Rasberry Pi - World's Cheapest Computer for Kids and Geeks

by Lissie

Raspberry Pi - is not a food. Its the cheapest computer on the planet priced at just $35 its targeted and education and hobbyist market. Read on for details on where to buy

The day that the Raspberry Pi launched: 29 February 2012 the 10,000 units sold out in 1.5 hours. After 6 years of development it must have been a great moment for those behind the development of the world's cheapest computer.

So what is it? The Raspberry Pie is a credit-card sized computer board. No screen, no laptop, no case (though one may be coming later). Hell there's not even the standard battery used to keep the internal clock working when the power is cut.

Its not very pretty - in fact its the exact opposite fo the oh so elegant, pretty and expensive Apple computers that we are all so familiar with.

What's In The Raspberry Pi Box

RPi, to be trendy, comes with - well not much - its just a motherboard. To actually make it work as a computer you will need to have the following at the very least: 

  • raspberry piOS SD card: these can be bought pre-loaded - or you can load a suitable Linux OS distribution onto any SD card 
  • USB keyboard 
  • monitor
  • power supply
  • cables

Also recommended would be

  • case
  • powered USB hub 
  • Internet connectivity 
  • USB Mouse

The reality is that - almost all of us these days, already have most of these items lying around - so getting your kid playing around and making their own computer is going to cost less than the most basic lego set.

To Make A Computer Using the Raspberry Pi

Coby CA81BLK Dual USB Power Adapter/Charger (Black)

Provides the 700mA at 5V required by the RPi

$8.99  $0.01
SanDisk 8 GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card SDSDB-8192-A11

The most space available (16 GB card), SanDisk mobile memory cards plug directly into most phones with

$9.47  $4.89
Connectland CL-U2MNHUB-4B 4 Ports USB V2.0 Mini Hub (Black)

The RPi comes with only one USB port - so you will probably be needing a USB hub

$46.04  $3.50
Logitech Wireless Desktop MK320 Keyboard

Wireless keyboard and mice can share a single RF USB dongle. Alternatively you can plug in USB mouse and keyboard using a USB-hub

$39.99  $24.99
USB to Micro-USB Cable - 6 Ft.

Micro B USB cable required if you don't already own several

$4.99  $0.99
Eforcity HDMI-F to DVI-M Video Adaptor with Gold Contacts

Required to connect many modern monitors via USB

$19.99  $4.32

Who Is The Raspberry Pi Designed For?

The philosophy behind Raspberry Pi (or Raspberry - I bet I'm not the only one having trouble spelling that) - is that we are not allowing kids to create anything in computer studies these days. They spend their time learning how to use over-price commercial software packages, they learn to be employees, not creators.

The idea behind RPi is that this is a way to equip a computer lab for less than the price of a classroom load of Windows and Excel. And it can be used with existing monitors, TVs, keyboards. Hell the kids can use their mobile phones to power the damme thing!

My guess is that the first 10,000 didn't go to school kids or their parents. It went to geeks, possibly old geeks who remember mucking around building their own computers in the 80's! 

Will it catch on? Who knows, but there are plenty of kids still playing with lego and creating things there - so I don't see why they wouldn't want to create their own computer! 

 

{{Infobox computer | name = Raspberry Pi | logo = | image = | caption = Beta board | developer = Raspberry Pi Foundation | releasedate = 29 February 2012 | type = Single-board computer | price = USD $25 and $35 | cpu = ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz is a single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The foundation has released two versions, priced at US$25 and $35. The $35 model was released first on 29 Febuary 2012 The ...

What's the Technical Specification or Raspberry Pi?

Model B - released 29 Feb 2012

Price $35/Stg 25
SoC Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU, GPU, DSP, and SDRAM)
CPU: 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV, OpenGL ES 2.0, 1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder
Memory (SDRAM): 256 Megabytes (MiB)
Video outputs: Composite RCA, HDMI
Audio outputs: 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
Onboard storage: SD, MMC, SDIO card slot
10/100 Ethernet RJ45 onboard network
Storage via SD/ MMC/ SDIO card slot
Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm

Model A - not yet released
Same as model B with the addition of an ethernet port and 2 USB ports.

 

What's in a name?

Well pi is that well known constant: 22/7 or 3.14… an irrational number which is the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle.

Raspberry? Well it was a small berry fruit the last time I checked.

Why Raspberry Pi - I have no idea - but I'm guessing there would have been law suits if they called it Apple Pi!

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Updated: 02/29/2012, Lissie
 
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Are you tempted by the Raspberry Pi? Would you buy it for your kid?


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Sam on 03/01/2012

Lol, the memories! I was one of those crazy geeks back in the 80s ;-) Looks also like a great way to make computers accessible to people / countries that couldn't afford them otherwise. You could outfit a whole school in a third world country for a fraction of what it costs now ...

TerriRexson on 03/01/2012

We weren't quick enough to get one of the first batch yesterday, but yes we'll be getting one. It seems much more complicated that the Sinclair Spectrum I learned to program on! My older son will be 6 later this year, it's about time he learned to code!

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