You want a cheap little computer? You got a cheap little computer. After a few delays and hiccups along the way, the pocket-sized Raspberry Pi computer is finally a reality, having gone on sale Wednesday. Early reports suggest that interest is strong — so strong in fact that the websites selling it have temporarily gone down. Uh-oh, looks like another hiccup then.
The Linux-based computer, the result of six years’ work, has been developed by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, which is comprised mainly of volunteers from academia and the UK tech industry.
It is hoped the computer will prove popular with schools around the world looking for a cost-effective way to teach coding to students.
Raspberry Pi comes in two versions, with names as simple as the computer itself: Model A for $25, and Model B for $35. Both incorporate a 700MHz ARM11 processor and 256MB of RAM, with Model A recently receiving an upgrade from 128MB. The main difference between the two computers is that B includes an Ethernet port and two USB ports.
To operate Raspberry Pi users will also have to get hold of a monitor, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
While Model B is available from today, those wanting to go the ultra-cheap route will have to wait a little longer for Model A, which should be available later in the year. Its maker said there had been so much demand for Model B that it decided to concentrate on that version for the time being.
The Raspberry Pi website says that the initial launch is “aimed at software and hardware enthusiasts, makers, teachers and others who want to build exciting things with the Raspberry Pi before the official educational launch, which will happen later in 2012.”
Taking this approach, the website explained, will ensure that when it is properly launched in the educational market, there will already be a community of enthusiasts with experience of using and making things with the computer. It will also give them time to iron out any issues and bugs.
Of course, Raspberry Pi isn’t the only tiny computer on the market. Just yesterday, FXI Technologies’ Cotton Candy PC-on-a-USB-stick went on sale. However, at $199, it costs significantly more than Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi can be bought online at Farnell and RS Components, although at the time of writing it appears that both sites are having difficulty coping with the amount of web traffic heading their way.
For the very latest information, check out Raspberry Pi’s Twitter feed here.