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United Kingdom Hardware Linux

Raspberry Pi $25 Linux Computer Now In Production (Video) 196

Posted by Roblimo
from the cheap-computing-at-its-finest dept.
Timothy Lord caught up with Raspberry Pi product leader Eben Upton at CES. The long-awaited $25 Linux single-board computers are finally being shipped from the Chinese factory where they're being assembled and will be available for sale in just a few weeks. Eben talks not only about the Raspberry Pi boards and the add-on Gertboard, but about the eBay auction that helped finance Raspberry Pi. Timothy says he considers Eben Upton one of his "personal tech-world heroes." After watching this video, maybe he'll be one of yours, too. Read on below to watch.

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Raspberry Pi $25 Linux Computer Now In Production (Video)

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  • Warning ! (Score:5, Informative)

    by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:39AM (#38723188)

    Remember, the 1st batch of 10000 Raspberry Pi boards will ONLY be available from http://www.raspberrypi.com/ [raspberrypi.com] (you can order some nice stickers in the meantime)

    Be aware that scam sites (like http://www.systemsofhull.co.uk/raspberry-model-p-261.html [systemsofhull.co.uk]) have begun to pop-up. :-(

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My analysis of web analytics shows that given a link, someone percentage of people will click it.
      Even if you explicitly say it's a scam, some people will click that link, AND fall for it.

      And this even goes for sites with allegedly intelligent and tech savy demographics.

    • by Tsingi (870990)
      Too bad the account entry is screwed up at their site. Won't let me create the account without entering a state or province, and while there is a prompt, there is no associated entry widget.
      • by hitmark (640295)

        Seems to work ok here.

        • by Tsingi (870990)

          Seems to work ok here.

          Yeah, it works if I allow scripts globally. I don't see any particular source that I should be including and the list of blocked sources is a list I would like to stay blocked.

          When I allowed scripts globally (for a few seconds) An Amazon tab I had open went nuts.

          Blocked sites (12) are from google, amazon, ebay, facebook, openmedia.ca (?) visualwebsiteoptimizer.com (possibly the culprit), stumbleupon, and twitter.

          Anyway, I'll give creating an account another try sometime in the future. Maybe they wi

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I don't allow global and it worked for me. I allow most of google, ebay, and amazon though.

    • Aren't all the gerbers and design files published royalty-free? What's stopping someone from manufacturing their own? I don't even think the RP community would care - the more devices out there the better.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The main problem is that the SoC is difficult/impossible to buy in anything other than enormous quantities. Some of the Raspberry Pi people work at Broadcom, so they're in a slightly better negotiating position than everyone else.

      • They have talked about releasing them but I don't think they have actually done so yet.

        Plus as the AC says broadcom don't like dealing with small operations (the pi guys are getting a break because they have a guy on the inside) so even when released they will be of limited utility.

        • The PI guys themselves have said that a dream would be if a chinese operator reverse engineered it and started spewing out millions. They don't care, they are not for profit, and if the SoC can only be got from broadcom, maybe they will see massive orders for it, or it is fully reverse engineered and an open solution to what is I believe a closed system is created.
          • I just did a search for "raspberry pi gerbers" and all I found was one low res image of the complete stack (with lower layers mostly obscured and tracks run together by the resoloution limit) which would be completely useless for actually making the thing.

            If it's successful it will probablly be cloned eventually regardless of if the gerbers are released or not but it will be by a company with connections and expertise, most likely in the far east. Not by some guy in an appartment complex in hull and unless

      • Aside from the SoC procurement issues, I suspect that the demand for 3rd party spins might be fairly small(not zero; but fairly small): The Raspberry Pi people seem to be shooting for lowest cost, so there isn't a lot of pure margin for a 3rd party to cut into and manufacturing cheaper than the guys who are already attempting to manufacture cheap is going to be tricky.

