorrow, I can get them. And they are the cheapest thing going. The pricing on some of the Intel parts is wildly uncompetitive.
The open source linux software stack on the Pi is important too. Means I don’t have to worry about lockin, we can shift to another hardware platform easily.
All this adds up to a platform with really low trial friction — easy and cheap to acquire, no concerns about lockin. There is a reason they’ve sold ~4M and that the sales rate is apparently accelerating. And that is turning into an ecosystem advantage.
The exact technical features of the Pi are largely irrelevant. There are technical and design aspects of the Pi that I hate. I am sure the beaglebones have a better frimplestat and the intel parts are superior at ruzzmutzing and the nvidia tegra boards have nice plurblegots or whatever. But they all miss the availability, price, low friction marks. And are missing the emerging ecosystem advantage.