$35 PC On Sale; Can Program, Browse Web
One of the most ambitious computing projects of recent years has now become a reality. The Raspberry Pi, a computer that costs just $35, has been manufactured by a British organization and is now on sale.
As reported last May, the aim of this new device is to make a computer affordable enough that schools and parents can buy them for children to learn programming and other computing skills.
The device is roughly the size of a credit card and, to save money, has no external casing -- which means its circuit board is exposed.
Mini PC as Powerful as Desktop PCs 10 Years Ago
Despite the small size, the Raspberry Pi boasts a 700MHz ARM processor and 256 MB of RAM.
While those specifications are a far cry from what's currently available in today's much more expensive machines, this one provides roughly the same processing power as a standard desktop computer from 10 years ago.
In theory, the Raspberry Pi processor is powerful enough to run Windows XP, but its architecture ("ARM") isn't compatible with XP, which uses Intel's x86 processor architecture.
That said, the Pi does ship with an open source Linux operating system that is built in and fully functional, though requires tweaking to get it to produce a GUI (graphical user interface). Source: (techeye.net)
Raspberry Pi Connectivity
The Raspberry Pi also includes an HDMI socket, plus video and audio output sockets for connecting it to a monitor or television screen.
The new computer also has two USB sockets for connecting a keyboard, mouse or other peripherals. There's no hard drive on this new computer, but there is an SD memory card slot that can be used for file storage.
There's also an Ethernet socket, allowing the machine to be wired into a network if the user doesn't have or want to use WiFi.
Users who choose not to bother with programming will be able to use the Raspberry Pi for many common computer actions, such as accessing the Internet, running office software, and playing DVD-quality videos.
Cheaper Version On the Way
There are two versions of the device: The $35 Model B is already on sale.
The $25 Model A, however, is just going into production. It is and is mostly identical to the Model B, except that it doesn't have the USB or Ethernet ports, which will make it somewhat less practical. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
Originally, the organization behind the Raspberry Pi had planned to arrange for manufacture and then sell the devices directly.
Demand is so high, however, that the company has decided it makes more sense to license the product to two manufacturers, Premier Farnell and RS Components, which will sell and ship the product worldwide.
One of these companies has already sold out its entire supply, and the other is awaiting completion of its first batch of the new computer and has not yet begun taking firm orders. (Source: raspberrypi.org)
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