        With something like the Arduino, there was definitely room for a bunch of 3rd-party spins: the original was pretty expensive, included a l
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:06AM (#38723390) Homepage Journal

    They're assembling these in Chinese factories. Which are cheap, but not $0. They're shipped from there to the consumers in EU and US (and others), which also costs more than $0 each.

    If hobbyists could assemble them ourselves, they could be even cheaper than $25. And it's primarily hobbyists who are their market. How about it?

    • Depends where you are in the world. The Pi isn't being made in the UK because you pay a flat fee on each component imported. It's far cheaper to simply pay the fee once for the complete product....
      • If you are going to bitch about the customs issue please at least learn what you are talking about. Customs duty is a percentage not a per-item fee.

        The problem is that the percentage varies by "type of goods", the complete assembly falls under a category that attracts no duty whereas at least some of the component parts fall under categories that do attract duty.

        Unfortunately because the Pi guys haven't released either thier BOM or the quotes they got for construction it's kinda hard to tell how significant

    • Re:Even Cheaper DIY? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ledow (319597) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:16AM (#38723440) Homepage

      I think you miss the point -

      It costs less to create and assemble the full product elsewhere and send it to the EU/US than it would do to buy the parts in the EU/US or have it assembled in the EU/US.

      There's a post on their blog about this exact issue with regards to tax. Components taxed, finished product untaxed, with regards to importing things from abroad.

      And unless the difference was HUGE, it wouldn't be worth doing it even if you could - people would expect a reduced price if they are DIY, but you wouldn't be able to ONLY reduce it by as much as it costs to assemble (because that's literally pence on an assembly line in a factory doing them all day). You really want to DIY it for $0.50 cheaper than buying a finished product? The admin costs alone would make it less profitable already. Most of the cost is in the components.

      This is pretty much why China makes 99% of the stuff we see in the shops. For crazy tax reasons, and the fact that they produce in bulk, quicker (did you not see that the UK production would take 2-3 months instead of 2-3 weeks?) and cheaper, it's easier to send designs to China, have them source components, assemble them, test them and ship them to EU/US than it ever would be to do even one part of the process in the EU/US.

      If you don't believe me, have a look at the OpenPandora project - still about 2-3 years behind schedule and the price has rocketed because they didn't bother to keep tabs on a large US company they used (which resulted in higher costs, poor reliability, thousands of PCB's sitting idle and rottiing before they could be soldered, etc.) and they had to switch to Germany to finish off the very first batch still and things are *STILL* taking months. But the components from the Chinese companies they used have been available since day one (putting aside stupid project management issues like expecting a Chinese factory to make thousands of cables from a unique design after a 3-year wait with no word from the OP team, and expecting the same price to do so as you were quoted at the start).

      • by chrb (1083577)
        Perhaps the situation is different for Raspberry Pi, since their manufacturers will be presumably using a lot of automation, but in general the big financial advantage of Chinese manufacturing isn't tax, it is the cost of the people. Chinese factory workers do about 320-400 hours a month for $200. That's $0.50 to $0.60 US per hour, a unbeatable figure compared to U.S. or European salaries. (And to preempt the replies - I'm not saying these work conditions, salary etc. are fair and that Westerners should wor
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are basically impossible for hobbyists to assemble without specialised equipment. Soldering is done by reflow - the company would need to supply a solder mask stencil to every purchaser. These are usually made from stainless steel, are reused hundreds or thousands of times, and can be more expensive to produce than a single circuit board. For highest reliability, most components require specific temperature profile curves to be followed in a programmable reflow oven. If you mess up the soldering of a B

    • They're assembling these in Chinese factories. Which are cheap, but not $0. They're shipped from there to the consumers in EU and US (and others), which also costs more than $0 each.

      If hobbyists could assemble them ourselves, they could be even cheaper than $25. And it's primarily hobbyists who are their market. How about it?

