BBC confirms rollout of Micro Bit computer for schools will be delayed because of power supply issue
The BBC has confirmed its forthcoming Micro Bit computer, a device designed to introduce coding to schoolchildren, will be delayed.
The new machine was scheduled to arrive next month in October, but now the BBC has said it will only arrive ‘after Christmas’.
The original BBC Micro was a State-backed £200 educational computer build by Acorn Computers for the BBC. It was launched back in 1981 and sold 1.5 million units. It is credited with getting a generation of schoolchildren and others interested in computer programming.
The new BBC Micro Bit computer is pocket sized and is also designed for a new generation schoolchildren and others. Like the old model, it aims to teach people new digital skills, and will be distributed to up to one million Year 7 pupils (aged 11 and 12).
The BBC is collaborating with 29 partners on the project including Barclays, Microsoft, Samsung and Lancaster University. Other organisations such as Cisco, Code Club and Teen Tech, are also providing educational resources.
Its design was finalised in July this year, but the new design lost a slot for a thin battery, which many felt would compromise its appeal as a wearable device. One of its possible applications for example was for it to be pinned to a child’s clothing.
And now the BBC has said that an issue with its power supply mean it would now be sent out “after Christmas”, according to a spokesman.
The problem had “affected a small number of devices”, the spokesman said, but the priority was making sure it was as robust and reliable as possible.
“We’re expecting to start sending them out to teachers before Christmas and to children early in the new year,” said a BBC spokesman reportedly said.
“As a result of our rigorous testing process, we’ve decided to make some minor revisions to the device – getting it right for children and teachers before we manufacture one million units is our priority.”
The Micro Bit computer will arrive at a time when there are a number of rival devices. To be fair, it is being pitched as a complementary device, rather than a competitor, to the Raspberry Pi and other micro computers.
Only this week, a display built specifically for the Raspberry Pi was officially launched, with the arrival of a new 7-inch display.
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