Following successful charity auctions, production of the Raspberry Pi has begun

Raspberry Pi Model BThe innovative Raspberry Pi project has entered the home straight, as production of the first wave of computers has begun. The brainchild of David Braben, best known to many as the co-writer of the epic space-trading game Elite, the idea behind Raspberry Pi is to encourage high school students to learn computer programming, without the school needing a huge budget.

As previously reported, there will be two Raspberry Pi models. Model A will cost £16/$25 and come with 128MB RAM, while Model B will have 256MB RAM, an Ethernet port at a price of £25/$35. The tiny computers use Linux and have a 700Mhz ARM 11 processor, a USB port and an HDMI-out.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced via their official blog that the first run of 10,000 Model B PCs has already begun, but added that initial plans to manufacture them in the UK had to be canceled thanks to prohibitive taxation. As the Foundation is a charity, it was important to make the most of their funds, hence moving production to the Far East.

Model A computers may still be made in the UK, due to the fact they aren’t expected to be as popular as the higher-spec Model B, and therefore smaller amounts will be required.

To help fund the first wave of Raspberry Pi machines, the Foundation auctioned off a series of beta boards, all of which were unique due to a last minute fix made by hand. One particular beta model attracted a bid of nearly £1000/$1500, and was subsequently donated to the museum at the Centre for Computing History.

An exact on-sale date for the Model B has yet to be confirmed, and it may not be until after the first production run has been completed.