Why a $25 PC? Because it's the price of a textbook
There is growing interest surrounding the Raspberry Pi Foundation and their promise of a PC that will cost just $25. We've seen how the OLPC has struggled to deliver a $100 laptop for developing countries, and yet Raspberry Pi is confident in delivering the $25 PC by November this year.
Although we know a bit about the PC, there's still a lot of information missing, but further details are starting to appear as Raspberry Pi develops the machine further and talks to more people about it. Eben Upton, director of the foundation, recently gave a talk at Bletchley Park regarding Educating Programmers, which focused on the thinking behind the $25 PC. You can watch it below.
During the talk Eben explains that the $25 price point was decided upon because it is the cost of a textbook so it made sense. Students buy textbooks, so a PC priced the same is a natural fit and hopefully an easy purchase for them, their parents, or their school.
As to why a $25 PC is needed, it simply comes down to the need to develop programming skills while still young, a skill that seems to have disappeared in recent years. Eben explains this as due to the typical hacking and experiment platforms such as the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX81 all disappearing and being replaced with the closed game consoles. Even the PC has become closed as families typically share it and kids aren't encouraged to experiment for fear of breaking it.
Other interesting gems of information that come to light during his talk include Raspberry Pi's original wider scope of not only providing a cheap PC, but the curriculum that surrounds it. That has now been rethought with the learning part left to teachers and the community while they focus on the hardware.
The foundation has also realized that the $35 PC with more RAM and a network port is going to be the most popular device by a significant margin. Something we didn't realize is that Raspberry Pi not only intend to make this PC work through a HDMI and DVI connection, they also want it plugged into old analog TVs just like kids managed with in the 80s. It also means you don't need an up-to-date display in order to start playing with this device.
Although the $25 PC will be available in November, the foundation doesn't expect to give out test units until October because there are still a number of kinks to work out. Also, don't expect these PCs to look like the original USB-stick layout we saw a few months ago. The connectors simply don't fit on a board that small, so instead expect a thick credit card-sized device or even a plug form. Any thoughts of it shipping with Ubuntu should also be scaled back with Eben mentioning vanilla Debian and LXDE as the current favorite, and memory optimizations being implemented specifically for the 128MB version to get that working well.Read More and See Video...
I can think of allot of different things to do with these!!!:) My 2 Broken LapTops, Dying DVD Player Recorder, Updating my Old Desktop PC's P1s and P3s. Let's see, what else... Oh, my broken Routers! Probably the best use of all!:) Well, after I send a Box full to my Pastor Friend in Uganda of course!:) Now, if I just had some money...
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