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13 January 2012, 12:45

The Raspberry Pi goes into production

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Zoom The Raspberry Pi beta board
Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced that it has reached the manufacturing stage for the first batch of 10,000 of Model B versions. The Raspberry Pi is built around a 700 Mhz Broadcom BCM2835 SoC with a GPU and composite and HDMI display output. It will cost around £22 ($35) and the Model B will come with 256 MB of memory, 2 port USB hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller. Launched in May 2011, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is hoping to provide a device for children as part of a project to promote the study of computer science. The original USB-sized design became the Model A, and the credit card sized Model B was launched in September 2011.

A batch of ten beta versions of the Model B board were auctioned on eBay, raising thousands of pounds for the charity as most of the boards went for over one thousand pounds each; one board went for £989 and is being donated to the Centre for Computing History.

The production boards are being manufactured in Taiwan and China – the charity has yet to decide whether to wait and take the first 10,000 units as one batch when the production run is completed, or take them in smaller batches starting at the end of January, before they start selling them to the public. When the boards arrive, they will be capable of running Debian, Fedora and Arch Linux, and SD cards with the various distributions pre-loaded will be available, for sale, from Raspberry Pi. The FAQ notes that it is unlikely to be able to run Android or Windows 8 ARM, and will not run Ubuntu Linux because it requires a later version of the ARM architecture.

The UK Government's Education Secretary, Michael Gove, mentioned the Raspberry Pi initiative as something that will "give children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of programming with their own credit card sized, single-board computers" when he announced government plans to end ICT classes and replace them with a computer science curriculum.


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