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October 15, 2012

Raspberry Pi Boosts Memory, Keeps $35 Price Point

Raspberry Pi, the popular, cheap ARM (News - Alert)-based computer board, has announced a memory boost while still maintaining the same price. The Model B version of the board will now have 512 megabytes of RAM (News - Alert) over the original 256 MB, and still maintains its original price point of $35. One of Raspberry Pi’s creators, Eben Upton, said in a blog post that the Raspberry Pi consortium had received many requests for a version with more memory for advanced development, but were committed to the $35 price point.

The board is intended to be plugged into a TV with an HDMI port, as well as a keyboard and mouse. It runs several Linux distributions and is intended to teach children the fundamentals of computing by giving them a cheap computer of their own that they can play around with and learn programming, rather than the current situation where they learn how to use productivity applications like Microsoft (News - Alert) Office and perhaps some simple Web design.

The project was started by the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory as an attempt to combat the declining number of British university students enrolling in computer science programs.

“We want to see cheap, accessible, programmable computers everywhere; we actively encourage other companies to clone what we’re doing,” the project’s maintainers said on its home page. “We want to break the paradigm where without spending hundreds of pounds on a PC, families can’t use the internet. We want owning a truly personal computer to be normal for children.”

Users have found creative applications for the computer, including a VoIP PBX.

 In addition to an HDMI output and the expanded memory, the board features two USB 2.0 ports, a Broadcom (News - Alert) BCM2835 ARM11 processor running at 700 Mhz, a 10/100 Ethernet port, and an SD slot for storage. Although even the cheapest netbooks and tablets surpass its capabilities, it’s more than adequate for running Linux distributions where users can boot into a development environment.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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