Yes, in fact, it is a sweet story; especially for students and developing countries. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity going into production of a tiny PC about the size of a short stack of credit-cards. The founder, Eben Upton, became concerned about deterioration of skills in newly admitted students as he was lecturing and working in admissions at Cambridge University. He observed only basic student software skills, but also a substantial drop in admissions to programming courses. Students knew how to create documents, but had very little knowledge of basic systems development and systems architecture. The foundation is dedicated to promoting the study of computer science and related topics and inspiring students to embark on technology careers.
The carefully crafted result is a tiny computer that can be sold for $25 – $35 with serious capabilities. Ports on the basic $25 model include HDMI, USB, SD card slot, RCA Video out, Audio out; with 128 MB of RAM. The $35 model adds 10/100 Ethernet and doubles the RAM to 256MB. Both use a 700 MHz ARM processor and support 1080p video and OpenGL. Power is supplied by a 5v micro USB, or four AA batteries. To encourage student tinkering and learning, the initial product does not have a case; but that too will be supplied in later versions.
Raspberry Pi will initially run on SD cards with the RISC OS or Debian Fedora, ArchLinux, GNU/Linux, Python, or Iceweasel, but not Ubuntu in the initial release. That may be added later. It even does a credible job of running Quake-3 at 1920×1080 resolution, and it can be plugged in to a digital or analog TV with the HDMI port. In fact, the multimedia capability of the Raspberry Pi is better than many smartphones.
Various industries and organizations world-wide have expressed interest for a wide spectrum of possibilities. Developing countries see many applications, as do hospitals and museums for powering displays. It would be a low-cost device for parents of disabled children to use for monitoring and accessibility applications.
Humanitarian uses make for a sweet list of applications right now. Businesses world-wide, however, will probably find very cost-effective ways to sweeten the pot with Raspberry Pi.
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