Along with half the rest of the known universe, I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the RaspberryPi.
The Pi is a fullly fledged computer that costs only $35 (or in future $25 for a model with less memory, no ethernet and just one USB socket). It has plenty of potential for fun projects – there are some general purpose IO pins, and it should be possible to power it off a battery – or just for replacing my old Linux server with something silent, low power and it is just the size of a credit card!
The first batch is due to finish manufacturing on 20th Feb, so hopefully they will be shipping in early March and I’m hoping to manage to get my hands on one (though there’s going to be stiff competition, as there are only 10,000 boards in the first batch and well over 50,000 people that want one!)
The $35 only buys you the board itself – you need to supply your own power, SD card, keyboard, monitor, cables and everything else. So I thought it was about time to get stocked up on the required subsidiary hardware. I’ve ordered a couple of 4GB SD cards and a 16GB USB drive, a 4 port powered USB hub (which I’m hoping will be able to power the Pi – if that doesn’t work out I can use the charger from an HTC Desire as a temporary measure), and an HDMI to DVI cable (the Pi doesn’t have a VGA port).
All in all, I ended up paying more for this than the RaspberryPi itself is going to cost! This got me thinking – one of the intended purposes of the Pi is for use in schools. They are likely to have some of this stuff (keyboards and mice, for instance), but a combined power source, USB hub and WiFi/wired internet connection would be a very handy combination. You could even make it power 2 Pis, with 2 independent hubs, then you could sit it between 2 students who were playing with the Pis. I should post something on their forum…