The fastest selling British personal computerFlickr:Teardown Central

Three years on since the first launch of the Raspberry Pi microcomputer, the company has announced that it has surpassed the five million sales figure, with no signs of slowing down.

The first single-board computer was developed at the Raspberry Pi Foundation in 2012. A recent tweet on its success said: “We think that this means that in just under three years, we’ve gone from zero to being the biggest selling UK computer manufacturer ever. Yowza”.

Sony UK Technology Centre (UKTEC), a world-leading manufacturer of professional and broadcast camera systems, has confirmed it will be increasing from its production from 18,000 units to 80,000 units per week to cope with the expected level of demand of the next-generation Raspberry Pi 2.

Raspberry Pi is a low-cost credit-sized single board computer that plugs into a monitor screen or television, and is controlled by a standard keyboard and mouse. It was first developed as a low cost method of training programmers and to help young people acquire basic computing skills, such as programming languages. It functions similarly to a desktop computer, which facilitates a myriad of functions such as browsing the Internet, playing games and processing documents, among others.

One of the founders of Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton – also a Cambridge academic and employee at Broadcom – commented: "We're amazed. We were thinking of selling 10,000 of these when we first started. We sold 500-times as many as we were ever going to sell. It's brilliant news. We think it puts us second behind Alan Sugar for the largest amount of computers sold by a British company.

"The good thing about it is lots are going into the hands of children, which is the mission."

As the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity, all profits from the sales support its educational mission and its research and development arm. Reaching the five million sales mark will help train more teachers for free, provide educational resources, undertake educational outreach, and fund open-source projects.

Continuing its momentum, the company has recently launched a second version of its deluxe edition, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, boasting a processor that is six times faster than its predecessor. More than 500,000 units have already been sold.

"It just keeps going, the curve keeps curving up," added Mr Upton. "It's great to have it coming out of Cambridge. It's an amazing place. It's the only place in the UK you could do something like this."

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