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back to article Powerful, wallet-sized Raspberry Pi computer sells out in SECONDS

The first batch of 10,000 ARM-powered Raspberry Pi computers went on sale at 6am GMT on Wednesday - and sold out within minutes. According to distributor Premier Farnell, there were at least 600 orders, visits or pre-orders every SECOND, producing a 300 per cent hike in web traffic. The electronic component sales site was …

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Small cheap computers

There is a demand for small cheap computers... The raspberry pi might only be a board, but adding a tiny plastic case, psu and cheap usb keyboard/mouse won't cost a huge amount... Such devices could have great mass market appeal, and could be used with your TV since they have HDMI by default.

Kind of why the first netbooks were successful, small and cheap... The netbook market got screwed however as modern netbooks generally are neither small nor cheap. They are just smaller and lower spec than regular laptops, come bundled with the same software (but run it very slowly, making them look bad in comparison) and aren't much cheaper.

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Re: Small cheap computers

my plan is to stuff one INSIDE the TV, i.d. epoxy the thing on the inside witha pass through grille HDMI cable. not really thought out the networking or remote control yet. Im sure I will. I hope XBMC etc gets ported to one.

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Re: Re: Small cheap computers

XBMC is already available ....

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Raspberry_Pi

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Happy

Re: Re: Small cheap computers

" I hope XBMC etc gets ported to one."

It already has been - someone was running a demo a few weeks ago on one of the prototype models.

There's a link to it somewhere on the Raspberry Pi website (if they've restored the full version after this morning, yet.)

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Anonymous Coward

"sells out in seconds"? Phooaa exaggeration alert.

Got mine almost 45 minutes after sales started and still got on the first batch.

Where's "biting the hand that feeds IT" now? Seems El Reg becomes quite tame when it comes to the Raspberry Pi.

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Linux

Every nerd in the World wants one

I read a tweet by an employee of JPL a few month ago in which he stated that he wanted a Rasberry PI. The PI has also been mentioned in CNET podcasts. Every geek in the World wants one. Even if people are just curious, the PI costs so little that they will buy one to see what the fuss is all about.

I ordered 2 from Farnell at 5pm. The web site suggested at the time that I should expect my PIs in 30 days. I have no idea when they will actually arrive. This is almost as exciting as when I ordered a ZX80 for £99 in 1980.

I predict that within 6 months sales of the PI will exceed total sales to date of the iPad. Given the certainty that there will be sales at this level, my recommendation is that computer game writers who want to make a little money start porting their games to OpenGL on the PI.

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Anonymous Coward

About the static page on RP site and swamped retailers sites.

RP Knew the launch was going to be big and followed advice given to them and acted upon it, so that at least there would be a site to show. Given the demand for information upon launch it would have been very silly to either risk getting swamped and having no page or taking their homepage down for a short time (and having no page to show) which would have been laughable. This was the best of options given that all updates were to be given over Twitter anyway.

The retailers were also advised about what would happen so they too could plan for it. They didn't listen, and their sites played peek-a-boo for most of the morning.

Anonymous coward for me as I have a better idea of what happened than most.

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Van
Facepalm

A board?

I thought this would be the last place to find posters calling the RaspberryPi 'computer' "just a board" and that people wont know what to do with it, collect dust etc.

It has RAM

It has bootable onboard removable storage

It has a CPU and GPU

It has HDMI

It has 3.5mm Audio out

It has USB 2

It has Ethernet

It is more populated than a barebones PC at ebuyer, but low power and a tiny form factor, giving it even more possibilities.

The distributors are selling kits to let you have it up and running as a fully functional computer on delivery day.

If you still think its just a board for devs and geeks, you need a history lesson.

Our IBM compatible PCs started life as a business machine with green screens and no sound.

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Re: A board?

Yep - When I get a chance to buy one I might try connecting up some batteries and see if I can find a really small hdmi monitor (like this one: http://www.lilliputuk.com/monitors/hdmi/5D-ii/ ) and see how portable it can be - though a 12v battery might be interesting, so maybe not that specific monitor...

ttfn

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Happy

Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

The rapid sell out reminds me of the same with Glastonbury in previous years. However, unlike that festival, they can make some more... and more... so hopefully no-one is disappointed, eventually. I'm so pleased for them for the well deserved popularity. I look forward to the next batch so that I can buy mine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

Glastonbury: 135,000

vs

Raspberry Pi: 10,000 (if that given RS's no-show)

Still a bit to go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

You think there were only 10k preorders? That's the initial batch size..

