The raspberry Pi, developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, based on cell phone technology, uses an ARM processor, with 256MB of memory, is not much bigger than a credit card in size and sells for about €27 ($35 – £22)
The 700MHz ARM chip runs at about the speed of a 300MHz Pentium II with a graphics unit that can play full 1080p HD movies and run 3D games pretty well.
There are USB ports to handle a standard Mouse and keyboard and it can be plugged into either a modern HDMI Screen or an old style analogue TV with an Ethernet port for internet connection The unit is powered by a standard mobile phone charger and uses a very low 3.5w of power
The Linux operating system includes a version of entry-level computer language program “Scratch” (originally developed at MIT) and is designed to get children into programming, a bit like BBC Micro and Sinclair ZX81 and Spectrum in the 1980s. (For those old enough to remember those early days of personal computing)
Despite its tiny size and the fact that it has been designed to help teach school children programming skills, the Raspberry Pi is a fully-fledged computer, and can handle most traditional computing tasks including word processing etc.
While initially the unit is being launched in the developed world, the ability to bring sub €30 computers to schoolchildren in the developing world will be one of the most welcome developments in global education.
Not only will we be able to provide all school children access to computers, it will do away with the excuse of donating old computers to Africa as a cover for dumping electronic waste in the third world, I have written more than once on this issue in this blog
Robert Mullins demonstrates the Pi
More information on at Element14