      I think they've addressed this on the Pi website... BGA soldering is not much of a hobbyist endeavour. Also, you'd be surprised how import duties applied per component add up when buying a parts kit compared to a single board - contact your local lawmaker about the idiocy of that particular law and what it's doing for local manufacturing (of course, some bright politician probably thinks it's better for the country to offshore all that filthy manufacturing and let the peasants go back to mining coal or wha

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      You can solder BGA chips? then you are better than 99% of all home electronics people.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:12AM (#38723424)
    $25 is under valued given the demand that there is for this device. They should consider auctioning some percentage of the first batch on ebay, and then use the extra profits to fund further development. I know plenty of people who would happily bid up to $75 if given the chance.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:18AM (#38723454)
      Pricing it higher would defeat the point. They wanted to make a computer that was affordable and reasonably powerful.
      • They could have sold 10,000 early access/ developer boards at $50 a piece, maybe even doing a 'buy one give one' promotion like the OLPC project. It does kind of defeat the purpose of computers for all, but it'd also helped them guarantee future production...

    • by Crookdotter (1297179) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:20AM (#38723462)
      Whoa - they already did. Did you watch the video? The first went for $5000
      • by chrb (1083577)
        No, they auctioned off the the beta development boards. I was talking about auctioning off boards from the first manufacturing batch.
    • by BetterSense (1398915) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:14AM (#38723930)
      I agree completely."Not charging enough" seems to be a classic blunder for these kind of grassroots startup hardware efforts. I watched the Open Pandora and Always Innovating Touchbook under development for years, until the more established industry finally got around to producing mass-market semi-equivalents and their window of glory was passed by before they could ramp up. There was enough demand for either that they could have easily taken preorders for twice or 3 times the price they wanted. Pre-order customers, frustrated with how long it was taking, would literally offer to pay more to take delivery sooner, but ... they were fixated on selling their product for some magic-number price, rather than what they could get for it.
    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Well, one, you're a FRIST POTSING Slashtard - watch the video.

      And two, their real mistake is building demand before they can supply it. You get one big wave of free publicity and enthusiasm. By the time this thing is actually available in significant numbers, it may already have saturated the market of hard core basement dwellers, and us merely Pi-curious types will be at the "Big fat meh, that vapourware again?" stage.

      • by chrb (1083577)
        No, they auctioned off the the beta development boards. I was talking about auctioning off boards from the first manufacturing batch. Perhaps you should concentrate on improving your reading comprehension before you start criticising others?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by spire3661 (1038968)
      There is always one human trying to squeeze more money out of the others. Shut the fuck up. Demand does not HAVE to mean increased profit you fucker.
      • by chrb (1083577)
        Why are you against people voluntarily giving more money than asked for to a charity? And why are you so angry? You need to chill out bro.
  • by Senior Frac (110715) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:20AM (#38723468) Homepage
    The post is a bit misleading. My understanding is that this first production batch is to be the $35 version which is what the developers are clamoring for.
  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:24AM (#38724040)

    Out of curiosity, I'm wondering whether it would be possible to hook a Raspberry Pi up to a 10'' LCD display and make it solar powered? There is a lot of sun where I live.

    How large would the solar panels have to be to provide the power on an ordinary sunny day?

    • by DynamoJoe (879038)
      I think the specs say it'll run on 5v, which is four AA batteries. Seems like a modest solar panel should provide enough oomph for that. Of course, you'll also have to factor in the monitor and peripherals to your energy budget, and maybe consider a battery or there will be no after-dark shashdot browsing.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        I think the specs say it'll run on 5v, which is four AA batteries.

        Volts is not a unit of power.

        Amps * Volts = Watts.

        These things draw 2.5 watts. You might get half a day out of 4 alkaline AA's.

        You will need a solar panel similar to one of these [ccrane.com] just to sustain it, as well as provide an adapter to covert to 5v.

  • ...to have to read the FAQ to find the specifications or to figure out how to place an order.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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