Maplin Starts Selling Raspberry Pi

Open SourceSoftwareWorkspace

The tiny Linux computer hits the high street

UK electronics specialist Maplin has started taking pre-orders for its Raspberry Pi starter kit bundle, which includes all the essentials users need to get it working (except a TV), at a price of £69.99.

Previously, the device was distributed under exclusive licence by two British electronic component companies: Premier Farnell and RS Components.

Who ate the Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a basic computer that can be connected to a TV or monitor via HDMI. It can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, including office work, Internet browsing and high-definition video playback – but its main objective is as a configurable system for education and play. By April, the number of worldwide pre-orders for Raspberry Pi had hit 350,000, and potential customers have had to wait.

The tiny computer contains a 700MHz  ARM11 processor, VideoCore IV GPU and 256MB of RAM. There is no hard disk on board; Raspberry Pi uses an SD card instead, and has several USB ports which can be used to connect an external hard drive. Other available connections include an HDMI port, RCA video port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. The computer can work with any of the Linux operating systems, such as Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu or Fedora.

Besides the Raspberry Pi mainboard, the Maplin kit includes Raspbian Wheezy O/S pre-installed on an ultrafast Class 6 SD card, USB mains power supply, AC powered 4-port USB hub, USB keyboard and mouse, 1.5m gold-plated HDMI cable and a Wi-Fi dongle.

Maplin says that the starter kit is “the perfect way to begin experimenting and developing with the Raspberry Pi”. The computer itself costs £29.95, which means Maplin charges around £40 for what is essentially an accessory pack. Whether it is a reasonable price will depend on the quality of the said acessories.

Raspberry Pi is due in-stock at the end of September, and the orders will be processed on a “first come, first served” basis.

Last week, Oleg Romashin, a Nokia engineer who has worked on open source OS MeeGo throughout 2011, had released a video showing how he made the incomplete, Linux-based Firefox OS work on the Raspberry Pi.

And in May, TechWeekEurope published pictures of the world’s first IT lesson with Raspberry Pi.

How well do you know open-source software? Take our quiz!

Read also :
Click to read the authors bio  Click to hide the authors bio