Pi wins vs Glasto! Easy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

[citation needed]

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

Official figures not yet released, but I wouldn't bet on Glasto winning.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

Will those figures be as inflated as the claims made to the media so far?

Looking for real sales please, not registration of interest.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

And you know those figures are inflated how? Just for your information, no, not inflated.

Farnell were getting 600 hits/s, RS 1100 hits/s (1M hits in 15 minutes).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

Those are exactly the kind of inflated figures I was talking about!

1M hits but none getting through. People were simply reloading like mad.

I was one of them!

Why not just say how many actual sales were made?

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Vic
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Joke

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sells out like Glastonbury. Computer Science is the new rock and roll.

> RS 1100 hits/s (1M hits in 15 minutes).

Oh - so I was the only one refreshing the RS site, then? :-)

Vic.

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Chortle...

Just went to have a look at uk.farnell.com. Midnight 1st march.

Their front page throws up a box saying "Are you looking for the Raspberry Pi? Click here". I suspect their search engine was getting rather bogged down and they had to divert the load away from it. First time I've ever seen that on the front page of Farnell.

Well done to the Raspberry team, hope you enjoyed the beer.

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Re: Chortle...

We did!

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Anonymous Coward

It needs more ports

MODEL Z ;o)

3X 100M network

1 Gb Ram

keep it under $40?

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hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

I don't expect it to happen. Linux and GNU C (and even Python) are fundamentally different than the BBC and BBC BASIC.

When I was a boy, we owned a truck which could be crank started. My first motorcycle had one cylinder, and the carburetor could be disassembled without tools.

The Pi is more like my current vehicle. It takes at least an hour to remove and replace the inlet manifold if you want to check the spark plugs. Small city cars are easier to park, but not a lot easier to service.

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FAIL

Re: hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

This is the nut. It wasn't the BBC Model B that lit up students imagination, it was the BASIC ROM that came with it. All of sudden, within 30 seconds of typing you could run a program that actually did something.

For the Pi to provide the same instant gratification, you first have to install a Linux distro, configure it, install source libraries for your chosen language (none of which are as easy to learn as BASIC), and then jump through several more hoops to input your program and run it.

For example, on the BBC:

10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD"

RUN

On the Pi:

(1. Open a text editor)

sub main () {

printf("hello world");

}

(2. save file)

(3. open console)

(4. navigate to file location)

(5. run a compiler, if you even know what one of those is).

(6. run your program)

Steps 2 to 6 assume you already know the basics of how Linux works.

Because of this, I see the Pi failing to make an impact in schools. Also, students don't want a 'Hello World' program, they want 'Angry Birds 2012' and don't understand that it takes WAY more time than a typical ICT school lesson to create even the most basic of games.

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Vic
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Re: Re: hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

> it was the BASIC ROM that came with it.

If it's Basic you want, you could always run it on the Pi...

> you first have to install a Linux distro, configure it, install source libraries

If there is demand, someone will pre-configure a distro for that. The images will be available for download, and the SD cards will be available for purchase. Anyone can do this.

The only thing to prevent it happening is if no-one really wants it to.

Vic.

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Re: Re: hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

Except, the education release will come with everything preinstalled, and could, if required, boot to a Python prompt. Or if you really want, a Basic prompt.

Interestingly, a recent school trial where the students were helped to write a 'snake' program (Python I think) was extremely popular - they didn't want to go for lunch! Not sure if that a reflection on the quality of the teaching or the quality of lunch. It didn't even use the educational release.

Please give the children of today some credit. They may want angry birds, but they also know you have to learn to crawl before you can walk.

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Thumb Up

Re: Re: Re: hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

I wasn't aware that the EDU version would ship fully configured from a software point of view thank you for enlightening me. :) This of course mitigates much of what I said.

I saw in an earlier thread that you are part of the Pi team?

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Re: hopes to similarly jumpstart interes (like the BBC micro)

% echo "Hello World"

There, sorted for you.

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Facepalm

Just asking

Who ate all the Pi's?

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It's a small single board computer - so?

