Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Get a whole computer for US$35. Yes, really!

Have you heard about the $35 computer? It's for real, and I want one.

Actually, the $35 Raspberry Pi Model B is still vaporware, but the $25 Model A is selling RIGHT NOW. The Model B won't be vaporware for long. The first production run of Model B is expected to ship this month, and at 10,000 units, it will sell out fast.

I want one.

The Raspberry Pi computer is the brainchild of Eben Upton, a former professor at Cambridge University in the UK. In 2006, Upton and several of his colleagues had noticed that the skill level of incoming Computer Science students had been falling gradually over the years. As they puzzled over what to do about it, they came up with the idea of a credit-card-sized computer, which could be sold cheaply enough that literally any student could afford it. The hardware would be simple enough that anybody could learn to program it.

They decided that the project should be managed, and the computer should be sold, by a nonprofit corporation. This would help them to keep costs down and to keep focused on the original objective. The result: the Raspberry Pi Foundation, led by Upton, and their product, the Raspberry Pi computer.

This is an awesome piece of hardware. Unfortunately, it's not for everybody. Keep your Macs and your PCs; this may not be the computer for you. While it has Ethernet and HDMI capability, it does not have a hard disk drive. (But you can attach a USB hard disk drive!) It's not even in a case yet! (I'm gonna build a case for it out of Legos. Or maybe popsicle sticks.) It will not run Windows, Mac OS X, or Android. It will not run any commercial software (yet). It runs Linux.

I want one.

Want to know more? Read an article about Raspberry Pi at Yahoo! News. Then go straight to the project's own website.

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