In recent months we’ve witnessed the rise of the small computer, the no-frills, one size fits all device has proved incredibly popular, especially since the launch of the Raspberry Pi. Since the device was launched, the Raspberry Pi has been the one device to have, with waiting lists of over 6 months. The manufacture of the device has been moved over to China and Taiwan, however the makers are still struggling to keep up with demand.
The idea for a complete basic computer came in 2006 when the creators became aware of the lack of basic computer skills in those applying for Computer Science university courses. The Raspberry Pi fills a void that was missing, an affordable, programmable computer that appeals to those wanting to build on their skills.
What is the Raspberry Pi?
The Raspberry Pi has a single circuit board with a USB port for connecting a mouse and keyboard. It has no hard drive, instead users have an SD card slot which works with any card that has been formatted with Raspbian, the software and desktop environment for the device. The Pi also has HDMI output, this allows the user to turn any device into the display screen, making it a much cheaper option for those wanting a basic device.
From a software perspective, it is no surprise that the Raspberry Pi has proved popular with computer programmers. Along with the basic desktop GUI built on Linux, it also has pre installed versions of Scratch and Python. The tiny device also boasts an audio output, a network port and a low voltage power connector that allows it to be used with batteries.
At its launch, the Raspberry Pi was expected to only sell around 20,000 units. As it stands, the device has sold just short of 1 million units in its first year. This is mainly due to the connections with clubs such as Coder Dojo and Computer Club, initiatives created to encourage young people to get into computer technologies. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity set up to make computers more accessible to these young people. Partnering with companies such as Google to fund the production of these devices that will be distributed to UK schools.
The creators want their device to change the landscape of computer technology, making it the norm for young people to own a personal computer that they can learn and cultivate their own skills on. With the current demand for the Raspberry Pi, we think that they’re on their way to achieving it.