The Raspberry Pi will be ending up in consumer’s hands any day now it seems, but many are probably wondering what Raspberry Pi is and why it is a big deal. While many average consumers surely have not heard much about this miniature sized system, those in the know usually are of the perspective that it is a big deal.
What is it?
Raspberry Pi is essentially a bare-bones personal computer with a Linux operating system installed. They are incredibly cheap, with the models costing either USD $25 or USD $35. This system has essentially been created by the Raspberry Pi foundation in an effort to encourage young people to learn how to code and do computer programming, something that surprisingly few young people are getting into in this era of walled gardens and complete, closed off consoles.
Whose idea was it?
The Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charitable organization founded in 2009, is putting this small PC into the world. The foundation is supported by a tech firm, Broadcomm, and the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. The foundation is headed by a legendary game developer, David Braben.
As mentioned, the Raspberry Pi is created to be something to encourage learning, innovation, and experimentation. The computer is powerful for its size, but it costs about the same as a textbook, making it accessibly to even those who are low income or living in a poorer country or community. Since our society is becoming more and more reliant on computers, we will need more and more people who know how to code and program, but most young people aren’t learning computer science or being exposed to it at all.
How is it so cheap?
At $25 for Model A and $35 for Model B, the Raspberry Pi is much less expensive than most scientific calculators or cellular phones. These computers are supposed to be accessible for all, so they needed to be as inexpensive as possible, and to accomplish this, these case-free single board systems are made as pared down as possible. This means that users will have to provide their own keyboard or monitor (or television set) in order to use the Raspberry Pi.
How do I get one?
There are a few outlets online that are offering the Raspberry Pi, but the actual computer is not out yet. These online retailers are taking preorders, but it should be noted that their initial stock for preorders seems to have already been spoken for. Resellers may have ordered Raspberry Pi computers as well, so you may find them elsewhere at higher prices.
What’s the big deal?
There are several reasons why the Raspberry Pi is a big deal. For the technology community, this illustrates that the super cheap and ultra-affordable PC is indeed a reality. For those wanting to learn more about technology and developing it, doing so is now more affordable and accessible than ever. At the cost of a textbook, nearly everyone should be able to get a Raspberry Pi if they have the desire to learn and to potentially pursue new opportunities.