The motherboard of the Raspberry Pi (Screengrab)
The tiny Linux-based PC, which comes equipped with a USB port, audio and video outs and a SD card slot, was designed to be a low-cost computer for use by children.
There will be two versions of the computer. The $35 version comes with 256MB of RAM, and the $25 one comes with 128MB.
The computer is the brainchild of David Braben, a game developer, who initially wanted to create the Raspberry Pi to make affordable computers for students in the UK, which does not have enough engineers. The creators soon realized there was more demand and interest for the device in developing countries.
The concept of a low-cost computer isn’t new; there have been previous low-cost computing initiatives like One Laptop Per Child, which cost $100 for an Internet-ready laptop, and the $35 tablet in India, which ran Google’s Android operating system, CNET reported.
However, unlike other low-cost machines, Raspberry Pi is also programmable, which allows owners to hack and modify the 1.4-ounce machine at will.
Raspberry Pi, which is a UK-based non-profit, hopes to open source the design of its computer so that it can be manufactured and sold in developing countries.
In an interview with Business Insider, Raspberry Pi’s executive director, Eben Upton, explained that because the company can’t make any money from the computer, it doesn’t have any incentive to keep the design of the device a secret.
“We do hope third parties will be able to manufacture clones. We can expand the concept without having to expand the capital base,” Upton said.
Mashable reported that right before Christmas, the creators of the device tested circuit boards. According to the Raspberry Pi website, the boards were performing “as solid as a rock,” though there was an issue with the power supply.
According to Mashable, the problem was easily fixed with a red wire and quick soldering job, and the device should be ready for sale next month.
Here’s a short video that shows how the board operates: