Raspberry Pi – A Delicious $25 Computer

Raspberry Pi – A credit-card sized computer has sold out after it’s soft release at the end of February, and the demand for this new device just keeps on rising!

Image Credit: blog.ziade.org

A British organisation is behind the new Raspberry Pi, and there are hopes that this tiny PC will make computing accessible to everybody. 10,000 units went on sale from the 29th of February 2012, and the demand reached a rate of 700 per second. Like the purchase prices for most computing devices, you won’t really need to squeeze your savings, because the device only costs $25, while there is another model (with few hardware add-ons) available for $35. It’s a no frills piece of technology, which offers a computing experience to people that simply cannot afford to spend on an average PC.

Reasons behind its development

Designed by the Raspberry Pi foundation, a registered charity established in 2009, education was the stimulus behind its development. The foundation is supported by the technology company Broadcomm, and the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. The goal was to create a cheap device that would encourage and empower the next generation of computer programmers. The creation of Raspberry Pi has now opened the doors to a number of possibilities, specifically providing an hands-down solution for people from all over, who cannot afford today’s standard computer equipment.

What’s within (Tech Specs)

Raspberry Pi is simply a single-board computer. The developers have come up with two models of the device so far, simply called Model A, at $25, and Model B, at $35. The difference between the two is that Model B has the addition of a second UBS port and a network connectible Ethernet port, but apart from that both are identical. It measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm, and weighs just 45g.

The Raspberry Pi is equipped with the ARM1176JZF-S 700MHz single-core processor, and a Videocore 4 GPU, which is capable of handling full High Definition Blu-ray quality video playback.

It has a total of 256MB of RAM, and an SD card reader which acts as the storage/ hard drive, for the device. There is a standard 3.5mm audio jack for plugging in headphones or speakers, and if you want to use a microphone, it can handle a USB powered microphone. There is an HDMI input port, so that it can be plugged into any HDMI compatible display device, along with an RCA video port so that it can be plugged into a standard television set too.

For Wi-Fi connectivity an external Wi-Fi adapter can be plugged into the USB port. The device is powered by 5v micro USB, and astonishingly, it is possible to run the Pi from 4 AA batteries!

What about software?

The developers of Raspberry Pi have been using a Linux operating system, and are using Fedora as their recommended distribution. Linux is free and open-source so that it can be developed and improved. While the Raspberry Pi used Fedora for now, it will soon support other Linux systems, like Debian and Arch Linux. The idea is go get people in the community to develop new software for the device, and if software can be compiled for the ARMv6 architecture it should, in theory, work on the Raspberry Pi.

Is there anything missing?

What the Raspberry Pi lacks is a keyboard, mouse, and display device, so they need to be bought separately. The Raspberry Pi foundation explains on its FAQs that,

We’re trying to build the cheapest possible computer that provides a certain basic level of functionality, and keeping the price low means we’ve had to make hard decisions about what hardware and interfaces to include.

A lot of time and though has gone into developing it, and seems that the Raspberry Pi is ticking all the right boxes so far.

In the strive to keep costs down, the bare-bones PC comes with an open board, so all the components can be seen. And at the moment, Raspberry Pi is being sold without any case (outer-shell) although they are currently being developed. And at the moment, Raspberry Pi is being sold without any case although cases are currently being developed. If you intend to get yourself one, then you can buy it from Farnell.com.