posted by Thom Holwerda on Sun 28th Aug 2011 21:19 UTC
IconWe all know platforms like the Beagleboard, which are cheap hardware platforms which can be used in all sorts of projects. A new entry into this market is Raspberry Pi, a British ARM board which is slated to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. For a mere $25, you'll have a fully-configured ARM-based 1080p-capable mini-motherboard. The device is still in development, and only a few days ago, the alpha version of the board was demonstrated running Quake III.

Raspberry Pi is a non-profit organisation from the United Kingdom, aiming to develop an extremely low-cost ARM motherboard which can be used to develop cheap yet powerful hardware for developing markets, while also providing those of us in what I would reluctantly call the "developed" world with a cheap motherboard to hack around with. Their first product is about the size of a credit card, and carries an impressive set of specifications:

  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB or 256MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Optional integrated 2-port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

There will be two models - model A and model B. Model B adds an ethernet port and will cost $35. Model A will be geared towards developing markets and schools (to learn programming). It will support various Linux distributions, and they plan to sell SD cards with the distributions pre-loaded (clever). They are sufficiently funded (and thus, don't take pre-orders), they will ship them worldwide once released, and intend to offer a buy-one-give-one program (but you can buy one on your own as well).

It's an interesting project - nothing original, but I like how they are making it easy even for folks like me to just buy this board with Linux pre-loaded and configured on an SD card so I can get started right away. Once released, I might buy two of these, and give on away in a contest on OSNews (we'll see). I'm hoping someone crafts a pre-made case for this one, too. You know, just to make it totally plug-and-play (I'm not really good with a Dremel).

Is there a market for something as cheap as this among you guys and girls?

e p (15)    48 Comment(s)

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