The Raspberry Pi, a low-cost single-board computer aimed at revitalising programming skills among UK students, has gone on sale on Wednesday amid considerable interest from the media and tech enthusiasts.
Available from distributors Farnell and RS Components, the Raspberry Pi is based on a Broadcom ARM processor with embedded GPU and 256MB RAM, and runs a version of Fedora Linux that boots from an SD Card Flash drive.
The system will eventually ship in two versions, Model A and Model B, named in honour of the BBC Micro computer that was widely used to teach computer skills to children in UK schools during the 1980s.
Initially, only the more fully featured Model B version is available, with the main differences being that it includes an Ethernet port and a second USB port.
Despite this, even the Raspberry Pi Model B costs just £22, making it one of the cheapest fully functioning computers available on the market.
For this, buyers will be getting a device comparable in specification to a decent smartphone, with a 700MHz processor and a GPU capable of displaying full 1080p video via a HDMI output.
However, the device is literally just a bare board at present, with cases also planned to be available later in the year.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the organisation behind the device, is a registered charity in England and Wales, and said it has been developing the project for nearly six years.
Ultimately, the Foundation's goal is to provide UK schools and parents with a low-cost platform to get children interested in software development and build skills that will not only provide them with a potential career once they graduate, but also give a boost to the UK IT industry, as the home computers of the 1980s such as the BBC Micro are credited with doing.
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