We 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?