Want a S$40 “computer”? Join the queue for the Raspberry Pi

Want a S$40 “computer”? Join the queue for the Raspberry Pi20120426_123438

Well, it’s not strictly a complete computer- you’ll still need to stick in an SD card with Linux on it. Yet, the tiny Raspberry Pi, costing just £21.60 (S$43) plus £4.95 for worldwide shipping, has been getting lots of love from the geek community since it went on sale in February.

One of the distributors, RS Components , told reporters in Singapore on Thursday that it had sold the first 700 units in mere hours and has a waiting list no fewer of 200,000 orders.

What’s so hot about this new machine, besides the cost?

For S$43, it has a British-designed Arm-based processor running at 700MHz, a graphics core that can decode 1080p Full HD videos, an HDMI port and a USB port, plus it runs with 256GB RAM and boots from a memory card that you slide into the included SD card slot.

The Raspberry Pi can be powered using a regular USB charger that plugs into a microUSB port, the same one on most smartphones. The unit is essentially a barebones unit harking back to the  1970s when personal computers were hobbyist projects, which geeks like Steve Jobs used to fiddle with before the machines became mainstream.

During a demo for the media today, the RS Components folks showed off the board running videos with a Linux installation. It also let users surf the Web, along with other pretty common features you’d expect out of a stripped down Linux distribution.

Notably, the Raspberry Pi doesn’t do Adobe Flash sites now, but this could be a limitation because no one has come up with any open source software for it, rather than the hardware not being able to run it. In terms of performance, an RS Components executive said it was probably just slightly slower than an iPhone 4′s CPU.

The possibilities are quite endless with this low-cost, low-power and space-saving board. Though the original designers , who had put out the blueprint in public, had intended it to be used by engineers and young students to create their own systems and test software with, the Raspberry Pi has several other possible uses.

Factory floors, for example, could benefit from these smart controllers that can now be placed just about anywhere. In developing markets, low-cost computing could get a boost from this simple machine that can open up the Internet to previously unconnected audiences.

And, of course, for PC geeks, they can use the Raspberry Pi to build a media centre or even a homebrew voice mail system, should they want to (here are five things you can do with it).

Indeed, there are ready-built controllers on the board to connect up an LCD screen and a camera, so hobbyists can add additional features easily. RS Components sells extras like cases for the Raspberry Pi as well.

What the board may perhaps have included as well is a gigabit Ethernet port. Okay, that may be asking a lot of a low-cost hobby kit, but a gigabit port would have been the icing on the cake for folks looking to build a connected media centre or networked attached storage (NAS).

Full HD files do take up loads of bandwidth after all, and a 1,000Mbps link is preferred to the 10/100Mbps available now.

Still, the Raspberry Pi is expected to sell well, especially among folks who are familiar with Linux. The “official” version is Fedora remix, though some enthusiasts have found ways to run media centres like XBMC on it as well.

Interested to give the Raspberry Pi a spin? Head over to RS Components and join the queue! Note that the company has not promised any ship date but says it will fulfill its orders the fastest it can.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific
    First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific

    China's air force has carried out its first ever military drill over the western Pacific Ocean, state media said, highlighting Beijing's growing military reach. Several aircraft from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday flew over the ocean via the Bashi Channel, which runs between Taiwan and the Philippines, the official Xinhua news agency said. "This is the first time that the PLA Air Force conducted such drills in an airspace far offshore from Chinese coastlines," Xinhua cited …

  • Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow
    Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow

    The Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have shorter hours tomorrow for the replacement of defective railroad tracks during the Holy Week. …

  • Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers
    Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers

    President Aquino has signed a joint congressional resolution raising the daily subsistence allowance for both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino signed last March 27 the merged Joint Resolution 2 of the Senate and Joint Resolution 26 of the House of Representatives. Speaking to reporters, Lacierda yesterday said the daily allowances of police officers and soldiers were raised from P90 …

  • Oil firms raise gas prices today
    Oil firms raise gas prices today

    This year’s Holy Week break will be accompanied by an increase in local pump prices after oil companies announced yesterday a P1.10 per liter hike for gasoline and P0.60 per liter for diesel effective today. “Phoenix Petroleum Philippines will increase the prices of gasoline by P1.10 per liter and diesel by P0.60 per liter effective 6 a.m. of March 31, 2015 to reflect the movements in the prices of refined petroleum products in the international market,” said Phoenix Petroleum, an independent …

  • DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah
    DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah

    The Philippines has never offered to drop its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for Manila’s arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea issue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “In the context of our friendly bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in explaining the DFA’s …

  • Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury
    Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has remitted P5 billion in cash dividends to the National Treasury, fully settling all its arrears incurred in the last several years. Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said with this year’s remittance, the state-owned gaming firm has fully settled all remaining arrears in cash dividends that were incurred by the previous administration since 2005. Pagcor’s cash dividends to the National Treasury under its …

  • Maysak moves closer to Phl
    Maysak moves closer to Phl

    The typhoon with international name Maysak slightly accelerated as it moved closer to the Philippines yesterday, threatening to dump rains over eastern Luzon this weekend, the state weather bureau said. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Maysak was spotted at 2,175 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 1 p.m. yesterday. Paciente said based on their latest forecast, Maysak is likely to affect …

  • Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany
    Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany

    The Philippines is getting 41 million euros or around P2 billion from the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of Germany that will fund 10 bilateral projects to address the impact of climate change. Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairman Lucille Sering yesterday met with Norbert Gorissen – head of the International Climate Finance of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – to discuss the projects, some of which will be …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options