Monday, February 13, 2012

Could Raspberry Pi Really Change Computing as We Know It?

A tip 0' the old electron to my pal Paul Hinman for the idea behind today's post.


I believe it was Scott McNeally (although I could be wrong about that) who, in the late 90's said "the network *is* the computer".


At the time, that statement was a little too early.  We hadn't really gotten high speed data connections to proliferate yet and computing power was still lacking in lots of places.  However, the penetration we are now seeing of  people using The Cloud, I think that statement is playing out now all around us.  Using someone else's computer to host blogs, travel data, calendars, email, you name it, is now so common some of us don't even realize we're doing it.


So if we're really just using a lot of our computers as terminals to access the cloud, do we really need those  powerful computers all around us anymore?  Enter the idea of Raspberry Pi, a small and affordable computer that may be all you need in the future.  I can definitely see something like this taking hold & growing rapidly.  When you think about it, most of us with newer smartphones are doing a lot of this already.  Raspberry Pi just makes it a ton  more affordable and leaves out the phone.


The idea is a tiny computer that costs $25 that can do most of the things you need to have done.  Does this mean the desktop is dead?  Maybe not, but it may mean the desktop isn't nearly as relevant as it once was.


Here is a bit of an overview from an article on TechRepublic:


In the last 60 years the computer has evolved from a machine that filled an entire room to a device that can fit in your pocket. And just as the electronics have shrunk, so has the price – opening up the prospect of cheap and pervasive computing.

One of the machines at the vanguard of the low-cost computing revolution is the Raspberry Pi, a $25 Linux box that will go on sale before the end of February. Despite its budget price the Raspberry Pi still packs a punch, with the multi-media capabilities of an original Xbox console, 1080p video playback, and general processing power of a Pentium II/III. Specs-wise the credit card-sized computer is powered by a 700MHz ARM chip inside a Broadcom BCM2835 has a single USB port and 128MB of memory, with an additional $10 buying a souped-up version with two USB ports, 10/100 ethernet and 256MB of memory.

Eben Upton, director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Cambridge-based charitable body set up to produce the machine, predicts that Raspberry Pi will be the first of many $25 machines.

”In a year’s time everybody will be doing this. It’s not loss making, there’s money in it. I think there’s enough value that once we’ve proven that it’s doable a lot of people are going to jump in,” he told TechRepublic.


So does that have you intrigued?  I sure has me considering some differing options.  I'll probably be jumping in to get one, just to play.  For the full article from TechRepublic, click here.

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