Wednesday February 29, 2012 was obviously a big day. The Raspberry Pi foundation just released the Raspberry Pi computer (RPi) that day at 6 AM (GMT), it was actually a first launch of 10,000 RPi.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card format computer at a very low price. Two models exist for the RPi: the model A for 25$ and the model B for 35 $. They both have a 700 Mhz ARM processor, 256 MB RAM, HDMI, USB, SD card, RCA video and Audio output connections. The model B has an ethernet port and one supplementary USB port. As operating system you will find an adapted version of Fedora (Unix-based operating system). You can see the differences between the two models on the following schema:
The aim of the foundation was first of all to allow access to computer and internet for children and education mainly in poor countries. What is sure, is that they reached more than their initial goal.
A wide range of scenarios are possible for the RPi usage. First of all, the joy of discovering computers in poor countries. Second, it will be very interesting for a personal use. The RPi is really enough for a daily use, meaning word-processing, internet, mailing, pictures, movies (plays high definition video). Finally, it is a wonderful toy for all the geeks we are You probably all know about the Arduino which is a very small board that one can program and use in many different projects. Here, we have a complete computer between our hands for such a low price. One can use it as a media player, as a server, for robotics... It is easily possible to extend the RPi possibilities with WiFi USB sticks or a touchscreen for example. I am also convinced that we will be soon able to run Ubuntu or Android as operating system as well.
I don't know what will be the response of all the other companies to these very low prices because the RPi will be far than enough for a lot of people as a personal computer. For sure the RPi misses a keyboard, a screen and a mouse but nowadays one can buy a complete set for less than 100 €.
If you want to buy one now, I am sorry for you, it's too late. The first launch of 10,000 RPi was sold out right after few minutes its started. I am planning to buy one as soon as the first real tests are done. I will wait for feedback from early users. I registered at RS online and I will impatiently wait for a mail from them to got one...
You can register here to try to get one.