Raspberry Pi (almost) available

Yesterday I had an email from Raspberry Pi saying that today there would be an announcement about the the keenly awaited device. Today I took a look at their website and found out that they are almost ready to ship the low cost ARM based devices that run a Linux called Fedora. the specs are available at both RS and Farnells, two component suppliers here in the UK.

In case you couldn’t wait to click through then blow are the specifications lifted straight from the RS website. From what I can gather there will be two variants, one called model A and the other called model B aptly enough. The difference being the addition of LAN and some other undisclosed features on the Model B.

 

image from Raspberry Pi website

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer board that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It’s a miniature ARM-based PC which can be used for many of the things that a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video.

Features

  • Broadcom BCM2835 700MHz ARM1176JZFS processor with FPU and Videocore 4 GPU
  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 256MB RAM
  • Boots from SD card, running the Fedora version of Linux
  • 10/100 BaseT Ethernet socket
  • HDMI socket
  • USB 2.0 socket
  • RCA video socket
  • SD card socket
  • Powered from microUSB socket
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • Header footprint for camera connection
  • Size: 85.6 x 53.98 x 17mm
Price £21.60

All this for just £21.60! I sound like an advert but if the blurb matches the ability to programme the little blighter (easily) then this must be a concern for the Arduino crowd. Before we all get too excited though the RS website allows you to register interest and you’ll be getting one each at first.

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Raspberry Pi (almost) available”

  • Matt W1MST:

    Alex, it doesn’t seem to me that it’s really a case of Raspberry Pi vs. Arduino. They seem to have different applications and markets, no?

  • Fred W0FMS:

    I have done embedded computing for a living, and still do from time to time. You want to size the processor to the application. Trust me on this. I’ve done from 12F pics (even 8051’s in the old days) to RTOS’s with multi core and DSPs and FPGAs.

    This will not be any more of a concern to the Arduino than the Netduino and ChipKit (PIC 32’s) are even though it’s potentially more powerful than both (or at least about the same, Netduino is an ARM core if I remember).

    It depends on what you are using the device for. A full up Linux based device would be downright a pain in the rear for a simple control processor. Something that could take 10 minutes to get up and going on the Arduino would take an hour+ on that, and draw a lot more current!

    But then again, you aren’t going to do hi def video (very low res is it with the 8-bit slow AVR) with an Arduino either. An ARM, on the other hand isn’t fast enough to do really high end DSP either. The hardware acceleration for video on the Broadcom chip is what makes the HI Def possible. Ham TV is a possibility with this device for example, but I doubt if it would be much more capable than a Softrock on other DSP.

    I’m going to eventually get one (after the “newness rush” ends) to play with because it can make one great multimedia hack more for other uses than ham radio

    — maybe when the $15 clones from China come out! :O) (I am shameless and buying from the EU costs a big premium here in the States).

    Fred

  • W0FMS:

    Dude..

    In the US you can only get the “A” version pre-ordered for $55 ($35 + $20 “handling fee”) +$15 or so shipping from Newark. So much for $25/$35. Farnell/Newark sucks– Newark is an absolute last resort for ording parts IMHO.. too bad the Foundation made the deal with the devil. There are better devices available for $70 to $95 which it what it would actually cost to get one here! (Why anyone would deal with the “A” when you can get Ethernet on the “B” is beyond me).

    They screwed up the distribution and Newark/Farnell will profit from it like they always do. Honestly, they are SCALPING these devices! Crazy.

    Come on China, “clone ’em”…

    Arduino: Nothing to worry about yet!

    Fred W0FMS

  • Guy’s

    First of thanks for reading the post. Its always nice to get a few comments

    I shouldn’t be surprised at the price hike but it certainly stops it being a very good value item, we in the UK get this all the time with stuff from just about anywhere. Dealers are just about doubling the cost of Baofeng handhelds you can pick up of eBay for £30.

    When I bought my Hustler 6-BTV it was better to wait until I went to the states on Business, drive to the nearest HRO outlet, buy it and pay the extra to bring it home on the flight and duty at our end. It saved me nearly £150 on something that retails for around £300 here.

    Still back to the good news, perhaps Arduino won’t be shaking in its boots and I hope it never does. My little Arduino is brilliant and it sits proudly on my desk displaying the time, very accurately! Its really helped me take those first steps into programming which I would have struggled to do otherwise.

    There have been a few posts in other places suggesting they are homebrew home media centres, NAS devices etc but for me I could see them being low cost WSPR beacons, APRS iGates and beacons perhaps even the basis for my lightweight satellite rotator if I ever find the time to do anythin about it!

  • You’re probably very right Matt, I for one won’t be ditching my Arduino for anything just yet

  • Matt W1MST:

    Thanks for keeping us updated on Raspberry Pi, Alex. I think it has some interested ham applications! Keep us posted.

  • Dan N9BAV:

    I ordered mine today, now the wait…

    Dan N9BAV

  • Matt W1MST:

    How did you order it, Dan, and how much did you pay? Just curious what the options are for those who don’t want to wait.

  • I don’t think there are any options. you just have to wait, Farnell’s and RS were accepting interest only. they had so much interest that their sites both fell over and these are not small companies so I gues it goes to show how popular the Pi is already.

    I’m sure there’ll be some closes about soon enough but they’re going to struggle to compete on price.

    I wonder how come this hasn’t been achieved before as the concept of SBC’s isn’t exactly new? perhaps a function of the processor power. There seem to be a few videos on You Tube of early prototype boards being booting up and showing video etc but non of the traditional early adopter ‘unboxing’s’

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