Raspberry Pi is set to dethrone the world’s cheapest computing device Aakash as the new ultra cheap and super small computer. Packed in a size of business card holder, the tiny but fully-configured computer priced at $25.
The concept of low-cost computing started by One Laptop Per Child movement with its $100 laptop was followed by India’s $35 Android-powered tablet, called Aakash. Raspberry Pi, the new entrant, has entered the market with the sole idea to decrease the gap between haves and have-nots and make computers affordable for the less affluent sections of the society.
This small wonder is a full-fledged computer which consists of a USB and HDMI ports at opposite ends. The miniaturised PC works on Linux Operating System and is packed with 128 MB of SDRAM, 700 MHz ARM processor and runs OpenGL ES 2.0 which allows decent graphics performance with 1080p output. Storage need is catered for by an SD card slot. The device also has a 3.5mm audio port. There’s also a general-purpose I/O slot that can be used to attach peripherals like a camera or wireless module. By connecting a mouse and keyboard through a USB hub and a monitor to the HDMI you get a fully functional PC offering modern web browsing experience, office tools, printing, movies and games.
The new device has took the gadgets world by storm when it was announced back in January and has been much awaited since then. The Raspberry Pi team has demonstrated the computer’s capabilities by running Quake 3 in 1080pixels.
The low price tag of $25 was achieved as the device has no screen, battery or keyboard. Its unique selling point is its ability to connect with TV screens, which are easily available everywhere. Connected television itself becomes the source of the power. Keyboards can be bought at low rates or borrowed from another machine, thus ensuring the cost does not shoot up.
Raspberry Pi is developed by a non-profit venture whose founders are mostly part of Cambridge’s prolific technology sector. The vision of Raspberry foundation is to create a fun and intriguing feel to the device which can even be bought by pocket money.
The group also aims to inspire young programmers with a computer so inexpensive that schools could hand them out to students free of charge and tackle the declining interest in computer sciences and inspire them to be innovators. This tiny, cheap PC is going to be distributed through a new charitable foundation called the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
“Our ambition is to give it for free to every school child in the country,” Braben said.
Slated to be launched next month Raspberry Pi will release its first batch of 10,000 units.
“It will be a small run of 10,000 machines given to developers in the hope that they will seed it with software,” Braben explained. The customer version will be available sometime next year.
According to Raspberry Pi’s calculations, the group could hand out one of these PCs to every child in Britain in a particular grade for $24 million. They hope to partner with a corporation or non-profit to fund the manufacturing, keeping the computers completely free of charge for students. That partner would also get the first crack at naming the machine.
Tech experts at Arabian Gazette believe Raspberry Pi will revolutionise education and computing if it delivers on the promises it holds both in the developing and the developed world. This pocket-size gadget will entice students both for its price and size, they added.
The onus remains on the developers to mass produce their prototype on the set buying figure of $25 for a fully configured computer, market it extensively to create an impression on the people and the educators and establish it as valuable asset for class room teaching as it comes preloaded with the Ubuntu operating system and free open software like Iceweasel, KOffice, and Python.
Once the device creates a base and foothold, its potential use can be diversified as far as the imagination runs. Right from home automation usage to integrating GSM with a USB size computer and much more.
Sources – Raspberry-Pi, BBC and GigaOM