I fail to see how this device will help many school kids get to real grips with microprocessor technologies. In the late '60s-early '80s we bought chips, obtained the support manuals, learned the device architectures and instruction sets and built ourselves (admittedly idiosyncratic and limited) microsystems from scratch, and we learned to do all this without formal instruction by trial and error. We could do this solely because the devices were simple and transparently documented.

This device, neat as it is, is extremely complex and non-transparent in terms of hardware and, by virtue of using a high level OS, presents to the user such an abstracted view of the machine that very little more can be learned than would be possible using a conventional PC running linux.

A much better starting point for imparting fundamental principles to school kids would be based on a simple device such as mid-range PIC (for which many affordable demonstrators are already available), coupled with programming in C and assembler. The essential task is not to take the current "hacker kids" to a higher level (they're already self-motivated enough) but to bring a basic understanding of systems principles to as wide a sector of the population as possible - so we must start simple. This offering sits half way home, rather than at the starting line.

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Re: It's a small single board computer - so?

If kids want the real low-level stuff then they or you could buy a FIGnition (http://sites.google.com/site/libby8dev/fignition/buy-it) @ £20, solder it together and program it in Forth. You will even get the 80's style 'joy' of extreme direct typing in of programs on an 8-button keyboard and trying to write the shortest lunar lander.

However, people are missing the point when they glibly say... "you can use any available PC to learn programming on" or "linux is too high level to learn how computers work".

The RasPi offers a lot of things...

+ An EXTREMELY cheap (~£30 delivered in the UK for Model B) standalone 'PC' which can be used for almost any type of home computing out of the box and programmed on directly (no AVR/PIC programming PC required). So it will allow kids to 'own' their own PC that they can plug in to their TV in bedrooms and get beyond just playing games if they want to. So exposure to personal computing outside of a rigid and somewhat limited school ICT curriculum with the ability to learn by breaking/hacking things.

+ The RasPi has GPIO pins available for direct hardware level hacking and there is a 'Gertboard' on its way which expands the low-level I/O capabilities (and you have to solder it together). Other 'add-on' boards are planned as well (including an on-board camera).

Personally, I'm just happy to get a very cheap, very small, very low-power, Unix-based single board PC that I can use to create any number of low-level home/car-automation projects with .. but with full support for high-level scripting and programming languages .. to create your own "Internet of Things".

The fact that the profit made from the hundreds of thousands of RasPi's being sold will be ploughed back in to creating teaching materials, hardware add-ons and supporting the development of computer science courses within schools is a rather nice side-effect.

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Meh

Try eBay?

Already one on eBay with a £50 markup.

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ql
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Meh

Best ill-informed comment of the day

My wife showed me a tweet from someone wondering what the fuss was about. "I mean it's not a real computer like an iPhone or an iPad. You can't just use it" Not sure what's worse - her assumption that now "media consumption devices" are computers or that real computers aren't useful.

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Anonymous Coward

May come as shock

But you can jailbreak an iPhone and iPad and run anything you want on it.

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ql
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Thumb Down

Re: May come as shock

"You" can, but would someone not recognising that RPi is a computer be able or willing to do that? And for £22?

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Facepalm

Re: May come as shock

as opposed to running anything you like on it and not having to jail break it first?

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Anonymous Coward

Ah the joy of old age

Great seeing all the people here comparing this to Sinclair and platforms like them.

Guess what: Kids have better things these days. No one >needs< to build their own computer now.

ARMv6? This is bullshit. Bet Broadcom is laughing all the way to the bank after finding a way of shifting chips no one else wanted.

AC because there's some truly fucked up Raspberry fanbois/employees out there.

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Re: Ah the joy of old age

Personally , I think you are the one who is fucked up - mainly because of the lack of most facts in your post. Broadcom make very little profit on these chips, and will have to make *more* chips to fulfil the demand of this device. The chip is already used in loads of Roku2 devices, so there is someone else who want the chip. They are not the only ones.

Armv6. That fact is right, but so what? It works. It's fast enough for the target market.

AC, because you are a tosser. If you don't want one, don't buy it. But don't slag off those who do want it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Ah the joy of old age

Ah Raspberry employees calling people tossers, what's new...

Come on Jimmy old boy, we both know that's not the whole story on the 2835...

And the Roku 2 ? Isn't that being quickly replaced by the Roku Streaming Stick, which uses a completely different chipset? Oh, yes it is. Guess they won't be wanting your chip anymore.

Ouch.

