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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. :-(

  • by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:46AM (#38723244)
    It is a £25 Linux PC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:08AM (#38723402)

    You've ignored two reasons why it would be more expensive if made in the UK.
    Firstly, we don't make all the require components in the UK, so they'd have to be shipped in anyhow. This attracts an import tax.
    Secondly, and more relevantly, the import tax law is flawed; you don't have to pay tax on the items which pre-assembled, even if they are made from the same components which, seperately, would be taxed.

  • 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 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 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.
  • Re:Warning ! (Score:5, Informative)

    by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:25AM (#38723500)

    Mr. Andrew Lamb (trading as Systems Of Hull),

    Read the announcements on the official Raspberry Pi site - they have NOT made any deals with any resellers.
    Also on the forum thread discussing this particular scam - the phone number given it's disconnected and the address of the presumed shop it's for an appartment complex.

    Next time you try to scam people, at least be more beliveable.

  • by Canazza (1428553) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:51AM (#38723744)

    this is the blog post: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/509 [raspberrypi.org]

    We investigated a number of possible UK manufacturers, but encountered a few problems, some of which made matters impossible. Firstly, the schedule for manufacture for every UK business we approached was between 12 and 14 weeks (compared to a 3-4 week turnaround in the Far East). That would have meant you’d be waiting three months rather than three weeks to buy your Raspberry Pi, and we didn’t think that was acceptable.

    Secondly, we found that pricing in the UK varied enormously with factories’ capacity. If a factory had sufficient capacity to do the work for us, they were typically quoting very high prices; we’d expected a delta between manufacture pricing between the UK and the Far East, but these build prices not only wiped out all our margin, but actually pushed us into the red. Some factories were able to offer us prices which were marginally profitable, but they were only able to produce at most a few hundred units a month; and even then, we were doing better by more than five dollars per unit if we moved that manufacture to the Far East. When you’re talking about tens of thousands of units per batch, losing that sum of money for the charity – a sum that we can spend on more manufacture, more outreach work and more research and development – just to be able to say we’d kept all the work in one country, starts to look irresponsible.

    I’d like to draw attention to one cost in particular that really created problems for us in Britain. Simply put, if we build the Raspberry Pi in Britain, we have to pay a lot more tax. If a British company imports components, it has to pay tax on those (and most components are not made in the UK). If, however, a completed device is made abroad and imported into the UK – with all of those components soldered onto it – it does not attract any import duty at all. This means that it’s really, really tax inefficient for an electronics company to do its manufacturing in Britain, and it’s one of the reasons that so much of our manufacturing goes overseas. Right now, the way things stand means that a company doing its manufacturing abroad, depriving the UK economy, gets a tax break. It’s an absolutely mad way for the Inland Revenue to be running things, and it’s an issue we’ve taken up with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

  • Re:Warning ! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:06AM (#38723852)

    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.

  • Re:Warning ! (Score:5, Informative)

    by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:15AM (#38723940)

    God you Slashdotters really are paranoid nutjobs, aren't you? Yes, I AM ANDREW LAMB. Moron. Thanks for proving my whole "crying wolf when he gets confused" theory beyond a doubt.

    Funny, I thought the Raspberry Pi design was open-source. Funny kind of open-source if you all call "scam" on anyone who builds & sells them himself ... but hey, you found out his business address is his home address. Damn garage operations, they should all be closed down in favour of corporations.

    If you are Andrew Lamb, you're hardly going to get customers with an attitude like that.

    You should demonstrate how you're going to fulfil orders. The thread on the forums [raspberrypi.org] points out the problems -- why not respond to them?

    Here's the best post from that thread:

    1) He claims to be VAT registered but doesn't seem to want to state his VAT number. That is a bit strange. I think I will ring up HMRC and check he is registered. I hope he is otherwise he is committing tax fraud.

    2) In his terms and conditions he states "All items are covered by a manufacturers 12 month warranty. If an item develops a fault it is best to request an RMA directly with the manufacturer." WRONG!. UK consumer law makes it crystal clear the seller is responsible for goods sold not the manufacturer. It is the sellers duty to mess about with the manufacturer.

    3) He is advertising a product he can not honestly expect to have in stock. I suspect he will take people's money and simply tread water until he can get his hands on enough units to send out to people. This could take months and months.

    4) He is selling products based on the PI that don't exist yet. I suspect he will simply grab the first "in-car entertainment" project that comes along and sell that. Nice.

    5) He is profiting on a charity selling devices. He is doing nothing than attempting to make £4 for doing nothing other than adding delay and bureaucracy.

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