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At long last, pre-orders for BBC Micro:bit now open to the public

BBC Micro:bit
Image used with permission by copyright holder
For British men and women of a certain age, the humble BBC Micro will forever be tied to their first steps into the wide world of computing — and this year a younger generation has been making a similar journey with its follow-up, the BBC Micro:bit. Now, the hardware is being made available to all.

The Micro:bit may have been developed as a teaching aid, but now pre-orders are open to the public. The microcomputer itself is priced at 13 pounds ($19 U.S.), while a bundle that also contains a battery pack, a USB cable and a selection of project ideas goes for 15 pounds ($22).

The BBC collaborated with the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and ARM on the microcomputer, which was commissioned as part of a campaign to encourage an interest in coding among British youth. The Micro:bit was officially unveiled in July 2015, with academic distribution originally scheduled for September 2015.

However, manufacturing delays meant that this deadline came and went without schools receiving their hardware, which had the effect of pushing back its availability to the public. Students finally received their allocation earlier this year, which opened the door for the retail rollout that’s taking place now.

The Micro:bit is a microcomputer along the lines of hardware like the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino. The highly capable board comes packed with programmable buttons, an LED array, a number of I/O rings, and Bluetooth connectivity, according to a report from Engadget.

Need it now? Check out the Arduino Starter Kit here

Pre-orders open Tuesday via the device’s manufacturer, element14, as well as a host of other retailers including the official Microsoft online store. However, you might have to act fast if you’re looking to get a Micro:bit any time soon — it seems that element14 has already sold through its stock of solus computers, and now only has bundles available.

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Brad Jones
Brad is an English-born writer currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Pennsylvania. You can find him on Twitter…
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