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Raspberry Pi: The $25 USB key-sized computer

It's yet another initiative to build low power, portable, and affordable computers for educational purposes, especially in the developing world. Previous attempts have not seen widespread success, such as the One Laptop Per Child initiative. Then there is also the Indian $30 tablet that may never come to fruition in the market. How about this next attempt - miniaturize the computer to the size of a USB key? Granted, their idea isn't exactly new, but it is one of the smallest computers around, and it's aiming for a $25 price tag. Keyboard, mouse, and monitor are unfortunately not included.

Crunchgear has the details of this tiny machine. Its specifications, which are also available on the official Raspberry Pi site, are matched or surpassed by today's smartphones:

  • 700 MHz ARM11 processor
  • 128 MB of SDRAM
  • USB 2.0 connectivity
  • General I/O (supports cameras, wireless cards, etc.)
  • HDMI or composite video output
  • Capable of OpenGL ES 2.0
  • Supports SD and MMC flash carts

An example of the machine's configuration is shown below, running Ubuntu 9.04:

While the machine's total costs are much higher than $25 due to the inclusion of additional peripherals needed to run the machine (perhaps acquiring recycled hardware may offset some costs), the Raspberry Pi Foundation believes their machine will find widespread use in classrooms, and many other applications in developed or developing nations. Nevertheless, even tech-savvy folk may find it interesting to have a working computer in their pocket to take with them.

The BBC conducted an interview with the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, which may be seen here.

Image Credit: Raspberry Pi

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