Sized similarly to a credit card, the recently released Raspberry Pi computer has reignited the memories of self assembly hobby kits for a budget price
In an era of increasingly expensive computers, smartphones and tablets that are carefully styled to attract consumers like a magpie to something shiny, a crack team of specialists from the University of Cambridge has moved in the opposite direction to much acclaim and consumer demand.
The result, the Raspberry Pi, is a credit-card sized bare-bones PC crafted on a budget and designed to inspire students to once again challenge their minds and learn the internals of a computer as opposed to simply hitting the stores to pick up the latest pre-packaged ready meal equivalent of the PC scene.
Raspberry Pie Computer Specs
Featuring the bare essentials needed to make a PC function with little superfluous bells and whistles, the open board that makes up the Raspberry Pi is fitted with a selection of components allowing users to hook the computer up to a television screen as well as add the all important keyboard needed to allow for command input.
Available in two slightly varying forms dependant upon consumer’s needs, the Raspberry Pi Model A boasts 256MB of RAM and a single USB port whilst the Model B variant adds a second USB connector and a network connectable Ethernet port.
Both versions of the Raspberry Pi computer feature the ARM1176JZFS 700GHz single-core processor and Videocore 4 GPU capable of Full HD Blu-ray quality video playback. An SD card is needed for storage.
“The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard,” an official spokesperson for the charity based Raspberry Pi parent company has announced. “It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.”
The spokesperson added that the purpose behind the basic Linux based PC is “to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.”
Raspberry Pi Computer Price
Offering basic functionality and a variety of programming and hardware lessons for a basic price, the two Raspberry Pi models have been handed very wallet friendly price tags.
Kicking things off with the Ethernet hosting Raspberry Pi Model B, the higher-end of the two devices will set wannabe owners back a paltry £22 with the fewer feature enabled Model A Pi pegged to land later this year with a minimalist £16 price tag.
“Our main function is a charitable one,” a Raspberry Pi spokesperson said. “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.”
Raspberry Pi Computer Release Date
Despite limiting supplies to a single unit per customer, the Model B Ethernet port packing Raspberry Pi sold out within a matter of hours following its release earlier this year on leap year day, February 29th.
With further stocks of the double USB port touting Model B Raspberry Pi set to be made available in the near future, it has been confirmed that the lower specced Model A iteration will also touch down in the UK ‘soon’ although an exact arrival has yet to be confirmed.
Following the Pi’s official release the first 11,000 units produced were quickly snapped up with Harriet Green, chief executive of Premier Farnell, one of the manufacturers employed to produce the Pi, revealing demand had peaked at 700 orders per second for the £22 set up.
“I think that a lot of teachers, parents and children are worrying that they're becoming just consumers - taking something out of a box and plugging it in,” Green said. “There's a lot of points of concern about children being just consumers rather than creators and innovators.”
Green’s comments were echoed by Glenn Jarrett, Head of Marketing, Electronics, at manufacturer RS Components who said:, "Raspberry Pi provides a revolutionary low cost platform, which opens up programming to a whole new audience.”
He added: “We are very honoured to have been chosen to work with the (Raspberry Pi) Foundation as a distribution partner at the launch of this exciting new tool."
Raspberry Pi Computer Cases
With the Raspberry Pi landing simple as a base motherboard with the odd chip and component soldered on but left exposed to the elements, following the PC’s first phase launch, there has been much interest around cases for the £22 computer.
Whilst some users have been snapped slotting their compact 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm Pi into emptied cigarette packets to protect their hardware, others have crafted bespoke cases from 3D printers.
Design solely with budget in mind, the Pi has not been crafted with a case, or easy DIY cover as a priority. An official case has yet to be announced.