Now there weren’t too many positive messages being thrown about as 2011 ended but the first week into 2012 saw the start of a potential new phenomenon called Raspberry Pi. Significantly for those involved the launch of the Pi coincided with the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Acorn computer (for those that are thinking squirrels take a look here).
So what’s all the fuss about? Well the Raspberry Pi Foundation, set up by Eben Upton and a group of other clever Cambridge people has stated an aim to provide a cheap and simple computer for kids – and that what they seem to have done. The Raspberry Pi production runs starts this month with a price tag of $25 per unit (about £15) which is clearly next to nothing. The Pi has a bunch of standard connections like Ethernet, USB, SD card and so on and looks like a circuit board but seems to perform like a grown up computer.
So why the big deal? Well anything that costs £15 that does something exceptional is likely to turn heads but it might just be that the Pi could be the start of a new phase of thinking – much like the ZX Spectrum did. Not only could it create very cheap very small computers that could be attached to almost anything but it might generate interest from a new generation of people (especially younger ones) who will create a whole Pi-based ecosystem centred around but perhaps not limited to Cambridge.
From a fund-raising perspective they have listed the first 10 units on eBay with number 10 finishing first and 1 last and when I looked this morning the combined bidding value was heading towards £10k – enough presumably to make quite a few more Pis. From a educational point of view could this be something that stimulates people to learn more about technology? From a marketing point of view just the name has leverage and potential – take a look and see what it makes you think about! www.raspberrypi.org.
Whatever your view I will be watching progress closely and I wish them the very best of luck.
Raspberry Pi – Take a Byte!