The $25 PC

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A UK game developer has put together a barebones, but totally functional, desktop PC for just $25. Aimed at getting educationRaspberry Pi PC about computers and how they work back into schools, the Raspberry Pi PC is designed to get students to interact on a fundamental level with software and how it works.

David Braben is known for games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon and, more recently, Kinectimals. His new project has created just a few prototypes of the Raspberry Pi PC so far, but he hopes to be shipping a complete version within twelve months, with a suggested 10 – 15 pound starting price (16 – 24 USD).  The Raspberry Pi comes running on a very tiny USB stick, with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 128MB of RAM.

Those aren’t top-of-the-line specifications, no, but with its intended goal, it doesn’t really need them. At one end of the device is a USB port, at the other, an HDMI port. The little PC is plugged into a display on one side and any requisite peripherals, such as a USB keyboard, on the other. That’s it!

The PCs will run a variant of Ubuntu Linux, which can be scaled back to run on the modest proposed hardware specifications. Here’s a preliminary list of technical specs:

 

  • 700MHz ARM11Raspberry Pi PC
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)
Given the fairly basic nature of the components involved, and the lack of a display, etc., there doesn’t seem to be any reason why the project won’t be successful – all of the different technologies involved are basically off-the-shelf pieces. The real issue will be whether the foundation can put together the support infrastructure necessary to help students (and anyone else who wishes to try) follow the company’s stated goals, which means putting together an educational plan, resources on hardware and programming, etc., and making them easily available.

 

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