The Raspberry Pi has gotten a lot of media attention when it was launched just two months ago. Today, VR-Zone was one of the media to have the opportunity to attend a preview of the credit-card size computer and find out what it is capable of.
Unless you're an engineer, or working in related fields like electronics components, automation and control or tools and support products, you probably may not be familiar with the company RS Components. RS Components (or commonly known as RS) is a leading distributor of electronics, automation and control products, and is also the company in charge of shipping the Raspberry Pi that was launched in February. In case you are wondering if the media preview today would hint that the Raspberry Pi will be selling in stores in Singapore, well, you are going to be disappointed. You have to place your order from the online store (with registrations of interest placed on the company's website) like everybody else, if you want to get the Raspberry Pi. It's fair game for everyone. Orders are restricted to one board per customer due to limited quantities and high demands. Pricing remains the same at £21.60 plus a shipping charge of £4.95 to any destination worldwide, plus VAT and import duty as applicable.
For those who are not familiar with Raspberry Pi, it is a credit card sized board designed by Raspberry Pi Foundation which aims to encourage new generation of PC users to discover and develop their programming skills within the Linux environment, at an extremely low cost. You can think of it as a Lego toy for budding engineers and programmers. The Raspberry Pi features 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 SoC based on ARM11 processor with FPU and VideoCore 4 GPU. The GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode, and is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with text filtering and DMA infrastructure. It also comes with 256MB RAM, 10/100 BastT Ethernet socket, HDMI out, two USB, RCA and 3.5mm audio connectors. The Raspberry Pi is powered from a microUSB port and has a SD card socket that lets you boot Fedora version of Linux from the SD memory card. It also has a header footprint for camera connection and measures 85.6 x 53.9 x 17mm. While this may be a basic computer, it really depends on the user on what he or she wants to do with it. You can build a compact media centre, network storage device or even Smart TV, with the right tools, of course.
The above pictures show the Raspberry Pi playing a song on the LXMusic player application, and surfing the Internet on the Midori web browser; all on the Fedora Linux platform.
According to CM Lim, head of electronics marketing for RS Components in Asia Pacific, there are currently over 200,000 orders to fulfil, with the first batch of 700 units shipped not too long ago. The next batch will consist of around 4.000 Raspberry Pi that will be shipped in the next couple of weeks. So if you plan to order today, you may have to wait quite a bit before the Raspberry Pi gets delivered to your home. If it is any consolation, the company would send an email update to let you know you have not been forgotten (and perhaps a rough estimate on when your turn will be). With the exceedingly high demand, you can be sure the subsequent batch to ship to users will grow higher in number, and you may not have to wait too long.