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Re: Re: Re: Ah the joy of old age

FYI, Raspberry Pi doesn't have any employees. Just volunteers. And generally we only call people tossers who start off that way.

I don;t know about the streaming stick - since it requires a MHL equipped telly (got one of those? Unlikely) it's not likely to sell well yet. And fear not, the 2835's are selling fine just as they are.

Just out of interest, what IS the whole story on the 2835? Or at least your version of it.

Oh, and it you want a proper discussion, stop posting AC. I don't need to, you obviously feel the need to. Why?

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Re: Re: Re: Ah the joy of old age

Oh, and the name is James, not Jimmy. And I believe the stick isn't yet on sale.

2.5Million Roku 2 units sold so far.....Ouch indeed. And that's before it went on sale in the UK.

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Anonymous Coward

Rokus

2.5 Million Roku 2s? Wow, that sounds like such a large number. I get it you're good at marketing.

But I'll tell you another large number.

Cost of lithographic mask set - alone - to produce those CPUs: > $3 million

No one else outside of Roku was using the chips in the market and they're about - or already have - dropped off. Sounds like you need to ship a few more to break even.

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Re: Rokus

Sorry, you really have NO idea what you are talking about. Your facts are, sadly, wrong. I now bow out.

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Re: Re: Rokus

I know, I said I'd bow out - then I realised that the Roku stick is just a respin of the boxed device....just a different form factor.

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Coat

I for one would like to welcome our new wallet sized overlords.

Ok ok, I'm going.

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Meh

Can't imagine the kids doing anything new

First I'll say this is a wonderful thing - a few years ago I realised that so many computer parts just hooked up via USB that the actual computer itself could be tiny, just plug in the bits you need. And here it is.

But I can't imagine what this provides that can't already be done with existing computers. Most parents can afford to buy their kids a cheap lappy, and programming languages are available, so what's new? Just the fact that it's so much cheaper, you might get one for your kid to muck around on, put some educational games on it, before you trust them with a full-fat laptop?

I suspect the main allure is people wanting cheap media players, or other uses. If I could load up my son's favourite movies (Cars, etc) on a USB stick and plug one into his telly, that would keep him happy now that his cheapo DVD player has seized up.

Back in the 80s games were unsophisticated 2D character based affairs, and we really could write games ourselves that weren't too far off the commercial fare. Good luck getting kids motivated to write a 3D FPS blast-fest on ANY device, let alone this one. I think you'd have more luck setting up a well supported Open Source community around an Android games kit for the kids' mobile phones. Mobile is where it's at, they are all glued to their phones and tablets these days.

10/10 for trying, and I'm sure it will be a success in many ways, but not so much for the educational angle intended.

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M7S
Bronze badge

Re: Can't imagine the kids doing anything new

Maybe not, but new kids will be doing something they've not done before and, assuming their school has standard PCs/MACs, can't really do without emulators etc.

It seems a bit like saying student nurses don't learn anything new, that is not a reason to stop training more or trying to find cheaper ways of doing so (without degrading quality).

It is ideal for schools as while parents may in many cases have bought their offspring a laptop, here's an inexpensive unit that is identical across a class and easy to re-format if corrupted (so no loss of precious songs, photos, homework etc).

I'm buying one for the IT teacher to evaluate, just as soon as I can get the order processed.

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Sold out. Looks like I'm going to have to get an iPad 3 instead :(

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Anonymous Coward

That's a bit like saying: The Fiat Panda engines are sold out, looks like I'm going to have to buy a whole Bentley instead.

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Pint

Just look at the NSLU2 and similar - expect a community behind this thing soon

Look at what happened to the very humble Linksys NSLU2 (designed as a simple NAS device) - got quite a large community of users using it as a media server, web server, print server or more advanced NAS, some even used it as an audio player. Same is true of various other hacked NAS devices / wireless routers.

The Pi is much better mainly due to the HDMI and audio ports and the fact that it is actually designed to be hacked, so you don't have to follow "interesting" processes to first of all "root" them. It might not sell in millions, but expect a considerable following. This is a nice piece of kit. I can use it immediately to directly replace both of my NSLU2s... and do quite a lot more, for example.

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Joke

Retro shipping dates....

Apparently Sir Clive Sinclair is in charge of the delivery and is guaranteeing everyone Raspberry Pi will be delivered within 28 days.....

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